Wednesday, August 4, 2010

No, I haven't died...

I've been living a genealogy dream - and been completely overwhelmed by it!

We have been spending many of our vacation days traveling around to our family home towns, visiting with distant relatives and searching for local documents at libraries and courthouses.  It's been absolutely wonderful, but as I mentioned, also overwhelming.  I was able to scan in loads of  documents and photos, and I still haven't completely integrated them into my other records because we've been on the road going to other places, or involved in the tasks of everyday life.

©2010 A.B. Deller
One place we visited was Keokuk, Iowa.  The library workers there  were extremely helpful, and we found more information (about collateral relatives) there than I thought we would.  The land there is beautiful, but oddly enough, we both fell in love with Oakland Cemetery.  It was obviously an old cemetery, evident at first glance.  We were fortunate, and knew which section (though not which plot), our relative was buried in.  It was a warm day, and quite a workout, walking around that section; but worth it when we found Dudley E. Jones' cousin (by marriage), and business partner, Campbell Kennedy Peck's grave marker (the tall one is his).  Reading about him at the library, seems he stayed on after the Civil War, continuing to run the hardware business, ["Cady & Peck," it had been "Cady, Peck & Jones" but Dudley E. Jones moved to Little Rock, Arkansas after the Civil War] and went on to enter the Fur Trading business with his brother-in-law, E. H. Durfee.  [Note:  There's a great article online here about Durfree & Peck Indian Traders that is taken from an article that appeared in the Jan. and Feb. 2004 issues of  "Talkin' Tokens" magazine, monthly magazine of the National Token Collectors Association.]

©2010 A.B. Deller
As we drove around the cemetery (it is huge), we stopped to walk around various other sections and take random photographs of interesting stones, and in one case, a cat. You just never know what you'll find in cemeteries. I'm sure someone has a blog about cemetery animals...

At the library, we read about the Keokuk National Cemetery located right next to Oakland. It was established in 1862. Here's a brief excerpt from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website,

"By the beginning of the Civil War, Keokuk was home to a population of approximately 13,000 people. Its location, at the confluence of the Des Moines and Mississippi rivers, made an ideal location for the transportation of produce for the war. The first Civil War facility in Iowa was Camp Ellsworth, located near Keokuk, where troops were mustered as early as May 1861. More posts, including Camps Rankin, Halleck and Lincoln were established in 1861 and 1862. As the war progressed, five Army hospitals were established in the area to help care for the thousands of sick and wounded soldiers transported up the Mississippi River from Southern battlefields. Most of the original interments at Keokuk National Cemetery came from these hospitals." 
©2010 A.B. Deller

Tomorrow we'll be taking another day trip;  to the libraries of Galena, Kansas and Joplin, Missouri, where at least three of the families lived for part of their lives.

When we get back to a routine, of sorts, I'll have a ton of information for entries... I just need time to organize and write them up!