Did They Know Their Neighbors?

While researching the US Census records on Ancestry.com, I came across a famous name on the same page as one of my ancestors. The 1930 US Census record for Brown Twp of Morgan County Indiana has the George Konig family listed just before the John Dillinger family. Was this family related to THE John Dillinger? The thought was intriguing.


First, who was George Konig? His wife, “Zella,” on the census, was O’Zella Mae McKinley. She was the daughter of Jeremiah (1852-1934) and Polly (1859-1941) McKinley. She married 3 times, first to John Russel McCracken in 1917, next to Byron M. Weller in 1924, and finally to George Konig in 1927.

John W. Dillinger was the father of the notorious gangster, John Dillinger (1903-1934). General information about the Dillinger family from internet sources indicates that they moved from Indianapolis, IN to the Mooresville, IN area around 1920. John robbed a grocery store in Mooresville and went to prison. After he was released in 1933, at the height of the Depression, he continued his life of crime. He started robbing banks. He reportedly returned to Mooresville to visit his family through his final year. On July 22, 1934 he was killed by FBI agents after leaving the Biograph Theater in Chicago, IL. His body was returned to Mooresville before burial in Crown Hill Cemetery of Indianapolis.

So the question is, did George and O’Zella know about the son of their neighbor? Did they ever encounter him? How close was their residence to the Dillinger residence? It is not known exactly what the census enumerator’s route was—and I haven’t looked at a plat map for that timeframe to know if the homes were “next door” (or as close to that as farms would be) or across the road from each other.

Looking at the 1940 US Census, George and O’Zella have moved to Jacksonburg, Wayne Co, IN. The Census indicates that on April 1, 1935, they lived in Richmond, Wayne Co, IN. So, when did they leave the Mooresville area? Were they even there in 1934 when all of the excitement about John Dillinger’s last days was happening? Right now I don’t have an answer to those questions. But it is interesting to speculate that they at least knew about their famous neighbor.

© MJM 2017

Jerry McKinley was a Good Man

Jeremiah McKinley was the youngest of a family of seven children born to George & Polly McKinley. He was born in 1852 and had been a life long resident of Morgan Co. The parents, brothers & sisters preceded him in death.

Jan. 4, 1879, he was married to Priscilla Stafford. Six children came to gladden their home. His companion of fifty-five yrs., two sons, Oscar & Fred McKinley, his daughter Ozella Konig, and four grandchildren, all residents of Brooklyn, survive him.

It is with mingled feelings we hear the news of the passing of the few remaining pioneers of our Community.


Jeremiah McKinley 1926

We who knew Jerry best, with the family feel our loss.

Why? Because this tribute could be written in these words, “He was a faithful friend.” He didn’t go away from his home or Community to find a large place to fill, but he used the untold riches that were hidden in the depths of his heart.

He took what God gave. Some have been given more. Many have been given less. But he took what he had and made for his Soul a house of happiness & rendered a service near home.

Jerry made friends easily. His cleverness & humor gave us a tonic thought.

The goodness of his character attracted for him friends & the genuineness of his character kept them.

He was honestly & sincerely interested in his neighbors and this expressed itself in an open and understandable type of neighborliness & he and his family have created responsive neighborliness among us.

The many friends who have called at the home & those who are attending this service testify to the constructive influence of his happy friendly live.

Did you ever find the happiness flower? It isn’t so hard to find. It opens wide at the morning hour, In the meadows of Cheerful Mind.

–Eulogy for Jeremiah McKinley, 1934

A copy of this handwritten message is in my collection. There is no indication of who wrote it. However, I assume it was probably written by the pastor who presided at Jerry’s funeral. As mentioned below, that was the Rev. O.C. Haas.

On Thursday, January 18, 1934, there was the following notice on page 1 of The Mooresville Times: “McKINLEY RITES SATURDAY. Funeral services for Jeremiah McKinley, 81 yr old retired farmer will be held Saturday morning at the Brooklyn M.E. Church with the Rev. O.C. Haas in charge. Burial will be in Centerton. Mr. McKinley lived in Morgan Co. all his life. He was the son of George & Polly McKinley.”

So who was Jeremiah “Jerry” McKinley? For one thing, he was my GG Grandfather. As the eulogy says, he was born in 1852. His death certificate lists his birthday as May 28. He died January 18, 1934. He lived on South Main Street of Brooklyn, IN. He was a farmer in Morgan County, IN. His parents were George McKinley (b. ~1802) and Polly (Mary) Packwood (b. ~1807).

He married Priscilla Staffojerrypriscillamckinleyrd (1859-1941) January 4, 1879 in Morgan County, IN. The picture shown was given to me by my Grandfather & is actually a very small tintype with the oval opening in the frame approx 3/4 of an inch long. I do not have 100% proof that this is a picture of Jerry and Priscilla, but the features seem to match later pictures of them. They had the following children:

Oscar (1887-1969), Fred (1890-1972), Unnamed son (lived 4 days in April 1892), Perley (1893-1894), Ozella (1895-1980) and George (1900-1902).


I received the McKinley family Bible from my Uncle and the children are listed on the “Births” and “Deaths” pages.


McKinley Bible Births


McKinley Bible Deaths

The Agricultural Census Schedule for 1880 has Jeremiah listed in Clay Township, Morgan County, line 5. At that time he was renting his farm “for shares of product.” The farm consisted of 21 acres of improved land and 19 acres of “woodland & forest.” The value of the farm was $400 for the farm land, fences & buildings; $200 for farming implements & machinery; and $250 for livestock. The estimated value of all farm productions, (sold, consumed or on hand) in 1879 was $400. He had 1 horse, 1 milch cow and produced 100lbs of butter. There was 1 swine on the farm. Jerry had 36 barn-yard chickens, producing 200 eggs in 1879. He had 9 acres of oats, producing 200 bushels. The rest of the farm was orchard, 6 acres in apples (400 trees) producing 300 bushels & 5 acres in peaches (400 trees) with no listed production. The total value of orchard products was $150. He cut 30 cords of wood at a value of $100.

By 1920, Jerry and Priscilla had moved to town. They show up in the US Census in Brooklyn, IN with their son, Fred. Their other son, Oscar and his family are listed just above them on the census.

By the way, the eulogy mentions 4 grandchildren who were living when Jerry died. They were Oscar’s sons, Myron and Loran (my Grandfather) and Ozella’s son and daughter. Ozella had another daughter later in the year.

So there it is, information on the life of Jerry McKinley. If it weren’t for the eulogy, there would just be a selection of facts, but that added a little more insight to the kind of man he was, besides a farmer, Jerry McKinley was a good man.

© MJM 2017

Dear Friend…

I have this letter in my collection. It was sent to “Miss Mary Boone, Sheridan, Ind.” The date of the letter is Feb. 16, 1915. Mary was 17 years old.




Arza Millikan

So Arza Millikan was asking Mary for a date! He was 31 years old. Quite a difference in age, but I guess they hit it off, as they got married November 22, 1916. They were my Great-Grandparents.

A few notes about the letter:

“Elfleda” was Elfleda Emery, a good friend of Mary’s. They were in the same class at Sheridan High School.

“Lamong” was probably Lamong Friends Meeting.

“Bob Wilson” was a neighbor of Arza’s Grandfather, Clark Millikan. Arza spent much of his time helping out at Clark’s farm. From what I can tell, “Hazel” Wilson survived the scarlet fever.

© MJM 2017