The Most Unforgettable Person…

My Dad wrote a composition for his 9th grade English class titled “The Most Unforgettable Person I Ever Knew.” He said he can’t remember writing it, but gave permission for me to use it anyway. (I transcribed it as originally written, even though it seems like he left something out.)

The Most Unforgettable Person I Ever Knew

Small, lean, slow, and deliberate in his movements, he could do more work than most men one half his age. My great-grandfather drove a tractor when he was 88. He rode a bicycle 4 miles a day in all kinds of weather until he wrecked it and couldn’t buy parts for it because of its age. My great-grandfather was 90 years old then. He then walked the four miles every day. He was 92 years of age when he painted it the last time. It was painted from ladders instead of from running boards because he might fall off a running board. The day he died he was digging a ditch. My great-grandfather was then 93 1/2 years of age.

My great-grandfather was a typical Quaker and was always studious. He read the Bible 26 times, and never missed a Sunday at church for 10 years.

My great-grandfather kept weather records for years. The weather bureau sometimes checked with him because his records were older and more accurate than theirs were.

My great-grandfather’s name was Lewis Elwood Millikan. He died in March 1949.

Lewis Elwood Millikan, the only son of Clark Millikan (1824-1926) & Lydia Hinshaw Millikan (1833-1917), was born October 10, 1855 in Randolph County, North Carolina. He moved to Indiana with his family soon after the end of the Civil War. He married Martha Ellen Barker (1858-1932) February 23, 1882. They had two children, Arza (1883-1964) and Edna (1886-1966). He raised his family on a farm on Mulebarn Road south of Sheridan, IN. His farm was not very far away from Clark’s.

When Arza got married in 1916, Elwood and Mattie moved to town and settled in a house on Sheridan’s Main Street. Elwood “retired” & Arza and his wife, Mary Boone Millikan (1897-1992), took over the farm. However, both Arza and Elwood worked their farm as well as helped out with Clark’s farm along with hired help until Clark died in 1926. So, when the essay says Elwood rode his bicycle 4 miles a day, he was riding from his house in Sheridan to the farm & back home.

Here’s a picture of him painting the farm house at the age of 92. Can’t say I’d want to be up on that ladder!


He was active in the Friend’s church. Some papers I have indicate he was a delegate to regional meetings as well as clerk for his Meeting. A news article from the time of his 92nd birthday, states that the church gave him a Bible for perfect attendance. He was a member of Sheridan Friends at that time. The church also held an open house to celebrate his birthday.

I’m impressed that he read the Bible through so many times. He was interviewed by Wayne Guthrie with the Indianapolis News sometime after he turned 93. He said he had read the Bible through 23 times and was reading the Gospel of Luke for the 24th time. He said he started reading it through in 1915. He said he liked reading the Gospels, “but it takes the whole Bible if you want to understand it right.” In one sense, I guess there weren’t as many distractions back then to interrupt the reading. Anyway, I admire his diligence.

The Indianapolis News article also discussed his bicycle riding. He said he bought the bicycle in 1918. He said that he had to quit riding it because when he tried to fix it, it made it worse. No surprise, for a 30 year old bike that may have been used almost every day!

Weather changes were important for farming. My Grandmother gave me a few of Elwood’s weather journals. I have the records for about 1936 through 1949. Each day, Elwood would enter the temperature. Starting with the 1940 journal, he also entered the weather conditions every day. He added a few notations of his activities on some days. My Grandmother included temperatures & weather conditions in her diary entries as well. Elwood’s final entry was Wed. March 16, 1949. It was 22 degrees and cloudy. This was the day he died.

Elwood died of a heart attack while he was helping dig a ditch. He died at the farm. He was 93 years old. He had been widowed for 17 years. He was survived by his son & daughter as well as 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. He was buried at Union Grove Cemetery.

So there is a little more to share about Elwood’s early life & I hope to do that at a later date. But even without that, it does seem like Lewis Elwood Millikan was quite an Unforgettable Person.

© MJM 2017

A Sad Story…

I like reading old newspapers. At times I have found tidbits that have helped fill in the gaps of my family history research. The social columns weren’t just for the wealthy. Each week, there would often be reports of who was on the sick list, who visited whom, as well as any social gatherings in the community. I think there were “reporters” who told the newspaper of the local events in the smaller communities the paper served. My Grandmother told me that the newspaper would call folks to see if they had any news. Now that many old newspapers have been digitized and indexed, finding the information is a lot easier than it was in the past, when it required a trip to the library in whatever community I was researching in order to browse through microfilm copies of the papers. I have used for much of my Indiana newspaper research as it has the papers from Morgan and Hamilton Counties which correspond to the areas where Dad’s ancestors lived. I recently started a subscription to as well. They were having a special offer & I was curious to see if their collection could give me any additional information on both Maternal and Paternal ancestors.

Of course, as I do with any new data collection, I plugged an ancestor’s name into the search box to see what they came up with. In this case, I searched for my GGG Grandfather, Clark Millikan (1824-1926).

One result was the following article dated Friday, September 29, 1899, from the Marshall County Independent, published in Plymouth, Indiana:

Afflicted with Black Diptheria—Westfield, Ind.–About two weeks ago Clark Millikan’s family returned home from the west, and on Sunday last one of the daughters 14 years old, took sick and died. Others of the family are reportedly dangerously ill with the same disease, which is said to be black diphtheria of the most malignant type. The people in that section are greatly alarmed. Every precaution is being taken to prevent a spread of the disease.

Diphtheria–caused by a bacteria & spread by respiratory droplets. An infected person would be contagious for 2-3 weeks. The disease is noted for the formation of a thick grey (or black) coating over nasal tissues, tonsils and throat which then caused breathing difficulty. Also, toxins released by the bacteria could affect the heart. From what I found, there were some treatments available for the disease in the mid 1890’s but it wasn’t until the mid 1920’s that the development and use of vaccinations helped decrease the prevalence of the disease.

So who was the 14 year old girl who died? I remembered a visit my folks and I made to a relative’s home. She had information on another branch of Clark Millikan’s descendants. Clark was married to Lydia Hinshaw (1833-1917). Their daughter, Alice (1864-1926), married Owen Dudley Cox (1861-1894). They had 2 daughters, Estella and Carrie. The lady we visited was Carrie’s daughter-in-law. She showed us the Cox family Bible.

Inside was a family photo of Estella, Owen, Carrie and Alice. Owen died when the girls were young, Estella was 8 and Carrie was 6.


Cox Family: Estella, Owen, Carrie, Alice

Another item in the Bible was an obituary. I don’t know what newspaper it came from.


My assumption is that Estella Cox was the girl mentioned in the first article. Her obit. states that she contracted the disease from the children of Clark Stout who was her Uncle. He was married to another one of Clark Millikan’s daughters, Anna (1869-1945). The little children would have been Lester (5 yrs old) and LaRue (3 yrs old). Even though the first article mentions a trip “West” and the obit mentions a trip to North Carolina, I don’t think it matters where they had visited. Regardless, the dreaded Diphtheria came back with them.

One more thing about Estella Cox. She doesn’t show up in the US Census records. She was born after the 1880 US Census and died before the 1900 US Census. (The 1890 Census records were destroyed.) So only looking at US Census records, we wouldn’t even know she existed. Other records would have to be used to help prove the family connections.

She is listed in a couple of Quaker Meeting records from Eagle Creek Monthly Meeting in Hamilton County, Indiana.

First, the family was accepted into membership in 1893:


Then, after Owen’s death, Alice and her children moved to Lamong Monthly Meeting. They were living with Alice’s father, Clark:


The Cox family lived with their share of sorrow, with the loss of Owen and Estella. It’s also sad to think that the family members who traveled, probably to visit other relatives, never expected to return from their trip with a disease that infected their cousin and caused her death. I can’t imagine how the family coped with that. Alice lived with her father the rest of her life. Carrie, who was 11 years old when she lost her sister, eventually trained to be a nurse.

© MJM 2017



Basketball Player in the Family

“March Madness” is here again. Time to think about all things basketball. Many of my Dad’s ancestors lived in Indiana, where the sport of Basketball is like a religion. So it isn’t unusual to find that some relatives played the game. My Dad played in High School and was on a pretty good team. But I never expected to find that my Great Grandmother played the game over a hundred years ago!



First, I found these pictures in the collection of family photos I received from my Grandmother. Mary Boone (1897-1992) is my Great Grandmother. I was quite surprised to see her in these pictures. Hard to imagine “Mamommy,” as we called her, playing basketball as a teenager! She is listed as playing the position of Guard for Sheridan High School in 1914. (She’s in the bottom right side of the first picture) I don’t have any additional information about this season of basketball.


Then, I have a copy of the Sheridan High School year book, The Syllabus, from 1915. There is an editorial in the front of the book which says that The Syllabus was published for the first time in 1905, then for whatever reason, not continued until 10 years later when the 2nd issue was published in 1915.

Mary Boone shows up in the year book in a picture of the Junior class. She also is pictured with members of the Girls’ Basket Ball team.


Basketball is a recent addition to the S.H.S. athletic calendar, but without a doubt it has come to stay.” This was the first sentence describing the Boys’ program.

Then there was an edition of the Sheridan High School Newspaper, The Black and White, Vol. 1, No. 1, dated January 12, 1915. It had an article about Girls Athletics: “The girls are doing splendidly under the direction of Miss Hankemeier. She was captain of the basket ball team at Indiana University for 2 years and was president of the girls athletic association when she was a senior. The girls have been divided into basket ball teams according to their classes, having for their captains, Mary Byrkett, Freshman team; Nellie Burton, Junior & Sophomore team; Verlie Hundley, Senior team. Inter-class games are played but Inter-school games have been voted down. Many exciting games have been played and the girls are starting with greater enthusiasm since vacation; for now every game counts towards winning the banner which will be given to the victorious team.

The description of the Girls’ Basket Ball program from The Syllabus stated:

The boys condescended to let the girls use the gym on Tuesday and Thursday evenings after school, and they have had some exciting contests. Heretofore the teams have been divided according to their classes but as there were not enough players in some of the classes to make a full team and as some did not come out for regular practice, Miss Hankemeier organized the strongest players into two teams, the “Black” and the “White.” The line-up for the teams is as follows:

BLACK—Mary Byrkett, F; Leona Butcher, F; Dorthea Applegate, C; Edith McMurtry, S.C; Lula Laughlin, G; Bernice Inman, G.

WHITE—Mary Melson, F; Lois Fristoe, F; Nellie Burton, C; Ivalu Vickery, S.C; Mary Boone, G; Laura Mae Kercheval, G.

All the girls seem to enjoy the game. We are glad to see the girls take an interest in athletics and we hope that they will continue it next year.

Obviously, the teams changed a little since the January article, but regardless of that, it seems that the girls were enjoying themselves. There is no indication of which team won the banner at the end of the season. Hard to imagine playing basketball in the “gym clothes” of that era. Also, considering the hair styles of the day, one general reference I found indicated that after girls’ basketball games there would be hair pins scattered all over the floor!

Anyway, it is fun to think that “Mamommy” played basketball!

© MJM 2017

Enoch Barker’s Last Will & Testament

My Grandmother’s collection included a photo-copy of a hand-written copy of the Will of Enoch Barker. I’m not sure who transcribed it originally. Now, has available on-line, the digitized copies of probate records which include the official filed copy of this will. There were no other records associated with the will. For the most part, the transcription Grandma had was accurate, except it modified the old spelling for some terms. However, for whatever reason, the transcription did not include the name of daughter, Hannah.

So, here we go, Enoch Barker’s last will and testament:

Be it know to all people to whom it may concern that I Enoch Barker of Randolph County and state of North Carolina having in consideration the uncertainty of human life, do make this my last will and Testament in the manner and form following. I first will that all my just debts be paid together with my funeral charges as soon as conveniently may be after my decease by my Executor herein after named; I give and bequeath to each and every one of my sons and daughters as follows Two dollars to my daughter Sarah Cox. Two dollars to my son Daniel Barker and the cross cut saw. Two dollars to my son Nicholas Barker and the broad ax, Cooper jointer, tress hoops and croze. Two dollars to my son John Barker and one hundred and thirty five acres of land where he now lives according to our measure and reckoning, the dividing line between him and his brother Elihu, to begin at the black oak corner up sandy run thence west one hundred and fourteen rods to a stone, thence north forty rods to a stone, thence west forty six rods to a stone on the line of the other side of my land also one half of my pine Land on the waters of Bachelors Creek to be his right and property. Five dollars to my son Seth Barker and the old gun powderhorn moulds and wipers. Two dollars to my daughter Mary Barker also stock and other things to make her equal to her sister Sarah got, over and above what she has made for herself. Two dollars to my daughter Hannah Barker also stock and other things to make her equal to what her sister Sarah got over and above what she has made for herself; Two dollars to my son Elihu Barker and one hundred and sixty acres of land or the remainder part of my land where I now live after John‘s share is taken off; also the other half of my pine land on the waters of Bachelors Creek to be his right and property; also one horse creture saddle and bridle and other stock to make him equal with his other brothers the smith tools and the new fan to clean wheat to be John‘s and Elihu‘s. I also will and bequeath to my son Elihu Barker one feather bed and bedding, the old waggon and waggon gears & two other good pare of drawing chain; the new gun and what belongs to it, the clock and loom and tackling, one table and cupboard four stands to hold grain all the casks and barrels all of the loos plant and farming tools and the other tools, one pot the old brass kettle and log chain fire shovel and tongs arm chair and my desk of drawers. Two dollars to my daughter Thamer Barker also stock and other things to make her equal to what her other sisters got the case of drawers that was her grand mothers in the stead of a bureau. The remainder part of my estate to be equally divided amongst my four daughters above named parts and shares alike, and my three youngest daughters to have privilage of houseroom and one fire place sufficient for their comfortable accomodation, also have privilage of fire wood a garden to raise some things in as they formerly have had and the loom to do their weaving on and what they need for their use of the fruit; these privilages they are to have at the place we now live as long as they remain single; my other horse creatures not to be sold, but to remain on the plantation for my three youngest daughters and their brother Elihu‘s use as long as they remain single or need them; and they also be allowed grain for them and stock one year. I do hereby Nominate, Constitute and appoint my son Daniel Barker Executor of this my last will and testament. I also charge him to pay my debts and legacies according to the true intent and meaning thereof; in witness whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal; this second day of the fourth month in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty. Enoch Barker   Signed in the presence of Enoch Davis, Charles Davis, Elizabeth Davis.”

North Carolina Randolph County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions November Term 1848. The execution of this last will and Testament is duly proved in open Court by Elizabeth Davis, One of the subscribing witnesses to the same, and admitted to probate and as … to be recorded … B. F. Hoover, clerk”                    Copy of Will of Enoch Barker. Deceased the 14th of the 9th month 1848.

So who was Enoch Barker, anyway? He was born in Guilford County, NC in September 1776. He was a Quaker, so some of the information about him can be found in the Quaker Meeting minutes. He married Elizabeth Davis (1782-1834) November 23, 1800. He was my GGGG Grandfather. He wrote his will in 1840, Elizabeth had passed away by then.

Looking at the will, Enoch and Elizabeth had 9 children living at the time Enoch wrote it. Another son, Isaac, died in 1820 at the age of 10 years. I don’t have good sources for information about the children except birth dates from Holly Spring Meeting Minutes. The children were given a token remembrance of $2. Those who were married at the time Enoch wrote his will most likely already received more of an inheritance. The will gives a little bit of a picture of what Enoch had that he felt was important enough to mention.

Sarah (1801-1846) Was already married to Thomas Cox at the writing of the will. Sources I have indicate that she died before her Father.

Daniel (1803-1892) As the oldest son, he was named Executor. He was married as well. His wife was Lydia Davis. He received the cross cut saw.

Nicholas (1805-1846) Married to Catherine Cox at the time Enoch wrote his will. He was to receive the broad axe and barrel making tools. The croze was a tool to make the ridge at the top of the barrel to fit the top into. Died before his Father.

John (1807-1890) Was married to Anne Cox. Had been living on part of his Father’s land & now would inherit it.

Seth (1812-1894) Was married to Margaret Cox (sister to Catherine Cox, Nicholas’ wife). Received $5 instead of $2. Plus he received the “old gun” & its accessories.

Mary (1815-) Unmarried. Sources say she married David Farlow in 1845.

Hannah (1818-1889) Unmarried. Later married Mahlon Hockett.

Elihu (1822-1910) My GGG Grandfather, inherited his Father’s home. He also specifically received the blacksmith tools, a horse, saddle & bridle, other livestock and much of the household & farming goods. He was to share the “new wheat cleaning fan” with his brother, John.

Thamer (1827-) Unmarried. She was to receive her Grandmother’s “case of drawers.” In 1848, she married John Littler.

The rest of the “estate” was to be divided amongst the 4 daughters—which would probably be the remainder of the household goods not already mentioned. The three unmarried daughters were to be allowed to stay on the farm until they got married. The expectation was that they would have whatever would give them “comfortable accommodation.” With the marriages of Mary and Thamar before Enoch’s death, that left only Hannah to live on the farm with Elihu, until she got married in 1858.

Elihu Barker married Hannah Jane Allen in 1853. They moved to Hamilton County, Indiana in 1866. Hannah died in 1899 at the age of 73. Elihu died at the age of 88 in 1910. Their daughter, Martha Ellen, married Lewis Elwood Millikan. They had Arza Millikan, my Great Grandfather. I wonder if any of the items Elihu inherited were passed down through the generations?

© MJM 2017

Things Found in a Billfold…


This sounds like a “Family Feud” category, but it isn’t. I have a small leather billfold in my collection. It obviously belonged to my Great-Grandfather, Oscar McKinley (1887-1969). While there wasn’t any money in it, there were a few interesting items tucked inside.


First, there were 3 of those paper “Identification” cards that come in wallets. All 3 had Oscar’s name & his address: Brooklyn, Indiana Box 56. He lived on South Main Street. His telephone # was 59. The emergency contact on 2 of the cards was Oscar’s brother, Fred. On the 3rd card, the emergency contact was his wife, Rilla. Oscar and Rilla Throckmorton Caldwell got married in 1941. Wonder why he had 3 cards.


Then there was another official ID card for his job at Adams Division of the LeTourneau-Westinghouse Company in Indianapolis. It is dated Oct. 17, 1955.


H. Rupprecht was having a birthday February 17 & there was a request for birthday cards. Notice on the above work ID card, H. Rupprecht signed the authorization as representative of the Personnel Department.


There was a business card for the Rev. H.M. Myrick, pastor of the Church of the Nazarene at 325 W Raymond, Indianapolis. H.M. Myrick was probably Herman Myrick, who was Oscar’s cousin.


The bottom half of a check was also in the billfold. It was for 25 dollars for “Priscilla McKinley Est.” signed by Oscar. Priscilla McKinley was Oscar’s Mother & she died in 1941.


He kept his Indiana state tax form for 1938 in this billfold. According to the form, he worked as a trucker for J.D. Adams Co. Indianapolis. He made $1,184.91, had a $1,000 exemption and the tax due was $1.85.



The 1939 Indiana Motor Vehicle Registration card was also in the billfold. He owned a Ford & paid a fee of $6.



oscarmckgasolinerationThen there was the cover of a Basic Mileage Ration book from the U.S.A. Office of Price Administration, dated Nov. 20, 1942. It indicated Oscar drove a “Ford V-8 Coach.” It was an “A” ration book, which allowed Oscar 3-4 gallons of gasoline per week. It was the lowest priority for gasoline rationing during WWII.

Finally, there was a folded news clipping from a Martinsville, Indiana newspaper with no date. The title was “She Was a Teacher” with a woman’s photograph under the title.

While it does not give the full name of the woman, it mentions “Miss Asher,” who taught school for over 35 years. It appears to be a eulogy for Miss Asher. So who was Miss Asher & why did Oscar keep this clipping in his billfold? Turns out that there were 2 Asher sisters who were school teachers, Goldie and Grenda. The Indianapolis Star reported that the sisters completed their training for the “4 year elementary license” at the Indiana State Teachers College at Terre Haute in 1931. Obviously, they had been teaching for quite a while before then. According to the 1940 US Census, they lived in Jackson Twp, Morgan County, IN. Goldie never married & died December 19, 1942. She was 55 years old. It would make sense that she is the “Miss Asher” mentioned in the article, as notices on the back of the clipping mention Christmas. There is one more connection between Oscar and Goldie Asher: they were First Cousins once removed.

So there we have it, the things found in Oscar’s billfold. I wonder what people would find interesting about the things we carry today?

© MJM 2017

Germans to America

When I first got interested in the family history, I didn’t have much information about my Maternal ancestors. For the most part, all I had to start with were some names and dates for my Great-Great Grandparents. We knew that some of them came from Germany and some from Croatia. That was about it. This was well before many databases had been made available on the internet.

I can’t remember exactly how, but I found the name of a collection of books, Germans to America: Lists of Passengers Arriving at US Ports 1850-1897, edited by Ira A. Glazier and P. William Filby, and located it at a library a couple of hours away. My Mom & I took a trip there and looked at the books. Immediately we found the name of one of the families and the name of the ship they sailed to America on. It was fun to see our ancestors’ names in print! Since then I’ve found a few more tidbits on this family in the U.S.A.

According to the Germans to America reference, the Beiersdorf family, August, “Justine” and their sons, Friedrich, August, Wilhelm and Gustav arrived in the United States October 22, 1889. They came over on the ship, Taormina. They came from Prussia. Now, I had information that August’s wife was named Augusta & not Justine, but I figured it was still the correct family.

Since the original find of the family in the index, I found the passenger list for the Taormina in the New York Passenger list collection of It indicates the family’s destination as Wisconsin. They actually settled in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The Hamburg passenger list collection indicated that the family was from Woltersburg, Pommern. August was 30 years old when he arrived in America, his wife was 26, son Friedrich was 6, son August was 4, son Wilhelm was 2 and son Gustav was only 9 months old. As for the name “Justine,” I can’t really explain it, but my assumption is that it was a shortened form of Augustine or Augusta. There was another “Justine” on the same page of the list.

I searched for the ship, Taormina, and on the website, found out that it was a single funnel ship with 3 masts & a single propeller. It carried 600 3rd class passengers. It docked in New York on October 22, 1889 at 8:00 a.m. It took about 17 days to cross the ocean. The immigrants were possibly processed at the Castle Garden Immigration Depot. (Ellis Island did not become the Immigration gateway until 1892.)

I met August’s Granddaughter, Gertrude Schwalbe (1916-2008), in the early 2000’s. She was the daughter of August C. She shared some of what her father had told her about the trip to the U.S.:

They travelled in Steerage class down below, providing their own bedding, cooking kettles & food, sharing a spot in which to prepare their meals with other immigrants. The air was heavy with the smell of cabbage & potatoes & I’m sure the smell of so many unwashed bodies didn’t help it any. Once a day they were allowed up on deck for exercise and fresh air. Dad remembers his Father taking him up on deck and holding his hand as they walked. Suddenly a gust of wind blew off my Dad’s new cap & carried it out into the Atlantic! That was Dad’s most vivid memory of his trip to the U.S.A.” So I guess passage on the Taormina was definitely a “no frills” trip.

She said a relative helped pay for their passage. They took the train to Sheboygan and stayed in a “house at the side of the Sheboygan River known by the men of Sheboygan as the Green house, a sporting, you guessed it, whore house!” August got a job with the Reiss Coal Company and shoveled coal by hand from the hold of a Coal Boat. After he got his first pay check, the family moved to a house on Indiana Avenue. They lived in Sheboygan the rest of their lives. They were members of Immanuel Lutheran Church. As far as I know, August and Augusta did not become U.S. Citizens, but their sons did.

Augusta was actually August’s second wife. His first wife died after the first 3 sons were born. He then married her sister, Augusta. (I still have some research to do to verify the name of the first wife & if she truly was the sister of Augusta.) August and Augusta had 7 more children: Gustav, the little baby on the trip, died in 1890; Marie (1890-1973); Albert (1892-1977); Herman (1895-1983); Otto (1896, stillborn); Ewald (1898-1971); Frieda (1900-1974). August died in 1903 at the age of 44, Augusta lived 52 more years and died at the age of 87 in 1955. They are buried in Lutheran Cemetery in Sheboygan.

This is a photo of the family after August’s death. My Great-Grandfather is Herman, the young boy on the right.


Beiersdorf family

Back row: Fred, August C, Marie, William, Albert

Front row: Ewald, Frieda, Augusta, Herman

© MJM 2017