The New Mexico Homestead, Part 3

Thanksgiving in New Mexico

Jumping ahead a little in the story of Arza Millikan (my Great-Grandfather) & his friends Elmer Davis & Harry Kincaid homesteading in New Mexico. They secured claims and moved to New Mexico in August of 1907. At the same time, other members of the Sheridan, Indiana community moved to New Mexico to homestead as well. The Woods family moved out to settle on land near Amistad in Union County, NM and helped establish a “Hoosier Colony.” On December 13, 1907, the Sheridan News published a letter sent from the Woods family describing the first Thanksgiving day the homesteaders shared:SherNewsFriDec131907p6headline

The letter continues: We thought that perhaps it would interest our friends in and about Sheridan to know how we spent our first Thanksgiving day in our new home. We attended services at our little town of Amistad and you would have been surprised if you had walked in and seen the crowd of people that were there, measuring about 300. After several songs by the choir and accompanied by two cornets and organ the latter presided over by Prof. Kelsey, late of Boston School of Music. Our pastor then gave a splendid address, theme “Our New Mexico Home as We See It,” which was heartily applauded.

We then sat down to a fine dinner consisting of turkey, chicken, cranberries, pumpkin, mince and other pies, cake and hot coffee, in fact all of the good things that go to make a Thanksgiving feast. After an intermission of one hour we were called to order and in a very short time $285 was collected to finish paying for the church and Academy building. Also $15 was raised for a charity fund. The service was closed with a splendid prayer by one of our many preachers for which this locality is noted. The rest of the day was spent in getting acquainted with our neighbors which we find to be a very fine class of people from almost every state in the Union. At the close of the day’s service the air resounded with the Academy yell which is too complicated to write in detail. As our party of 8 wended their way over the trail homeward (1/2 mile south and 3 3/4 east) we could look over the prairie and see the people going in all directions, some walking, some horseback, others driving burrow, horses & mules. Many in big wagons pulled by bronchos as was our own wagon.

After doing our chores, we had our regular Thursday evening prayer meeting and our hearts went up in prayer for our loved ones and friends in our good old Hoosier state of whom we had thought a great many times during the day and we thanked our Heavenly Father for his many blessings and tender care for us in our Western home. The Woods Family

Since Arza and his friends settled near Amistad as well, it is expected that they attended this gathering.

I do have a picture labeled “Thanksgiving at Moody’s.” Most likely it is from Thanksgiving 1907.


The Moody family had the property bordering Arza’s on the East. Alfred Moody and his wife, Mary had three daughters, Sylvia, Florence and Helen. Sylvia and Florence were teen-agers in 1907. I expect they were a little infatuated with the young men who lived nearby.

The photo isn’t the best quality & the people are unidentified, but I think the 3 in white are the Moody girls.

So the homesteader’s first Thanksgiving in New Mexico was spent visiting with new friends, enjoying food, company and entertainment. I guess that’s what holidays are about.

©MJM 2017

The New Mexico Homestead, Part 2

Westward Ho! Well, almost. As mentioned in Part 1, Arza Millikan (my Great Grandfather) and his friends Elmer Davis & Harry Kincaid were making plans to move out to the land they had made claims on in New Mexico. They gathered their supplies, made plans to take care of business at home in Indiana, and prepared to head West.

SherNewsFriAug91907p1Other members of the “Hoosier Colony” were on their way in August. This article from the front page of the Sheridan News, August 9, 1907, tells of the Woods family moving out West:

Arza, Elmer and Harry were ready to leave later in August. But first, they had a going away party with some of their friends. On August 16, 1907, there was a notation in the Sheridan News of this gathering:


One of the items my Grandmother gave me was a collection of pages stitched together at the top to make a little booklet. I think each young man received one of these from his friends at this party. It contains a few practical hints and recipes for the men to take along with them.

recipe8jpg copy

Recipe Book pg. 8

This little recipe booklet gave Arza the basic recipes for such staples as Mashed Potatoes, Baked Beans and Potato Salad. Then there were the recipes for Puff Ball Donuts & Good Graham Gems. Our favorite recipe is for Fried Mush—an Indiana farm staple. Step one of the recipe is to go to Harry’s and get some leftover mush.

Each recipe or hint was personally written for Arza by one of his friends.

So then the young men took their hints and well-wishes from friends and family and headed out to New Mexico. Arza’s journal entry stated that they “shipped goods, provisions & mules down in a car with Walter Edwards & Tim Jones.” The trio of friends left August 20, 1907 with Mrs. Susan Walker & Cyrus Johnson via Chicago this time. They were met in Nara Visa by Clarence Walker on Thursday evening, August 22, 1907.

Arza’s notes do not indicate if the men went directly to their claims or stayed in Nara Visa for a while while they gathered all of their provisions and building supplies. Homesteaders often stayed in Nara Visa in camps while waiting for supplies. There is a picture of Arza standing in front of a tent which was reportedly made for him by the young women of Sheridan. I wonder if this photo was taken in Nara Visa.


The three friends have made it to New Mexico to start their adventure. I wonder what they will encounter out there?

To be continued…

© MJM 2017

The New Mexico Homestead, Part 1


Arza Millikan

One hundred and ten years ago my Great Grandfather, Arza Millikan, homesteaded in the territory of New Mexico. That didn’t make sense to me because this was the same Arza Millikan who grew up on the family farm near Sheridan, IN. On that farm 100 years ago, my Grandmother was born. Her siblings were born there as well. Even my Dad was born on that farm. So where did New Mexico fit in? How long was Arza there? And why didn’t he stay on his homestead?

I can’t remember exactly when my Grandmother, Margaret (Millikan) McKinley, mentioned that her Father homesteaded in New Mexico. I do remember that I didn’t quite understand it. Turns out, hearing that he was in New Mexico homesteading made some sense because I had some letters and cards that were addressed to him in Nara Visa (pronounced with a long i), New Mexico. I also had his bank book from the First National Bank of Nara Visa. So what was his story? Why did he go? Why did he return to the Indiana farm?

Arza may have got the notion to go out West from stories from neighbors or notices posted in the newspaper or other periodicals. He may have seen a news clipping like this one from the Sheridan News May 17, 1907:SherNewsFriMay171907p1NewMex

But even before that time, the area of Nara Visa was being promoted as a great place to settle. The Tucumcari, New Mexico, News from February 3, 1906 reported that Nara Visa was “Booming.” It reported that survey work was being done to lay out the town. There was already a postmaster there.

Perhaps Arza saw a report like this one from the Tucumcari News from June 6, 1906:

Then another report from the Tucumcari News, January 12, 1907 told of how the settlement was being advertised around the country:


The letters & papers I had gave me some idea of when Arza was in New Mexico—1907-08. He would have been 24 years old when he had this adventure. He summarized his trip in a farm journal entry January 1, 1909. “On the morning of Feb 19-07. Elmer Davis Harry Kincaid Clarence Walker & myself started to New Mex to file on homesteads. All filed on adjoining claims…

The Sheridan News announced this information on February 22, 1907:


Arza and his friends set out for New Mexico together, going by way of St. Louis. It would have been a 2 day trip by rail from Indiana to New Mexico. They went to evaluate the possibility of homesteading in the territory. I don’t know much about Clarence Walker except that he sold his claim due to an unrelated lawsuit. Elmer Davis lived on the adjacent farm just East of Arza’s home. He and Arza were life-long friends. Harry Kincaid, another friend, was younger than the others. He was 21 when he joined the group for New Mexico.

At the same time that the young men took their trip to scout out the land, the Tucumcari News had another report of the growth of Nara Visa. From the February 23 edition:


So, by all the publicity, the area around Nara Visa, New Mexico sounded like a great place to set up a homestead. However, there was a cautionary notice in the Sheridan News March 1, 1907:SherNewsMar11907p7Hortonville

Arza returned to Indiana after filing his claim. The Sheridan News reported his return March 11, 1907:SherNewsFriMar11907p7Arza

But these young men weren’t the only folks from Sheridan to go out West.

William J. Woods, a prominent citizen of Sheridan took the trip to New Mexico as well. There were several newspaper articles about his plans for homesteading. Some of these articles give more information about the process for settlement.

The front page of the Sheridan News, February 22, 1907 reported on Mr. Woods’ return from New Mexico where he secured claims of 160 acres each for himself and other family members. It reported that they expected to have a “regular Hoosier Colony there before very long.” The specific requirements for homesteads were spelled out: “Parties taking the claims now will be compelled to occupy them on or before August and must remain there about 8 months before the title is passed to them.” Arza and his friends would follow the same guidelines.

Mr. Woods and his family settled in Union county, NM near the new town of Amistad. This area was 24 miles north of Nara Visa. Arza and his friends also secured claims in Union county & Amistad was closer to their claims than Nara Visa. However, Nara Visa was on the direct railroad line and would have been the starting point & supply line for homesteaders in the area.

The Woods family made plans to pack up and move to New Mexico in the months after securing the claims. The Sheridan News reports their plans. First, from the February 22 edition and then from the May 10 edition showing the header of a full page advertisement announcing the closing of William E. Woods’ store.



The young men were making plans as well. Arza had to secure help to work his Grandfather’s farm while he was gone. His journal entry from 1909 states he “hired Willie Kinneman to work from August 1, 1907 to May 1, 1908 for $140 and $18 per month” until he returned. They also collected supplies to ship out to New Mexico. My Grandmother wrote that Arza took a wagon, 2 mules, harness, bedding, folding bed, food, cooking utensils, plow, harrow and a bicycle with him. He also took a tent that was reportedly made for him by the young women of the Sheridan community. The bicycle he took along was later stolen.

The friends prepared to leave for their New Mexico adventure in August 1907…

to be continued…

© MJM 2017

A Pre-Nuptual Agreement

My folks and I traveled to Randolph County, North Carolina a few years ago looking for the old family land. We spent time searching deed records, specifically looking up any deed reference to our Millikan ancestors. One item we came across was a pre-nuptual agreement from 1870. I figured “pre-nups” were relatively recent contracts, so I was surprised to find one in the deed records.


Mordecai Mendenhall & Sarah Millikan Marriage Contract 1870

This is from Randolph County deed book 36, page 288. It records the marriage contract between Mordecai Mendenhall and Sarah Millikan dated March 24, 1870. In the contract, each one of them agrees to release the rights to the other’s real estate & personal property. So who were they & how do they fit into my family?

Sarah Millikan was born Sarah Williams in 1806. She married Benjamin Millikan in 1824. Benjamin was the brother of my 4th Great Grandfather, Samuel (1789-1870). Samuel’s son, Clark, (1824-1926) moved from North Carolina to Indiana. I’ve written a few posts about Clark. Benjamin and Samuel each received part of the original Millikan land from their Father, Benjamin (1775-1842).

Sarah and Benjamin had 7 children: Milton (1825-1908), Daniel W. (1828-1914), Azel (1829-1890), Rebecca (1831-1911), Benjamin (1831-1915), Nancy (1833-?) & William P. (1835-1875). Some of their children moved to Indiana, others stayed on the family land in North Carolina. Benjamin died in 1836, leaving Sarah with the children to raise alone. She shows up in the 1850 Census as Sarah Williams (her maiden name) with real estate valued at $500. In 1860, her real estate is worth $800, with personal property worth $500.

Mordecai had also been married and had a family before he married Sarah. In the 1850 Census, his Real Estate was worth $200. By 1860, his wealth had jumped significantly. His Real estate was worth $7000 and Personal estate worth $8150. Maybe this is part of the reason for the pre-nuptual agreement.

The 1870 Census has Mordecai’s Real Estate worth $2500, Personal estate $5000. Sarah’s Real estate is worth $1000 with personal property $500.


Mordecai died at the age of 87 in 1879 of “typhoid flux”. Sarah lived until 1884, showing up in the 1880 census living with her son, Daniel. Sarah was 77 years old when she died.

So while these two individuals weren’t immediate ancestors of mine, it is kind of interesting to see that even back in 1870 they intended to protect their individual assets. I didn’t find Mordecai’s will. There is no indication in Sarah’s will that she had any additional property from Mordecai. So, the assumption is that the children of each one’s first marriage inherited from them.

© MJM 2017

Grandpa’s Jobs

Another Labor Day holiday, so time to look again at the work some of my ancestors did. While most of Dad’s side of the family were farmers in the early years, eventually some of them found work off the farm.

My Grandfather, Loran McKinley, Sr. (1916-2003) worked several jobs in his lifetime. He compiled a list of those jobs, probably for a class reunion. Eventually, that list made it to my collection.

First, from 1936 to 1938, he worked at the American Rolling Mill (ARMCO Steel Mill) in Middletown, OH. The company produced rolled sheets of steel. He had this job when he got married to my Grandmother, Margaret. While there, he practiced and honed his skills as a crane operator. His first pay check for 40 hours of work was $36. The recession caused him to move on to another job.


 This card gave him access to practice on the cranes at the factory.

From 1939 to 1941, he worked for Interstate Foundry in Indianapolis, IN. He worked as a foreman and overhead crane operator. He made 40¢ per hour.

From 1941 to 1950, he was self employed. He had a farm & drove a milk route for Polk Dairy. No, he was not a “milk man.” He picked up milk from the dairy farmers and took it to the Polk Dairy in Indianapolis. I’ve been told that his job was considered “essential” and therefore he was not drafted into the military during WWII.

From 1950 to 1952, he worked for AVCO Corporation in Richmond, IN. He was Security Guard at this manufacturing plant.

Then, from 1953 to 1981, he worked for the Chrysler Corporation as a Security Guard. He indicated that 3rd shift pay was $3.56/hour.

He retired from Chrysler and moved to a farm near Sheridan, IN.

After I saw the list of jobs that he had, I asked Grandpa what was his favorite. He replied, “farmer.” So, even though he had experience in other areas of work, he still went back to the original family business, farming.

© MJM 2017

Worldly Possessions…

Josiah Earp, a soldier of the American Revolution, moved from Maryland to North Carolina to Kentucky. He died in Pulaski County, KY November 25, 1844 at the age of 83.

The final statement from his pension file is a report from the Executor of his estate, George Randal, stating that Josiah died and left no widow & was survived by the following children: Singleton Earp, Allin Earp, Eleanor Randal & Jemima Randal. (The Randal name is spelled Randolph in some records)

The surviving children listed in the statement are Singleton Earp (1802-1886), my GGGG Grandfather; “Allin” or James Allen (1796-1862), who moved to Arkansas; Eleanor (1800-1860), the wife of George Randal; and Jemima (1786-1853), wife of James Randal. Other sources I found through the years also listed a daughter, Drucilla (1784-1878) wife of Thomas Clark, Phillip Hawker (1797-1860) and Anna (1804-before 1835) wife of John Herrin. I’m not sure if all of the dates are correct for these children. However, it is unclear why Phillip H. & Drucilla were not listed as survivors of Josiah in the statement from George Randal.

As far as I know, Josiah did not have a will, but there was a record of his estate filed with the court by George Randolph. It is thought that Josiah did not own land, so his estate was simply his worldly possessions.

First, George submitted an inventory & assessment of the estate:


At the time of his death, Josiah owned 1 sorrel mare, 6 pewter plates & 1 dish, 1 table, 2 bottles, 1 tea canister, 1 chest, 1 coffee mill, 1 pot, 1 oven & lid, 1 pair of pot hooks, 4 chairs, 1 trunk & 1 smoothing iron. The value of the estate was $39.62 1/2.

So then there was the “estate sale.” And on February 17, 1845, George Randolph once again filed a statement with the court:


So Josiah Earp’s personal property sold for a total of $39.31 1/4.

Several of the names on the list of buyers are familiar—Josiah’s son, Singleton Earp, and sons-in-law Thomas Clark, James Randolph and George Randolph. Balis Randolph was the son of George & Eleanor. William Randolph was the son of James & Jemima.

Looking at the inventory assessment and the sale records I noticed that some items were valued with a half cent. I didn’t know the US had half cents. Turns out the 1/2 cent coin was minted from 1793 to 1857.

Regardless, Josiah Earp left only a few items as his worldly possessions & these items ended up in the hands of family members. I wonder if any have survived in the family through the generations.

Incidentally, with inflation, Josiah’s worldly possessions would be worth about $1,202 today.

© MJM 2017

Aunt Angie, Crack Shot

I found a newspaper article the other day from the Sheridan News:

Hortonville—The daughter of Clark Millikan is a fine shot. She is not married and we are a little uncertain as to her age. She is staying in the home of Wm. Stanley on the township line. The other morning a hawk swooped down and grabbed a chicken which caused Miss Millikan to grab a gun and follow that hawk to his den, climbing over a barb wire fence. Taking a long shot, she killed him at the first fire, says she learned to shoot in Carolina.” –May 31, 1912 p7

The article doesn’t name the “daughter of Clark Millikan,” but it is pretty obvious to me that it was referring to Nancy Angeline Millikan.




This is one of the few pictures I have of her by herself. And she’s holding a rifle. She also has a few squirrels, which I’m sure she shot.






Nancy Angeline was the only child of Clark Millikan (1824-1926) and his first wife, Nancy Adams (1816-1852). She was born September 30, 1852 in Randolph county, North Carolina. Sadly, her Mother died when Angie was only 11 days old.

I can’t find her in the 1860 US Census. She is not listed in her Father, Clark’s household. Perhaps she was visiting someone.

In 1870, she shows up on the US Census with her Aunt & Uncle, Close & Annie Davis in Back Creek Township of Randolph County, NC. By then her Father and family had moved to Indiana. So I wonder if she was just visiting or if she lived with the Davis family. (I also haven’t found the Davis’ in the 1860 Census. So if I ever do, it may answer the question.)

After this, she is listed with Clark, and she reportedly lived with her Father until his death in 1926.



I copied this photo from a relative’s collection. The photographer’s mark on the back of the photo is from “G.N. Glass, North Side Gallery, Sheridan, IN.” The website,, which is “Langdon’s List of 19th & Early 20th Century Photographers,” indicates that this photographer was in business from the 1880’s to 1890’s. So that gives a general time frame for this photo.




I don’t have much other information on Angeline. My Grandmother, Margaret Millikan McKinley, said, “Aunt Angie was bald. She wore a straw hat everywhere. For more formal gatherings, she had a hairpiece or bonnet that she wore.” I can’t tell from the few pictures I have if this is the case.

Nancy Angeline died from Influenza April 17, 1926 at the age of 73. She died 4 months after her Father. She is buried in the Union Grove Cemetery not far from Clark Millikan’s farm near Sheridan, IN.

One more picture of Angeline, here she holds a trophy—I wonder if it is the hawk mentioned in the newspaper article? By the way, she would have been almost 60 years old when she chased that hawk over the barb wire fence!


© MJM 2017




A Connection to the Revolution

On July 4, 1776, a group of men representing the colonies signed a Declaration of Independence from the Crown of England. But the fight for that Independence continued for 5 more years. All of the colonists would have been involved, choosing sides, even if not actively fighting.

While researching ancestors from Kentucky, we took a trip to Somerset, the Pulaski County seat. While there, we came upon the DAR monument “In Memory of Those Revolutionary Soldiers Who Contributed to the Establishment and Development of Pulaski County, KY.”


We noticed a familiar name on the monument.


Was this one of our Earp/Erp ancestors? And what was his story regarding the Revolution?

Turns out, Josiah is an ancestor of mine. He was the father of Singleton Erp, who was the father of Allen, who moved to Indiana, served in the Civil war, and was the subject of my first blog post. Josiah is my GGGGG Grandfather. Josiah was born March 10, 1761 in Montgomery County, Maryland. He died November 25, 1844 in Pulaski County, Kentucky.

So what about the “Revolutionary Soldier” part of his story? The site, has copies of Josiah’s request for pension, based on the legislation from June of 1832. This law allowed full pay for soldiers who served more than 2 years and partial pay for those serving under 2 years but at least 6 months.

There are 8 pages included in Josiah’s file on The digitized records are a little difficult to read as this partial page indicates:


In essence, Josiah appeared before the court at Pulaski County on November 18, 1833. He was 72 years old at the time. He testified that “while a resident of Montgomery County, State of Maryland, according to his present recollection, in the month of March 1781 he volunteered for the Term of nine months in the Company of Captain John Nichols, the Lieutenant’s name was Thomas Nichols. After he volunteered he was marched to George Town…We were rendezvoused at Montgomery Courthouse in the state aforesaid and at that place received the proper arms and accoutrements for the service and was there a short time harried & exercised and from thence was marched to George Town, now in the District of Colombia, and was there stationed remained there engaged until news arrived that Lord Cornwallis had retreated towards North Carolina; was then directed by the Commanding Officers to return home but to carry with him his arms & other accoutrements and to hold himself ready to march into the service immediately when called on. The whole company were dispersed under like orders. In a few days after his return from George Town, he was again together with the rest of the Company to which he belonged, ordered into the service of the United States by his Commanding Officers and was ordered to march to Dumfries, a small town beyond Bladensburg and while on the march, our Officers were informed there was no need of our services at that point & was then directed to return home but to hold ourselves in readiness to march again into the service when called on. After the Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, he together with the rest of the Company was called in to the Service by the Commanding Officers and were then marched to Frederick Town, Maryland to Guard the prisoners taken at the Surrender of Cornwallis & continued there engaged in that service until about the 15th day of December of that year and was then discharged from the service. He received no discharge in writing.”

So breaking down his service, he was a single man, 20 years old when he volunteered. Most of his time in the service was spent around the area which would become Washington D.C. Seems like he prepared for the fight, but never had to. Cornwallis went to North Carolina & was victorious at the battle of Guilford Courthouse March 15, 1781. Then at the Battle of Yorktown, Virginia, his troops were greatly outnumbered & Cornwallis surrendered on October 19, 1781. So Josiah guarded prisoners for about 2 months before he was discharged. According to his papers, he received an annual pension of $20, starting March 4, 1831, until his death in 1844. The paperwork also indicates that Josiah was “entirely illiterate.” He moved to North Carolina and lived there about 4 or 5 years, then in 1817 he moved to Pulaski County, KY.

So no great war stories from his statement. Just the story of a young man ready to contribute to the fight for Independence, waiting for the call to arms. His contribution was at the end of the war, guarding British prisoners. But even that service was needed at the time.

© MJM 2017

That Old Cross-Roads Store

My Grandmother, Margaret (Millikan) McKinley wrote this poem July 26, 1934:

That Old Cross-Roads Store

It’s only that old cross-roads store,
The kind that isn’t seen much more.
A faded old sign swings over the door.
And many feet have trod its floor.

It makes no difference what you’ve come to buy,
You’ll find it there, tho’ the price be high.
And as you look around at the things that lie
About on the counter, you give a sigh.

It may be a bolt of print, some lace,
An old pan lid, or a flower vase
A dusty veil for an older face
Or a bit of candy in a worn show case.

It may be something in which to cook,
Or a more recent magazine or book,
It may be a lamp, or a fish hook.
Why there’s even a cat in a cozy nook!

The keeper is smiling, ever fair.
Seems like the whole country side drops in there.
When in want, to the old cross-roads store we tear,
And we know our need will be filled with care.

She indicated in her notebook that she wrote it “in honor of Uncle Lonny’s cross-roads store at Deming, Indiana.”


“Uncle Lonny” was actually her Great-Uncle Cornelius Arlonzo Boone. He was born November 9, 1858 in Indiana, one of the 3 sons of Paul Boone (1832-1917) and Nancy Estle (1835-1896). He married Sarah Ellen Glaze February 19, 1876 in Hamilton County, Indiana. They had 4 children, Bertha E. (1877-1970), Bessie M. (1882-1901), Edgar M. (1886-1960) and Blanche M. (1889-1968).

In 1880, per the US Census, Lon lived in Marion Twp., Boone County on the family farm. Lon shows up in the US Census in Jackson Twp, Hamilton county in 1900. His occupation was grocer. He lived in the Deming community, which is located about 7 miles North of Westfield. Grandma would have been living in Sheridan and to get to Deming she would have to go East about 7 miles.

Through the following census records, he is listed as a “retail merchant” in the “grocery” industry & a “merchant” with a “Country store.” Unfortunately, I do not know the exact location of his store.

I was recently in Indiana. I asked relatives if they remembered what Lon’s store looked like & where it was. They couldn’t remember much. My Great Aunt told me that the store and the family home were connected. I went exploring & followed the road to Deming. Actually, the community is only about the size of a neighborhood block. The church building is still standing, but it is a lodge meeting place now. A couple of houses had just been demolished, with the remnants still visible. There was one house at the cross-roads that could very well have been the store, but I don’t know for sure.

So I kind of wonder if “Uncle Lonnie’s” country store was a gathering place for the community—did men sit around and play checkers & swap stories; did children come in to get penny candy? Right now I guess I can only imagine what it was like. Grandma’s poem gives a little insight, though.

Lon died April 9, 1936 at the age of 77. He was buried in Spencer Cemetery in Hamilton County, IN.

© MJM 2017

Benjamin Stafford’s Bible

Benjamin Stafford, Morgan County, Indiana pioneer was my GGG Grandfather. As stated in a previous post, Benjamin was mentioned in two history books about Morgan County—The Counties of Morgan, Monroe & Brown, Indiana and The Pioneers of Morgan County, Memoirs of Noah J. Major.

Both books indicate that Mr. Stafford was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church. He reported that he had read his Bible through “nearly 50 times” from age 61 to 73. However, he did not learn to read until he was 40 years old.

I have a New Testament that is well worn with very little of the binding left. His name is in the front cover.

Perhaps this is the Bible that he read so many times. It obviously didn’t just sit on a shelf. The date under his name “February 2, 1872” could have been the date he received the Bible. He would have been 61 years old.

Two more pages from the Bible list the birth dates for Benjamin, his wife, Susan and their children.

Regardless of whether this is the Bible mentioned in the history books, it obviously belonged to Benjamin. To me it is another connection to this ancestor—to think that he held this book over 145 years ago. Pretty cool!

© MJM 2017