Monday, September 12, 2011


~ A Dobbins Family ~

Continuing with the story of the five little orphan girls, their dad was part of a very large family, and when these girls lost their parents, there were lots of aunts and uncles who stepped in to the breech and took over raising them.

By looking at census records, both the Federal Censuses which were taken every 10 years and the Kansas State censuses, which were taken in the 5th year between the federal censuses, I was able to find all the orphans.

Jemima went to live with her Uncle William and Aunt Margaret McGee Corel

Julia went to live with her Uncle James and Susanna McGee Corel

Margaret went to live with her Uncle Frank and Aunt Nancy Corel LaHay

Louisa went to live with her Uncle William and Aunt Cosby Jane Justice

Rebecca first went to live with her Uncle Jake and Aunt Olivia Corel McGee. And then when her sister Jemima married, Rebecca went to live with her. We know this latter bit of information from Agnes Hall’s manuscript…”Rebecca was married from Mama’s (Jemima’s) house.”

And as you would expect, as the orphan girls got older they married. Jemima married John Salathiel in 1861 and they ultimately settled in Montgomery County, Kansas. Julia married Willis Myers in 1864 and they settled in Labette County, Kansas. Louisa married Thomas McGee in 1867 – and eventually they settled in Hidalgo County, Texas. Rebecca married Giles Gilbert Parman sometime around 1870 (that’s a guess) and by 1880 they were in Wilson County, Kansas.

What happened to the orphan Margaret? We can only guess. She lived with my great-grandmother Nancy Corel LaHay at least until she was 19, for at that time she was enumerated with her on the 1865 census. If you’ve read my earlier post about Francois “Frank” LaHay (Nancy’s husband) you’ll remember that both he and their two children died between 1862 and 1864. In 1867 Nancy moved to town (Lawrence) and married a second time. No mention was made of Margaret. In Agnes Salathiel Hall’s manuscript, there is no mentioned of Jemima having a sister named Margaret. And since there is no marriage record in Douglas County, Kansas, of a marriage of Margaret Corel, one assumes that Margaret died.

So now there were four orphans.

But even all that is not enough of a story for a good genealogist! What I wanted to do was learn more about their lives and, if possible, find living descendants of each of them.

Here’s where I started: Agnes Salathiel Hall’s manuscript again. Finding a family history like this, even though it may not be 100% accurate, provides a great starting place to begin research and is one of the reasons why a genealogist wants to find living descendants...maybe THAT family ended up being the keeper of the family history. So as noted in the earlier portion of the orphan’s story, I had been able to locate one of Jemima's descendants who shared this manuscript with me. Because in those days the role of the wife was pretty much that of a housewife, about the best we can do is to know a little of what the husbands were doing and then think of how it affected his wife.

So what did Jemima’s husband do? During the early years he was married to Jemima, John Salathiel was active in the anti-slavery movement, was a personal friend of James H. Lane and was enumerated among John Brown’s followers. Later he served with the Kansas Militia. After the civil war the family moved to the town of Independence in Montgomery County, where they raised their children and where John Salathiel had a grocery business. Ultimately, Joe Cullen’s line, which descends from daughter Margaret Salathiel Newcomb’s line, came to California.

Julia’s marriage certificate states that she was married “at the house of Jacob McGee.” This would have been her Aunt Oliva Corel and Uncle Jake’s house. Her husband, Willis Myers, was also among the earliest residents of Douglas County. Both the Myers and the Corel names appear on the territorial census records of Douglas County pre 1860. After their marriage Willis and Julia settled in Chetopa, Labette County, where Willis also became a grocer. They had four children: Edgar Myers, Ida Myers Columbia, Alma Viroqua “Roqua” Myers Milner, and Helen Gertrude Myers Crotty. According to Julia’s obituary of 1930, the families of both Ed and Helen Gertrude lived in Nevada, MO; Roqua in Ardmore, Oklahoma, and it wasn’t clear where Ida Columbia lived. I have never found any present day descendants from Julia.

The orphan Louisa was noted in Agnes Halls ms this way: “Lida lived in Texas and died in a storm. Her married name was McGee. Her son, Robert lee McGee visited us.” Between 1984 when I started my genealogy until this last year, I hunted and hunted for Louisa, keeping in mind that the name might appear as “Lida.” It wasn’t until May of 1910 that a Corel cousin, also a genealogical researcher, was contacted by a descendant of Louisa who was able to provide all the information we had hoped for. While Louisa is listed as “Eliza” on many of the documents the family had, that same family is enumerated on the census records with a mother called “Louisa” so one assumes that she went by both names. The family settled in Hidalgo, Texas – and the descendent who contacted us lived in Florida. He provided a death certificate of “Eliza” who died of “acute pulmonary congestion” – I suspect not as a result of a storm, as the Hall manuscript stated, but then one never knows! Needless to say, I was delighted that the little orphan had finally, after a 26 year hunt, had been found.

Finally, the story of the orphan Rebecca was also sketched out in Hall’s manuscript. In 1882 Giles and Rebecca Parman and their family (Ethelyn, Sarah, George, Lloyd and Julia) set out with three other families on the Oregon Trail. These four families filed on their homesteads in 1884, and in 1885 the town of Condon was laid out. But in 1886, Rebecca (called “Betty”) died in giving birth to twins. One twin died at birth, the other at three months. Interestingly, for whatever reason, Betty’s tombstone identified her maiden name as Carl, not Corel, so when I finally located a descendant, I had to tell her that although Betty’s family may have remembered her name as Carl, her heritage will be found under Corel. There are still Parman descendants living in that area.

So now the story of the five orphan girls ends. It has always concerned me that the heritage of orphans is usually very difficult to trace, so my goal in all this research on these firls, five nieces of my great-grandma Nannie Corel LaHay Dobbins, was to make sure the story was told somewhere.

To wrap up a few loose ends, in the year 2000 I received some information from a woman in Lawrence who had for many years been keeping her eyes open for Corels and Dobbinses. This information was that the Watkins Museum in the city of Lawrence had just turned over some old burial reinterment cards to the Museum. These cards indicated the following people were among those from the old Pioneer Cemetery on Mt. Oread who had been reinterred in the big Oak Hill Cemetery, also in Lawrence. The following people had been placed in the Corel plot in Section 1, Plot 32. I have made notes as to who these people were (or who I suspected they were.)

Rebecca and John Corel – d 09 Nov 1860 (Matriarch of the family; John not known)
Margaret – died about 1865 (probably Henry’s orphan)
Henry and Nancy Corel - d about 1855 (the orphan’s parents)
William Corel – died about 1855 (the orphan’s brother)
Margaret Corel - died about 1860 (probably Margaret Corel Puckett, adult daughter of Rebecca Corel.)

I think all the Corel orphans except for the oldest, Sarah Corel Oney, are all accounted for.

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