Saturday, June 20, 2015


The death of Henry Ross on 10 Dec. 1861 was reported in a letter from the American Consul in Constantinople:  "He was discharged by me from the Hermaphrodite Brig "Hugh Barclay" of Chicago on December 2 and sent at once to the hospital on application of Charles T. Chadwick, Master, having arrived at this port November 30 from Sulema at the mouth of the Danube where he contracted dysentery of which he died."

Before we go any further, let's find out what a Hermaphrodite Brig looked like and a description of its rigging:

So this ship came into port at Istanbul with a young man near death.  Let's continue with the American Consul's letter:

"I visited him daily and found that he received every possible attention from the Protestant Sisters who manage that Institution.  Yesterday I attended his funeral at which one of the American Missionaries officiated.  He was decently buried in the Dutch Protestant Cemetery in Pera.  The flag of his country accompanying his remains to the grave.  It appears by the Ship's Registry that the deceased shipped at London on 8 Jun 1861, aged 23.  He informed me he was never married and has no parents living unless a brother, John Ross, from whom he has not heard for 5 years.  His protection from the Collector of Boston and Charleston dated 13 Dec 1860 certifies that he was a native of Buffalo, New York which he considers his residence.  He leaves nothing but his clothing and the balance of his wages and extra pay, for which I will account.  Under the circumstances I have not deemed it necessary to publish a notice in any newspaper here."

                                                Signed:  C. W. Goddard, Consul General."

I lived in Istanbul for almost two years and one of the things I did was to try to identify all the Americans who were buried in the Ferikoy-Istanbul Protestant Cemetery.  Until I came home from Turkey I had no idea who Henry Ross was, but I had learned that when an American dies in a Foreign Country the State Department in America receives a notice of his or her death.  Early on it was just a written notice; later it was called a Form 192: Report of Death of American Citizen.  All such reports are eventually turned over to the National Archives.  So in 1995 I went to the College Park Branch of the National Archives where the state department's material to be archived is kept, and after a week of searching I found a Consular Dispatch file from that time period (1861) and in it was the letter from the Consul General.  No other information on Henry is available, but there surely was a great deal of information on other Americans buried in that cemetery.

As it happens, the cemetery that Consul General Goddard speaks of is no longer there and those buried in that cemetery were removed and reinterred at the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy. Unfortunately the man does not have a tombstone.

I was never able to locate any family for him here in the United States using simple genealogical tools, but perhaps with this exposure someone who has been looking a long time for young Henry Ross will recognize him here.  Until then, keep in mind that there are a lot of Immortal Nobodies buried in cemeteries all over the world.

Rest in Peace, Henry.

American Section of the Protestant Cemetery in Ferikoy-Istanbul

Thursday, June 18, 2015



Helen R. Hungerford was the oldest of six daughters of Asa and Mary Angelina Bond Hungerford.  It seems to me that it is usually the youngest daughter who cares for the "old folks" as they age, but in this case, one by one the daughters disappeared off the censuses, due either to death or marriage and Helen took over that obligation.  Because my own Bond direct ancestor is Charlotte, a sister of Mary Angelina, I really haven't tried very hard to research this "collateral" line.   But I do know a little bit - and I think it is quite interesting.

Looking at the censuses, I find that in each one, Helen is still living at home with her mom and dad in Perry township, Allen County, Ohio.  Everyone in that area are farmers, and her father is no different. Since most of the censuses ask what one's occupation is, Helen says "housekeeping" rather than the traditional "Keeping House" (which may or may not mean doing it in someone else's home) - or she doesn't indicate any occupation at all.

The three Hungerfords. Asa, Mary Angelina and Helen, gradually "age out" and by 1910 none appear on a census.  However, I know that Helen is still alive because I've gathered some information about her death in 1916

One of the death notices says that she died suddenly at 80 years of age at the home of her sister.  This notice also tells us that she lived on the farm adjoining her sister for over half a century, and that she was buried at Perry Chapel Cemetery.  Apparently she did not have a headstone, as the headstones have all been noted in various genealogy sites and no Helen Hungerford appears, although her sister and brother-in-law's do.

Another newspaper article indicates that her brother-in-law, A. J. Osmon was named administrator of her estate, and that the estate is valued at "$2,000 in personal property and a house in real estate."

Now the traditional Obituary reads as follows:

"Helen R. Hungerford, daughter of Asa and Mary Angelina Hungerford, was born in Independence, Cuyahoga county, Ohio, August 23, 1835; died at the home of her sister, Mrs. A. J. Osmon, April 5, 1916, aged 80 years, 7 months, 25 days.  She moved to Allen county with the family in 1842, and has lived here since then.  When a young girl, visiting her Grandfather and Grandmother Bond, she united with the Baptist church at Lima, and remained with them until after coming to this county to live, when she transferred her membership to the M.E. church at Perry Chapel, where she has been a constant member and worker in the church and a Sabbath school teacher.  She is survived by one sister, Amanda Osman, and uncle, John Bond; one aunt, Marinda Ihrie, nieces and nephews and a host of friends.  She was always so kind and good to everyone and oh, how she will be missed by the church, the neighbors, and all her friends."

Of course, being good inquisitive genealogists, we always wonder how death came to our old relatives.  Often, we have have nothing to explain it.  But in this case, somehow the Sandusky Daily Register printed this:  "REPORT FROM LIMA" - While dining, Mrs (sic) Helen Hungerford, 80, dropped dead."

So there.  Now we know.

Rest in Peace, Helen.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


As you may or may not know, most of the folks I choose for Immortal Nobodies are people I know of from my own genealogical research.  Narrowing that a little bit more, most are from my own families.  But not today.  For today's Immortal Nobodies – a man and his wife. 

"He" is a fellow named Noah D. Damon, who served in the Revolutionary war.  He was born about 1760, and enlisted in 1775, making him about 15 at the time.  The extant records indicate that he served with the Massachusetts troops and was a private.

"She" is Esther Sumner, a sweet young thing who was born about 1814. 

These two people married in 1835.  She was 21 and he was 75.  There is no interesting story of "why" such a May-December marriage happened, just that it did.  The marriage lasted until his death at the age of 93 in Benton, New Hampshire.

The reason why I was even thinking of those folks was that I was reading the prologue of a new book, "The Bonus Army" by Paul Dickson and Thomas B. Allen which was giving some data as to pensions for our military people throughout the years, and the authors noted that the last surviving dependent of the Revolutionary War continued to receive benefits until 1911.  I found this fact amazing, and I wanted to know just who that was, since this particular statement did not have a footnote with that information.  So of course I Googled to see if I could get an answer.  What came up was blog by noted genealogist Mary Harrell Sesniak.  Now there was no 1911 date in it, but since the story she told had a 1906 date, it was close enough.  Plus, I figure any 75 year old who takes a 21 year old bride, or vice versa, is worthy of the Immortal Nobody appellation. 

Anyway, to finish the story, Noah filed for a pension and received his first payment in 1848.  He could actually have filed earlier, except he indicates that he had been a resident of Canada and was "ignorant of his right."  His application also stated that he had received a sword injury in his thigh that troubled him even as he submitted his paper.  At his death in 1853, the monthly pension went to his wife, and she received it until her death in 1906 at the age of 93.

Noah and Esther did not know they were making history of a sort – a history of a pension that existed from 1853 to 1906 for service in the military at the founding of our nation in 1776.  Nor would they expect to find themselves listed as Immortal Nobodies in my blog.  Welcome, Damons.

As a final note, I am delighted that Google sent me to Mary's most interesting blog that provided information for me.  I must add that I am finding "The Bonus Army" book chock-full of information on a time in our country and an event during that time that I knew absolutely nothing about – and to find it presented in a most readable format!  How I love non-fiction books!  And my Immortal Nobodies, one and all!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

John and Frances Narcissa McConnell brought nine babies into the world.  Only three of them lived to be adults.  These did not.

Simeon Theofulus McConnell:  28 February 1868 - 19 September 1879
Lewis McConnell: 20 January 1870 - 20 January 1870
Luther McConnell: 20 Jan 1871 - 20 Jan 1871
Lucy McConnell: 20 Jan 1871 - 20 Jan 1871

Meake E. McConnell: 20 Aug 1872 - 20 August 1872

Mary Delilah McConnell: 26 Jan 1876 - 02 Feb 1876

It is hard to understand how parents could live through so many sad times.  In one of the family cemeteries in Barren County, Kentucky, there are many small stones with no names on them, now tucked over in a corner but probably once over the tiny plots of babies.  They might even be for these McConnell children, but we won't ever know.  So we'll let them be remembered here - the tiniest of Immortal Nobodies.