As genealogists generally do, I have put together a family tree detailing my ancestors. As a historian, though, I am diligently looking for descendants, hoping they may have pieces of a puzzle: a story, a photograph, an artifact.
Perhaps YOU are one of the people I am looking for.
If your ancestors lived in east-central Indiana in the 19th century (Jay, Blackford, Wells, Delaware or Madison counties), or in Warren County, Ohio, you might have a clue that will help me tell a story. At the end of this post, I have compiled a list of surnames of particular interest.
Below, I will give you a little background on three families. In two cases (John K. Anderson and Jacob Liestenfeltz), I have yet to find a living descendant, though I know there are many. The three men – Henry, John, and Jacob – were part of a mining company that went to California in the gold rush. All the other family names below are in some way connected to the story, though not all went to California.
Henry Z. Jenkins and Abigail G. Bedford
Henry and Abigail were both born in Philadelphia in 1801 and started their family there in 1828. They then lived for about eight years in Ohio, settling in Warren County in 1831. Abigail’s parents and most of her siblings, the Bedfords, also moved to Warren County. Henry’s mother, Ann W. Zane Jenkins, lived with Henry and Abby. They moved to Jay County, Indiana, around 1837 as it was first being settled, living near Camden (now Pennville). They remained there until their deaths in 1882. Of their eight children, seven survived to adulthood:
William Zane Jenkins (m. Frances Jane Ransom and Sarah Stults) (1828 – 1894)
Ann Jane Jenkins (m. William C. Ransom) (1831 – 1863)
Thomas Bedford Jenkins (m. Patience Randall) (1833 – 1880)
Emma Jenkins (m. Robert Ransom) (1835 – 1902)
Philadelphia B. Jenkins (m. Jezreel Decatur Barr) (1837 – 1876)
Mary W. Jenkins (m. Simon P. Clouse) (1840 – 1870)
Barton Bradbury Jenkins (m. Eliza Jane Baird and Nancy Isabel “Belle” Arnold) (1843 – 1918)
Jenkins family plot in Hillside Cemetery, Pennville, Indiana (2017)
John K. Anderson (1821 – 1898)
His middle name is sometimes given as “Kamars,” but I have not found any official documentation giving anything but his middle initial. John K. Anderson was the 6th child and youngest son of William Clark Anderson (born in Maryland) and Agness Grier (born in Pennsylvania). John was born in Belmont County, Ohio, along with his siblings. In 1850, he was living with his wife, Sarah Jellison, and two children in Vinton, County, Ohio.
Either just before he left for California in 1851, or after his return in 1853, the family joined the rest of the Anderson clan in Blackford County, Indiana. John and Sarah had eight children. After Sarah died in 1864, John married Devaner Hunt. They had no children together. The names of John’s children are: Sophia Agnes, James Grafton, Lydia Elizabeth, Mary Jane, Augustus, John K., Henry C. D., and William C.
John K. Anderson grave in Trenton South Cemetery, Trenton, Indiana (2017)
Jacob Liestenfeltz (1824 – 1906)
Jacob was born in Germany, the oldest child of Conrad Lichtenfels and Susanna Bittman. The family emigrated in 1828, settling first in New Jersey, then in Warren County, Ohio. They moved to Blackford County, Indiana, in 1836 and 1837. Jacob’s siblings that survived to adulthood are: Daniel, Peter N., Catherine, and Conrad. Peter N. went with Jacob to California.
They stayed out west until April 1854, then returned to Blackford County to marry, farm, and raise their families. Jacob was married twice, first to Lucinda Duffy. They had three children: Peter N., Amanda E., and Susan. Lucinda died in 1860 and Jacob married Nancy Ann Bell. They had nine children together: Robert, Sarah Catherine, Elizabeth Jennie, Daniel, Violet Ann, Arthur M., James M., Isaac Madson, and Viola Leona.
Jacob and Nancy Liestenfeltz grave in Maple Lawn Cemetery, Pennville, Indiana (2017)
If you are descended from one of these families with a connection to eastern Indiana, or know someone who is, please get in touch with me!