The Successful Farmer

Week 42: #52 Ancestors – Proud By Eilene Lyon The prompt brought this photo to mind almost immediately, though it seems an odd choice. No one looks particularly happy in this image of the Halse family taken about 1912 in Codington County, South Dakota. Back row: Inez, Everett (my grandfather), Hazel, Howard, LloydFront row: Mabel,... Continue Reading →

The Cutting School

Week 37: #52 Ancestors – Back to School By Eilene Lyon Today, schools are frequently named for presidents, famous politicians or war heroes (more often than not men). Back in frontier days, naming a school was often a prosaic affair – if you built a schoolhouse on your property, it generally became known after you.... Continue Reading →

They Peel Right Merrily

Week 23: #52 Ancestors – Wedding By Eilene Lyon Ogden and Mary (Kew) Casterton of England immigrated in 1852, shortly after their marriage. They settled for four years in Illinois, then permanently relocated to Winneshiek County, Iowa, in 1856. In their long marriage, they produced a robust family of ten children. The Casterton holdings grew... Continue Reading →

Mea Culpa

Week 22: #52 Ancestors – Uncertain By Eilene Lyon After I posted my story about Nancy Self, I realized I made a series of errors. It happens when we make assumptions. Nancy’s obituaries stated that of her twelve children, five had died in infancy. But my tree had eight adult children. Um, basic arithmetic says... Continue Reading →

Not A Centenarian

Week 21: #52 Ancestors – Tombstone By Eilene Lyon Nancy (Ary) Self’s tombstone looks rather ordinary, except that it seems to indicate that she lived to a remarkable age: 105. It isn’t true, but according to her obituary she outlived all twelve of her children, so that makes it pretty easy to claim you’ve reached... Continue Reading →

Lone Star

Week 45: #52 Ancestors – Rich Man By Eilene Lyon This really isn’t about a rich man, or even a poor one, or actually, even about a man, though it starts out with one. Robert J. Halse was born in Highland Township, Winneshiek County, Iowa, in 1860.1 Along with most of his family, he relocated... Continue Reading →

One Stayed Home

Week 32: #52 Ancestors – Sister By Eilene Lyon My great-great-grandfather Richard D. Halse had two sisters, one older and one younger. Richard, his widowed mother, and all his siblings moved from Iowa to Dakota Territory around 1880, except for the younger sister. Her name was Elizabeth Sorby Halse and she married a couple years... Continue Reading →

Drake Family Chronicles: Part 3

Week 16: #52 Ancestors - Out of Place Drake Family Chronicles: Part 1 Drake Family Chronicles: Part 2 By Eilene Lyon The Iowa Delegation Samuel Drake, Jr. clearly saw land as the key to achieving the American dream. The patents he purchased in Highland Township, Winneshiek County, totaled 320 acres.1 The rolling, forested terrain had... Continue Reading →

Drake Family Chronicles

Week 14: #52 Ancestors – Brick Wall By Eilene Lyon Background For this project, I decided to write about my 4th great-grandparents, Samuel and Eliza Drake of Killyleagh, County Down, Northern Ireland. It turned mammoth, so I’ve split it into three parts. I long ago determined that these are the parents of Eliza Jane Halse... Continue Reading →

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