Whew, that’s a lot of last names!!!

My great-great grandmother is somewhat of a mystery to me.

She must either have been quite the character, or else quite the mess.  I can’t decide which.

She moved around and married so many times that I don’t know what to think. I still have a lot of research that needs to be done, but I’m hoping that by putting it out here, some light bulb will go off and I’ll know where I should search next.  Or better yet, maybe another researcher with some of the info I need will find me!

Here is a rundown of what I do know:

April 1880 She is born in Deloit, Crawford county, IA to Solomon Hattery (Sr.) and Martha Jane Mowery.  She has 5 older siblings and possibly 2 step-siblings from her mother’s first marriage, although I don’t have any proof that they ever lived with or near her.

June 1880 Here is her family in the 1880 census, living at Deloit, Crawford county, IA.
1) Solomon Hattry, white, male, age 29, married, laborer, born in OH
2) Martha J, white, female, age 37, wife, married, keeping house, born in IL, father born in PA, mother born in IL
3) Solomon M, white, male, age 7, son, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in IL
4) Minnie B, white, female, age 5, daughter, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in IL
5) Anna D, white, female, age 3, daughter, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in IL
6) James D, white, male, age 3, son, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in IL
7) Elias, white, male, age 1, son, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in iL
8) Ella J, white, female, age 2 months, born in March, daughter, born in IA, father born in OH, mother born in IL

1895 She is living with her mother in Vail, Crawford county, IA. Her parents were divorced.
1. Martha J. Haltery, age 53, born in Penna, white, Crawford, Vail
2. Elias Haltery, age 16, born in Crawford Co, IA, white, Crawford, Vail
3. Ella Haltery, age 15, born in Crawford Co, IA, white, Crawford, Vail
4. Lily Haltery, age 6, born in Crawford Co, IA, white, Crawford, Vail

23 Sep 1896 She is married to John Edwards in Denison, Crawford, IA.

June 1897 Her first child, Alma, is born in Denison, Crawford, IA.

28 Sep 1898 Her second child (my great-grandfather) Alfred Leroy is born in Vail, Crawford, IA.

5 June 1900. She is living in Herdland Twp, Clay county, IA with her husband John Edwards and their children.
1) John Edwards, head, white, male, June 1876, age 23, married for 4 years, born in IA, father born in Canada, mother born in MI, day laborer, unemployed 3 months, can read, write, and speak English
2) Ella Edwards, wife, white, female, April 1880, age 20, married 4 years, 2 of 2 children living, born in IA, father born in IL, mother born in OH
3) Alma Edwards, daughter, white, female, June 1897, age 2, single, born in IA, parents born in IA
4) Alfred Edwards, son, white, male, Sep 1898, age 1, single, born in IA, parents born in IA

22 Nov 1900 A son, Elton Elias is born. (He later changes his name to Mike Roberts, and says that his father was in fact a man named Perry Roberts.  When you read the divorce papers below, you will realize that is very possible).

31 Oct 1902 A daughter, May is born.

8 May 1903 John Edwards files for divorce.
Petition in Equity, April Term 1903.
John Edwards Jr. plaintiff
Ella Edwards defendant

Petition in Equity.
Count One.
Plaintiff for cause of action states that he is now and for many years past has been a good faith resident of Crawford County Iowa.
Count Two.
That he married this defendant at Denison Iowa on the 23 day of Sept. 1896.
Count Three.
That from said marriage there was born four children viz: Alma aged 5 years past, Alfred aged 4 years past, Elias aged 2 years past and May born October 31, 1902.
Count Four.
That all of said children are now in the custody of this plaintiff.
Count Five.
That the plaintiff has at all times conducted himself towards the defendant as a loving and affectionate husband.
Count Six.
That the defendant disregarding her duty towards her husband has at various times since their marriage been guilty of and committed the crime of adultery in Crawford and Harrison Counties Iowa.
Count Seven.
That the defendant is not a fit person to care for or attend to the wants of said minor children nor is she able.

Wherefore the plaintiff prays that he may be divorced from the bonds of matrimony heretofore existing between him and the defendant and that he may be awarded the care and custody of the children and such other and farther relief as may be equitable and just in the premises
John Edwards Jr. [signed]

(He was awarded custody of the 4 children.)

1903-1905 She must have married Dave Rickman sometime during this period.

1905. She is in the Iowa State Census in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, IA.
1. Dave Rickman, 1312 W. Bway
2. Ella Rickman, 1312 W Bway

16 March 1907. She is mentioned in a newspaper article in the Clinton Mirror.
Solomon M. Hattery was struck by an Illinois Central train as he was walking on the track near the business section of Council Bluffs and injured so badly that he may not recover. Hattery lives with a sister, Mrs. Rickman. Hattery is at a hospital suffering intensely and is unconscious.

Abt. 1909. A son, Merle Rickman is born

26 April 1910 She is living in Chadron, Dawes, Nebraska – and she is divorced.
They were living on Egan Street.
1. John D. Knight, head, m, w, 37, M1 15 yrs, born in IA, parents born in IA?, speaks English, switchman for the RR, not out of work, out of work 4 weeks in 1929, reads and writes, rents a home
2. Emma Knight, wife, f, w, 36, M1 15 yrs, 5 of 5 children living, born in SD, parents born in Germany, speaks English, no occupation, reads nad writes
3. Charlie…
4. Cecil…
5. John…
6. Theodore…
7. Helen…
8. Ella Rickman, rooming, female, white, 29, divorced, 5 of 5 children living, born in IA, parents born in IA, speaks English, does housework, is out of work, was not out of work in 1929, reads and writes
9. Merle Rickman, rommer, male, white, age 1, single, born in IA, parents born in IA

17 Feb 1912. She marries B.F. Proffitt in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, IA.

19 Jan 1914. She marries William E. Kryselmier in Mills county, IA.

6 Jan 1920. She is living with her daughter May and her family. Her son Merle is living with her. She is still listed as married.
1) Robert L. Johnson, head, renting, male, white, age 21, married, reads and writes, born in IA, parents born in U.S., speaks English, Laborer for RR Co., wage worker
2) May R., wife, female, white, age 17, married, reads and writes, born in IA, parents born in IA, speaks English, no occupation
3) Ella J. Kryselmeier, mother-in-law, female, white, age 39, married, reads and writes, born in IA, father born in IL, mother born in OH, speaks English, housekeeper in private home, wage worker
4) Merle E. Kryselmier, brother-in-law, male, white, age 10, single, attended school, reads and writes, born in IA, father born in U.S., mother born in Iowa, speaks English, no occupation

1 Jan 1925. Iowa State Census. She is living in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie, IA as a boarder. She is widowed and her son Merle is not living with her. He would have been about 15. What happened to him?
1) Charley H. Jaques, head, male, white, age 55, married, owned home, mortgaged, value of home $1000, $200 mortgaged, $400 insurance carried on home, attended grade school, completed 6th grade, reads and writes, born in IA, father Thomas V. Zaques, born in France, mother unknown, born in Ireland, married in England
2) Jane N. Jaques, wife, female, white, age 54, married, attended grade school, completed 6th grade, reads and writes, born in IA, father Frank C. Russel, born in MA, mother Mary Mitchell, born in NY, married in Chicago, Illinois
3) Ella J. Kryselmier, boarder, female, white, age 45, widowed, attended grade school, completed 8th grade, reads and writes, born in IA, father Solomon Hattery, born in IL, mother Martha J. Mowery, born in Illinois, married in Clinton, Ohio

After 1925, I’m not sure what happened to her.  Did she marry again?  Did she stay in Council Bluffs?

I have a lot more research work to be done on her so that I can fill in some of the blanks on the rest of her very interesting life…

  • Jo - November 22, 2010 - 5:30 am

    That’s a complicated story, Jen! Hope someone researching the same family comes forward to help you with some answers on Ella.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - November 22, 2010 - 12:26 pm

    Great start on researching a challenging ancestor. Keeping an open mind is the only way to go. We can’t afford to be judgmental in the research process. It’s too easy to be blinded by assumptions. Good luck moving forward.ReplyCancel

  • Jen - November 22, 2010 - 12:33 pm

    Thank you both for your encouragement. You are right Susan about keeping an open mind!ReplyCancel

  • Carllee - December 20, 2010 - 11:27 am


    Hi this is Carllee Roberts, Elton Edwards (Mike Roberts) great granddaughter, looks like you have been busy with this research. I never knew they had a half brother. Thank you for all you have done on this. I have some pictures I can scan to you of Mike if you would like.

    Thank you for all you work.


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Alphonse Thornton was my great-grandfather.  I never met him, because he died when my father was still a small boy.  Here is his obituary, as posted in a local Sioux City, IA newspaper on 27 Apr 1959 :

Alphonse J. Thornton
Funeral services for Alphonse J. Thornton, 68, 712 W. Fifth street, who died Saturday night after suffering a heart attack at the Hollywood theater where he was a doorman, will be at 10:30 am. Tuesday at St.  Boniface Catholic church.  Rev. Ralph Scherrer will officiate.  Burial will be in Calvary cemetery.
Pallbearers will be Harry Robinson, Albert Mullen, Elmer Watkins, Eugene Thompson, Howard Hanneman and Richard Evens.
The rosary will be recited at 8 o’clock tonight at the Larkin funeral home.
Mr. Thornton was dead on arrival at a hospital to which he was taken by a fire department inhalator squad.
He was born September 4, 1889, at Hubbard, Neb.  He came to Sioux City in 1908.  He married Mary Robinson November 24, 1915, in Sioux City.  They moved to Westfield, Ia., returning to Sioux City in 1938.
He was employed by Swift & Co. for 12 years, retiring 4 years ago.
Survivors include the widow; four sons, Bonnie and Charles of Rock Island, Ill., A.J. Jr., of Sioux City and James of Silver Springs, Md.; two daughters, Miss Darlene Thornton of Sioux City and Miss Jean Thornton of San Francisco; 12 grandchildren; two brothers, Clarence of Sioux City and Edward of Des Moines and two sisters, Mrs. Marie McHale of Portland, Ore., and Mrs. Irene Bowen of Thurman, Ia.

  • Kellie - November 21, 2010 - 2:51 pm

    There is something so nice about old obituaries. Once you get past the fact that it’s about someone who died – there is so much more information than is given out now. Exact cause of death, pallbearers and detailed funeral information – it makes it so much more personal than the obits of today.ReplyCancel

  • Bill Thornton - May 21, 2013 - 12:18 pm

    I remember the funeral service. I was very fond of my Grandfather. I was 6 years old and did not understand death. When I saw my Grandfather lying in the casket I ran up to him pleading for him to wake up. Well, that didn’t go over very well. Soon the whole family was crying including me.ReplyCancel

  • Lon E. Thrall - May 22, 2013 - 1:05 am

    Thanks for sharing brother.ReplyCancel

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Since I’m glued to the computer this afternoon, scanning in tons of old photos and documents, I thought that I might as well multitask and join in the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun over at Genea-Musings.:)

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Make a list of Genealogy-oriented people or things that you are thankful for.  Any number — 1, 10, 100, whatever.

2)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment on this post, or in a Facebook comment or Note.

What am I thankful for?

  1. All of the wonderful old photos my mother gave me – which I’m currently scanning.
  2. My subscription to Ancestry.com and the seemingly endless amount of records they are constantly adding.  I find something new every time I look!
  3. My wonderful husband who puts up with spending our vacation in cemeteries and courthouses across the country.
  4. Great genes.:)
  5. Being able to attend the Atlanta Family History Expo last weekend.
  6. That next year’s NGS conference is only 2 hours from my house!
  7. That I started my genealogical journey early in life.  I was only 23 when I began 11 years ago.
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It’s always nice to get “real” mail these days. Most of what I get is junk – what a waste!

I was pleasantly surprised to have this waiting for me when I got back from the Atlanta Family History Expo.

One step closer to DAR Membership….

  • Cherie Cayemberg - November 20, 2010 - 3:35 pm

    Date of birth 1918. What a year that was! How blessed to have survived the pandemic!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - November 20, 2010 - 4:52 pm

    I never thought of that Cherie!ReplyCancel

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My good friend, Cherie Cayemberg, has just recently started her new genealogy blog – entitled Have You Seen My Roots? I encourage you to head over there and welcome her to the geneablogging community.

Cherie and I have known each other for quite some time now – longer than I’d like to admit.:)  We served in the military together and she was later a Drill Sergeant with my husband.  She is a wonderful mom and a very talented genealogist.  She is on the road to becoming a professional.  I am excited about following her through her journey, so that I can learn from her.  I’m waiting for her to blaze the trail for me.:)

Here is the “about me” blurb from her blog:

After years of talking about becoming a professional genealogist, my loving husband told me to just do it. So instead of talking about it, I’m currently journeying down the path to accreditation (or at least that’s the goal). There are many things that will be thrown in my way, from PTA and Cub Scout meetings, mommy-ing, and (naturally) the challenge of actually preparing for and passing the accreditation! This is my journey. Presented honestly, and hopefully, without offending…”

  • Cherie Cayemberg - November 19, 2010 - 12:43 pm

    You’re a sweetheart! :)ReplyCancel

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