Leverenz Family

Portland, Oregon

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Family Ancestry & Genealogy
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Family Memorial Pages
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Rick Leverenz Memorial Website

Family photos are no longer just in a shoebox or a family album under the coffee table. Family photos are everywhere - in your iPhone, on your computer, posted to social networking sites like Instagram, Facebook or Flickr. It seems difficult to keep tabs on where all our images are going.

Three Generations of Pioneer Women

Three Generations of Pioneer Women

Recently, my 2nd cousin Donna Williams Cooley, sent me photos of my 4th great grandmother, 3rd great grandmother and 2nd great grandmother. 

Harriet Wheeler BentleyHarriet Wheeler, my 4th great grandmother, was born in Constantia Township, Oswego, New York. According to some sources, she was born on on St Partick's Day, 1799. At 19 years old, she married Gideon Bentley. The young couple lived in for a time in New York, Kentucky, Ohio and finally settled around 1835 in Pike County, Illinois. When they first moved to Pike County, land was only $1.25 per acre.  There we no railroads, no stores, no churches, no schools, no roads to speak of other than those that were made as people traveled from one farm to another. They would have lived in a small log cabin, living off wild game, corn bread, honey and whatever vegetables they could grow. Transportation was hoseback and ox wagon. They were truly "Prairie Pioneers".

The Bentley's had 11 children five sons and six daughters. Their third child was a daughter, they named Harriet Esther my 3rd great grandmother, born in 1824 while the Bentley's we still living in New York.

Harriet Esther Bentley LoveHarriet grew to womanhood in Pike County, and in 1843, married  William Henry Love,  the oldest son of another local farmer, Irish immigrant Samuel Love.  William and Harriet had eight children, all raised in Pike County. They maintained their farm throughout their 40+ years of marriage. Harriet died in 1885 and William passed away in 1899. 

The Love's oldest daughter, Frances Cornelia Love, my 2nd great grandmother, was born in 1845 at the family farm in Barry Township, Pike County. Frances married Joseph Benton Williams in 1870, when Frances was 25 years old and Joe was 30. The Williams family had settled about 20 miles East in Scott County, Illinois, the next county over.

Frances Cornelia Love WilliamsSoon after their marriage, Frances and Joe moved west about 300 miles to Dallas County, Iowa and farmed. Their first son, Leander, was born there, but by 1873, they moved to a new farm in Sedwick, Cowley County, Kansas, and there two more sons, William and Charles (my great grandfather). By 1877 they were back in Iowa, this time moving to De Soto County. There they had their other three children, Harriet "Hattie", Loretta "Etta" and Lewis.

Frances and "Old Joe" as he was known, stayed in the De Soto area, eventually retired from the farm and moved into town. Joe passed away in 1919 and Frances in her later years, lived with her daughter Hattie Williams Sutherland and her family. She died in 1931. Both she and Joe buried in the Oakland Cemetery in De Soto.




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19 Ancestors That Gave Us Independence

19 Ancestors That Gave Us Independence

Since it's Independence Day, I thought I'd share my family research finds from [FamilySearch.org], which is owned and maintained by the LDS Church. They have a web service called "Relationship Finder" and I've been able to link our family line some of the brave individuals that signed the Declaration of Independence.

Our family is related to 19 (one-third) of the 56 individuals that signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776.

The chart below indicates the name of the signer who is our relative and then shows our (my) actual relationship to that person. Your’s may vary, depending on our relationship. Then, the the next column indicates the colony they represent. Many were actually born in other states or countries. The last two columns show the immediate family line connection, so with Gilbert, it's Jeanne's (the maternal) side of the family Jeanne's side and the with Williams, it's Lew's (the paternal) side of the family, by way my grandmother, Hazel.






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Remembering Our Family Veterans: The War of 1812

Remembering Our Family Veterans: The War of 1812

Our 5th Great Grandfather, Richard Samuel Wood was a veteran of the War of 1812, fighting against the British and their Native American allies in the Battle of the Thames in 1813. He was mustered on August 30th, 1813 at Newport, Kentucky and served in Captain Mason Singleton's Company, Colonel George Trotter's First Regiment from Kentucky.

For those of you who need a refresher on the War of 1812, The Battle of the Thames occured when British troops had occupied Detroit until the US Navy gained control of Lake Erie, leaving them without supplies. The British and their Native American allies, The Shawnee, were forced to retreat north, up the Thames River to Moraviantown. The American forces, under the command of William Henry Harrison (our future president), drove off the British and defeated the Shawnee, which in the ensuing battle their leader, Tecumseh, was killed.

Richard Wood was born in 1781 in Amherst County, Virginia where he grew up on the banks of the James River. It was here that Richard met and married 5th Great Grandmother, Celia Gregory in 1803. 

In 1800 there were only two states west of the Appalachians — Kentucky and Tennessee. Early starters in the The Great MIgration west, in 1806, Richard and Celia moved to Prestonville, Gallatin County, Kentucky located on the south bank of the Ohio River. Here they farmed and had ten children, including our 4th great grandmother, Sarah who was born in 1808. (Sarah went on to marry Matthias Williams)

In 1818, the moved once again westward to what was then the American Frontier Ridge Prairie, Madison County, Illinois, just NE of St Louis. Soon after the move, three of their children, Martha, Elizabeth and Richard all died from billious fever. Then, in November of 1819, Celia also died of billious fever, leaving Richard with 7 children to raise.  Sarah, was just 11 years old at the time. 

In the 1820 Federal Census, Richard Wood, now a widower, was living in Ridge Prairie, Madison County, Illinos, located just NE of St Louis. He was living between Isaac Conley and the widow of his brother Rev. John Conley, Hester "Hessie" Conley. 

The following year, on January 1, 1821, widower Richard married his widowed next door neighbor, Hessie Conley.

In March 1826, Richard and Hessie moved about 80 miles  south, to Morgan County, Illinois in March, 1826.  Here, they raised their families over the next 40 years, where his 2nd wife, Hessie, died in September, 1861. Our War of 1812 veteran, Richard Wood, died June 20th, 1865, at the age of 84. 

Morgan County, Illinois


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