08 August 2009

More grave markers

A few weeks ago I stumbled across the Find a Grave web site. I spent some time searching for various family names and was surprised that my search for "Strayer" turned up my great-great-grandfather and grandmother. Abraham STRAYER and his wife Harriet Alice (HOWARD) STRAYER are buried side by side in Chippiannock Cemetery, Rock Island, IL. Buried nearby is their son, John Howard STRAYER.

When my brother Ross was visiting from Texas last May, I considered having us spend a day in the Quad Cities trying to locate family graves. Since we had no information on where exactly they were buried, it seemed like a fool's errand. Especially since the forecast called for non-stop rain. With this information, it wold have been easily done. Maybe next time.

The information and pictures at Find a Grave were posted anonomously in August 2006. The grave marker and information posted for Abraham list his birth year as 1822. I had it as 1823, but I had no source listed. The 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 US Census records are little help. Using the information from them, his birth year would be 1823, 1824, 1822 and 1822, respectively. His enlistment information in the Spring of 1862 lists his age as 39, which would make his birth year 1822. I pulled out his Civil War pension file. In a quick perusal of the 100+ pages, I could find no birth date listed. All of his given ages on various documents point to a birth year of 1822. I think I have enough evidence to justify changing the year to 1822 until I can find a Pensylvania baptism record.

The information posted for Harriet differs from mine in the death date. I had 14-Apr-1914. The poster to Find a Grave has it as 2-Apr-1914. Again a quick perusal of the Civil War pension file for her claims as a widow confirms a death date of 2-Apr. That explains why, on a recent trip to the State Archives in Des Moines, I cold not find an obituary for her in any Davenport newspaper--I was looking almost two weeks too late. I also happened to find a mention in the pension file that she had beeen buried in Chippiannock Cemetery. So, with a little research, I could have taken my brother there after all.

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