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Pandemonium rained on the night of my great-grandfather George’s murder, October 29, 1898.  People were running here and there, shouting and yelling and there was a great deal of confusion.  There were many witnesses that had their own take on the actual happenings of the event.

In my last post I wrote a possible scenario of what may have happened that night taken from these eye-witness accounts.

Cowardly Murder

Someone had been standing out in front of the Barclay Hotel in the dark with a gun and aimed through the window.  The bullet went through the front window of the hotel and through George Barclay’s neck and into the post behind/or near him.  Nothing could have been done for him even though they tried to wire for medical aid which would come by train from Brainerd to Pine River.  He was gone!

Whatever aspirations that George had left to realize, they would not happen now and he would not be there for the births of his grandchildren.

Some people have been a little mean and unfeeling about George’s death.  He did have a married daughter, Grace, and she would have children. George’s grandchildren were my dad’s family and from them would come great-grandchildren.  Yes, descendants are living today of this man George Angus Barclay and his wife Amarilla.

My family knew of the murder of George but there was not much detail about the events of that night and what happened after. All we knew was that he was murdered and he “yelled a lot,” and may have had enemies?

The notes of my Aunt Miriam did little to explain the murder. She has the 28th not the 29th.

George's Death

Upon finding the court documents in 2001 and reading them, I will have to say that it was indeed emotional.  The murder was 103 years old back in 2001 when I read about it.  Here I was grieving over the rather sad way that my great grandpa died.

I have studied and read every line of the court documents looking for clues.  Frankly, I was surprised to find anything in the court records on this event.  After looking at the court documents that have survived, I feel a lot of documentation is missing and possibly removed from the files, which is probably not surprising, after all it was at that time 103 years old.

It would be difficult to solve this murder, why.

1.  The crime scene is gone:  The Barclay hotel burned in 1915 (a subject for a future post).  I have not been able to find any blue prints for the hotel which could be of help by telling us where things were inside.

2.  Evidence is long since gone.  The bullet was dug out of the post and removed by Deputy Sheriff Frank Breese with permission from the court.  It was examined and weighed.  What happened to it and where it has gone is unknown.   How long does a county keep evidence?

3.  Witnesses and suspects are gone:  Those individuals present at the scene of the crime are long since dead.  So witnesses and suspects who one would talk too are gone.

4. George himself has been gone a very long time and the condition of his body would be unknown.

5.  The only items left are the court records which to me are not complete and newspaper accounts.

It has long been a dream of mine to hire a forensic expert or CSI but it might be a little expensive.  Just having them review what information I have collected might be of great interest.  I was hoping Cold Justice the TV show would take it on but after having watched their first season I have learned that it is very difficult to work a case that is 25-30 years old because the evidence is lost imagine a hundred years ago. The Cold Justice website would only accept cases referred to them by a law enforcement officer.  I can just imagine the laughter from the county police regarding this 115 year old murder (2013) when they have more urgent cases to solve.

I know, I am dreamer or either I have watched too many crime shows. HA!

Oh, this murder case may be 115 years old but it is still an open case but inactive for there is no statute of limitations on murder in the USA.

 http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_statute_of_limitation_on_murder_in_the_US_and_other_countries

So what did happen that night of October 29, 1898. Well, let’s start with a few newspaper accounts.

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A very kind individual sent me an article about George Barclay and Pine River taken from a journal written in 1897 and revisited  in the April/May 2005 issue of the MuskyHunter.com magazine.  George’s grandson, Keith, liked to fish and taught me how.

An article featuring Barclay's in Pine River in July of 1897...

An article featuring Barclay’s in Pine River in July of 1897…

…at 3:30 started on the Brainerd & Northern Minnesota R.R. for Pine River Station.  A logging train off the track ahead of us delayed us somewhat, and we did not reach Pine River until about 7 o’clock, too late to depart for Kabekona Camp that night.  We found Pine River a typical backwoods railroad station.  There are two houses in the town; one a log cabin, the other a hotel, saloon and general store combined.  Barclay, the owner of the hotel, does quite an extensive teaming business for the logging caps in the surrounding country, and, being a Down East Yankee, seems quite prosperous.  Around the saloon door was gathered a miscellaneous crowd of about a dozen lumber cruisers, loggers, Indians and teamsters, nearly all drunk or willing to become so.  After attending to our luggage and making arrangements for an early morning start for Kabekona we retired to our beds which we found clean  and comfortable enough. Tuesday morning dawned cloudy, wet and cold, but we determined to start anyway, as we had little affection for the crowd around Pine River.”

Source:  “On the Trail of the Muscallonge 19th Century Musky Hunters search for nirvana in the wilds of northern Minnesota.” Larry Ramsell, Research Editor Musky Hunter.com. April/May 2005 pg. 80 – 81. “Excerpted from the “New Muscallonge Waters,” July 10, 1897 Issue of Forest and Stream by W.P. Mussy.   This was a journal about a fishing party.

My Aunt Miriam writes in her notes regarding George:

“He had land–Pine River is on it now –ran a “stopping place” and equipped gippos. (A gippo was an independent logger.) 

Note:  Miriam misspelled the word gippos in her notes.  It is spelled “gyppo.”

 Wikipedia has a definition at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gyppo_logger

Hmmm….this description of Pine River shows that it was a pretty rough place in 1897.

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In review, Amarilla had three full siblings from the first marriage of Daniel’s.  Amarilla and Henry survived to adulthood in this family till he was killed in 1892.  Add the seven half-siblings from the 2nd marriage, minus the youngest who died. 

There was more.  Her step-mother Sarah Blacketer  was married before she married Daniel D. Spracklin  in 1863 in Iowa.  Her first husband was Charles Edward Allgood. 

Charles or perhaps he was referred to as Edward, was born on 9 June 1829 in Kentucky and it looks like he died sometime around March of 1861? I have not been able to verify it.  I did locate Sarah and Edward in the 1860 census for Iowa.  They were living in Mahaska County, Iowa.

Source:  1860 U.S. Federal Census for Edward Allgood, Mahaska County, Iowa, pg. 239, Oak Township, August 7, 1860, 1627/1709, Edward Allgood, 31 years, farmer, 310, born Kentucky, Sarah 23, housewife, born Indiana, Emily Allgood, 3 born in Indiana, Phebe D. Allgood under a year, born in Iowa

I descend from the Elizabeth (Keller) Spracklin and Daniel D. Spracklin line.  The first family.  So I really have not taken the time to study Sarah and her family origins.  There are several living descendants of Sarah and Daniel, cousins, that know a lot more and have more on this side of the family. 

What little I do know is that Sarah’s parents were James Houston Blacketer and Phoebe? 

James was born on 6 April 1801 in Virginia and died 16 May 1852 while Phoebe lived from 1801 to 1861.  He married Phoebe on 3 January 1824 in Mercer Co., Kentucky.  James may have married three times to Susanna Hamilton,  Sarah Hammer and Phoebe Romaine/Romine?  Please verify this information for I am not real comfortable with it.   I am questioning the Sarah Hammer part? 

Source:  Kentucky Marriages to 1850, Spouse: Blacketer, James married 03 Jan. 1824, to Romine, Phebe.  Blacketer, James married on 18 Nov. 1820 to, Hamilton, Sarah, Ancestry.com.  

Please note:  Ancestry compiles the information from various sources and then makes a database.  It is wise to check the details of their databases.  You can access Ancestry at your local public library free with a library card. 

I did meet a fellow researcher at the Iowa County Genealogical Society when I was in Marengo, Iowa several years back in 2003 and unfortunately I do not remember her name I was overwhelmed that day.  She was more up on the Blacketers/Blacketeers/Blackaters than I was.  It might be worth it to check with this society and see what they have in their surname files, pioneer files and obituaries and more on this family.  I was there in 2003 and my focus was the Spracklins.  They have moved their office and library from the Marengo Public Library. There is a link on the right side of this blog to this county genealogical society.  Do not confuse it with the state society which is in Des Moines and titled the Iowa Genealogical Society. 

Edward and Sarah married on 25 December 1852 in Rockville, Parke Co., Indiana. 

Source:  Marriages, 1851 to 1860, Parke County, Indiana, Compiled by Mrs. R. E. Bess Ott Swope Chairman of Genealogical records Committee, Estabrook Chaper to the DAR. Edward Allgood to Sarah Blacketer, Marriage Date:  25 Dec. 1852.  Ancestry.com.

They had 4 maybe 5 children of which only one survived. 

1.  John G. Allgood 27 March 1854 to 25 September 1855.

2.  James H. Allgood 3 Mar 1856 to 13 Mar 1856

3.  Emily Jane Allgood born 3 May 1857 in Rosehill, Mahaska Co., Iowa and died 29 October 1925 in Mahaska Co., Iowa.  She married a William M. Gilchrist 28 October 1875 in Marengo, Iowa Co., Iowa and they had 11 children.  Emily was at the funeral of her mother in 1907.  Daniel had to give his approval of Emily’s marriage.  If you see the Gilchrist name it is probably Emily.  More on this family in a later post.   Emily and William had (11) eleven children that I know of.

4.  Phoebe Delilah Allgood was born 18 Jan 1860 and died March 1861.

There might be a possibility of another child:  There is a baby buried in the Titler Cemetery, northwest of Marengo, Iowa.  The tombstone reads:  Daug. of E & S. Allgood, Died May 18, 1862, aged 2 yrs. 4 mos.  

I found this in the cemetery publications and photographs that I have featured on my BJM’s Cemetery Discoveries blog: http://bjmcemeterydiscoveries.blogspot.com/search/label/Titler%20Cemetery 

Charles Edward Allgood has been difficult to trace.  I checked the Iowa WPA Burials and there a many Allgoods in Mahaska County but I did not have enough detail to make a connection, so I do not know who Edward’s parents.  I cannot find probate/estate files in Mahaska Co. in that county.   I did find a James Algood Estate, John H. Allgood Estate and a John E. Allgood estate in the indexes for Mahaska Co., Iowa – Source Probate Records 1844-1899, Indexes 1851-1964, FHL# Probate Indexes #976783, Guardians #976791, Administrators Index 1856-1867 #975994 and Probate Records V. C-D 1860-1865 FHL#976787.  I did not make copies, these are what was in the index only.  No Charles or Edward only was appearing. 

My theory is he is buried with other Allgoods in Titler cemetery north of Marengo?  Some illness was sweeping the country in the early 1860’s and Canada, lots of people lost.  Somehow Sarah had to get from Mahaska Co. to Benton Co. by 1863 to marry Daniel.  So if the baby in the Titler is their child and it died in 1862 maybe Edward is there in Titler without a stone?   

Titler’s cemetery’s records are not in good shape except for the two publications and my photographs of the cemetery tombstones. (See BJM’s Cemetery Discovery link above.) I was informed that there was no platte map found to help identify all those buried there.  A Henry Blacketer is in the 1856 Iowa census living near Daniel and Elizabeth Spracklin in Benton County, Iowa.

I may or may not have this right but I have the following children for Sarah’s siblings it is looking like these might be all Phoebe’s children based on the marriage record I mentioned above and the Blacketer family history PDF link below:   

  1. John Blacketer b. 17 May1827,
  2. Keziah Blacketer b. 22 May 1829,
  3. Mary Blacketer b. 30 December 1831,
  4. James Blacketer b. 1 July 1833,
  5. Sarah our subject,
  6. Delilah Blacketer b. 3 May 1842,
  7. Phoebe Blacketer born 5 May 1844
  8. 1/2 brother (mother Susanna Hamilton?) Henry Baily Blacketer b. 18 Oct 1821 died about Oct. 1866 in Benton Co., Iowa and married a Mary who was born about 1822 in Tennesee.  They had Jarvis R. Blacketer b. abt. 1842 in Iowa,  Thomas I. Blacketer b. abt. 1844 Iowa and Sarah I. Blacketer b. abt. 1853 in Iowa.

I mentioned the 1856 Iowa State Census and that there were Blacketers near Daniel.  Who is this Henry Blackater?  An older sibling or some other connection to this family like the 8th child listed above? 

Source:  1856 Iowa State Census, Benton Co., Iowa

Page. 80 – House dwelling 136, family 142 – D____(Should be Daniel), Spracklin, age 36, male, married, been in Iowa one year, born in Ohio, trade is carpenter. Spracklin, Elizabeth, 25 years old, female, married, one year in Iowa, born in Ohio. Henry Spracklin, 2 years old, male, 1 years in Iowa and born in Ohio.

Page 78 House 136, family 160 – Henry Blackater, 36 yrs old, Male, married, born in Kentucky, 3 yrs in Iowa, farmer, native, may have done military service. Mary Blackater, age 34, female, married, resident in Iowa 3 yrs., born in Tennessee. James R. Blackater, 14 yrs old, male, 3 yrs in Iowa and born in Indiana. Thomas I (J) Blackater 12 years old, 3 yrs. in Iowa and born in Indiana. Sarah Blackater is 3 yrs old, 3 yrs in Iowa and born in Indiana. Susan Woods 14 yrs old living with them and in Iowa 7 yrs., born in Ohio.

Another source is the Ancestor Outline done by Arminda Spracklin, wife of Charles Edward Spracklin, 1/2 sibling to Amarilla. This was given to me by my Aunt Miriam McDonald, sister to my father Keith. 

Page 3 Allgoods

I featured the 3 pages on my blog:  Solomon Goss of Fearing Township in Ohio at this link:  http://sgossfamily.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/ancestor-outline-by-armindo-spracklin/

I did find an estate or rather a guardianship for a Henry Blacketer in Iowa County!  I think this is the older brother.

Henry Blacketer Estate, Iowa Co., Iowa

 
 

Henry Blacketer Estate page 2

 
 
Source:  Probate File #2865 of Henry Blacketer, June 3, 1865, FHL#988212, Index Vol., 3, pgs. 39, 201 and 257 FHL#988213, Iowa County, Iowa.  As you can see if is more like a guardianship.  I do not know who Polly Gripe is?
 
Below is a PDF is a family outline by Lydia Marie Spracklin Ross, one of Amarilla’s half-siblings.
 
 
The information I have provided most definitely needs to be verified with original records like marriage, death and more.  I wish there was more time and money but I have to decide, like we all do, where my priorities lie.  I present this here in hopes that it might help someone else and if I do have things mixed up by all means please leave a comment or contact me through the Compiler page at the top. 
 
 

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My Aunt Miriam had a letter in her possession which was in rather rough condition.  As I read this letter I realized that it was written by my great great grandmother Elizabeth (Keller) Spracklin.  I then turned it over and to my surprise there was another letter written by Daniel D. Spracklin to home.  

I do not know if this letter was ever sent and how it got into my Aunt’s possession?  I have very few personal items from my family so this was amazing to hold in my hands.

Please note that for safe keeping the letter was separated gently. It was actually 2 pages connected together. There are two letters and they filled up both sides of the paper.  On one side was a letter from Daniel and then on the other side was a letter from Elizabeth. 

I share these letters here because they are so precious and need to be seen by others who are members of the Spracklin and Keller families.

Someone put tape in the center to hold it together.  This is a very bad thing to do.  Cellophane tape is corrosive.  This has obscured and made it difficult to figure out what was written where the tape covers.  Several cousins have tried to help interpret the letters.    

In transcribing the letter I tried to follow their use of English and their spelling.  The following is the best effort of myself and several cousins’ who I sent the letter to.  Scroll below for a copy of the actual letters.

First is Elizabeth’s letter:

January the 7: Dear Sister I take my pen in hand won (se) more tu let you now that we are all well tu day and du hope these few lines may find you tugging the same blaessing you would then that I was well if you guest seen what I had dun tu day I have washed and chicend and I scronbd and backed I hav good helth this winter we had a vary pleasnt winter her we have (covered by tape and cannot read) ___________________________of Caroline getting married yet I hope She has got a compain that they can liv hapy I wish them good luck and mutch happiness now Ammarila burrow for the bard I wonder in my giserd if you are ajonta futufabar and cum out tu Iowa or will you bee like the rest Can’t beeve many yet or will you squatt down on daddy back plase I am a bout tu think that you are all agon to stay there tu get har and I would like tu be thare wih you and hav a good visit witch snow I could if I was thre I would like tu curn home with my little Henrey and Mary and see you all and cum back home again tu Iowa I would mutch rnther liv in Iowa then in Ohio but I would like tu hav you all cum out here and live I know that you could make alivin easer then you can thare Mary can run and play out adores with Henry they hav grate times She can say mama and build and pah a good many things Pare & Son _____she looks like vina little girl (tape has stained the page and can’t read the works) ______________________________bin inviting I hav knit mine lace of ____for tu Sell igot a half a dolar a pare I have got dun purty nice a knity and then ma I peese ____ quiltg if I can I must beve sum came for ___tu rite sum I wish you would rite oftener and tell mother tu rite and Caroline I Should like tu here a word from hur giv my lov tu all my brotherss and Sisters and pap and mother and Susn your self tell Peter that I an see him ___ but not ___ He could not have sent me eny thing that I like tu see so well E.S A E.

Daniel’s letter:

January 18, 1858: Good morning it is a rany morning We are all well and I hope that you are all well Well paw I reckon that you are most redy to sell out and leave them Clay nobs and Come whare land is rich and easy tended it and more than a bout half the work to tend a crot here that it is their and more sure Just come out here and see for your self and not always set to home and study about it times is dull here at present evry thind is low that the farmer has to sel for their not mutch money ___ it been failed last year (tape has been added and it has made it difficult to read the lines) __________________________________________________________________then to help it on money went down so that it makes money maters purty Clost but times is a mending a liddle we have had the best winter weather that I ever saw – turn over to the other side.

Well Peter ireckon you have a good crop this year and are a getting ritch so fast that you hurt me to think of land or my th___ a but coming to see us ______ the and com on iron hos.

 This winter it has bin dry and stil and cumfer table for a bout a six weeks Well Peter you talk a bout going to Mishigan well if I nowed what I new now and had a farm in Mishigan or any other timber and had to go and blear it up or had my Chois to go to a (pracr) cuntry with out eny thing I would to the prar cuntry and I firmley be lieve that I would have an improved farm in the firesir first noro that is just good sens and you would think (tape has been put on this letter and it has obscured the writing) ___ if you ______but ______ well _______________________get___________________tell Caroline ___with her and ________nan match say and give my love to all the folks and tell them to come out and se us no more room goodbye. D.D. Spracklin.

 (There are some fancy swirls and marks indicating something was attached and on the left is written)

 This is some of lury f hare Henery says he don’t wont’ enough tu send his ha___ of

 (On the right side of the letter is written)

 This is sum of Mary 3en hare

==========================================================================

The photocopy of the actual letter is in two parts.  If you laid them out on a table they would be side-by-side and writing would have been on both sides.  Click on the image and it will open into another window.  To get back to this post click your back button. 

Elizabeth's Letter 1858

 

Elizabeth continues 1858

  

Daniel Writes 1858

Daniel's Letter 1858

Daniel's continues 1858

 

+++++++

Source:  Letter by Elizabeth and Daniel Spracklin dated January 1858.  This letter was in the possession of their great grand-daughter Miriam McDonald but is now in the possession, as of 2008, of their great great grand-daughter and compiler of this blog.

Some comments: 

Elizabeth wishes her sister Caroline happiness.  Caroline married Joseph Van Houten in 1857.  I visited the Van Houten graves in Ohio in August of 2011.  I knew that they had migrated to Hardin County, Ohio so I made it a point to seek out their place of burial.  They are buried in the Dunkirk Cemetery north of Kenton, Hardin County, Ohio.   The Ammarilla mentioned in the letter is another of Elizabeth’s sisters.   

Daniel refers to a Peter.  I believe it is his older brother he is addressing and not his grandfather Peter who died in 1845? 

If you are wondering where the locks of hair of the two children are, well, they were not attached to the letter and nowhere to be found in the papers that were given to me back in 2008 by a family member.

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The partition deed of John and Mary Keller’s land featured in the post dated October 8, 2011 “Partition Deed:  Morrow County, Ohio 1884,” connects Amarilla to the Keller family. 

To understand Amarilla you have to understand that she was part of a very large family, actually two, as well as extended families of Keller and Spracklin.  Her father Daniel D. Spracklin married twice as I have indicated in past posts.  So Amarilla had full and half siblings.  

Daniel marries Elizabeth 1852

Daniel’s married first to Elizabeth Keller and they married in Morrow County, Ohio on the 28 December 1852 (another source as their marriage 1 Jan 1853).

By 1856 they had migrated to Benton County, Iowa and settled there.  Sadly Elizabeth Keller died the 10th of March 1859 just months after she gave birth to Amarilla.  Amarilla never knew her mother having been born the 18th of November 1858.  She was just a baby!  This marks the first tragedy that my great-grandmother Amarilla experiences in her life. 

Elizabeth, Oliver and Mary's Tombstone, Titler Cemetery, Iowa

Let me describe Daniel and Elizabeth’s family of which they had four (4) children.  Only 2 survived to adulthood, Henry and Amarilla:

1.  Henry Franklin Spracklin b. 13 September 1853 probably in Toledo, Ohio as his parents began their journey to Iowa.   He married Elizabeth Downey 16 November 1875 in Keokuk County, Iowa.  He died 22 June 1893 in Davenport, Iowa in a lumber mill accident leaving 9/11 children.  He was listed as a grantor in the partition deed along with his sister Amarilla Barkley.  It placed Henry in Muscatine County, Iowa in 1884. 

2.  Oliver Solomon Spracklin b. 18 October 1854 based on the U.S. census.  He was probably born in Iowa.  He died 10 September 1855. He is buried in Titler Cemetery northwest of Marengo, Iowa with his sister Mary and mother.

Oliver's separate stone!

3.  Mary Ellen Spracklin born 17 August 1856 in Iowa and died 27 September 1861 in Iowa.  Mary is also buried in Titler Cemetery with her brother Oliver and mother Elizabeth. 

Mary's inscription on the main tombstone

4.  Amarilla Grace Spracklin was born 17 November 1858 in Benton Co., Iowa and died in Pine River, Cass County, Minnesota 10 August 1942 under the married name of Urton.  She is buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in Brainerd, Minnesota near her first husband George Angus Barclay. 

My Aunt Miriam had in her possession a letter written by Elizabeth on one side and on the other a letter written by Daniel dated January of 1858.  I will share that with you in the next post for it further connects Amarilla to the Keller family. 

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Sources

Ancestor Outline by Armindo Spracklin featured in the posted dated August 5, 2011 “Ancestor Outline by Armindo Spracklin,” on my other blog:  Solomon Goss of Fearing Township in Ohio.  This outline was given to me by my Aunt Miriam. Armindo was the wife of Charles Edward Spracklin, one of Amarilla’s 1/2 brothers.

Family History Notes of Miriam McDonald, grand-daughter of Amarilla Spracklin Barclay, approximately 8 pages.  There is personal information contained in these notes so I am carefully sharing them through this blog and other blogs.

Death Certificate of Amarilla Urton, #02159, Aug. 10, 1942, Pine River, Cass County, Minnesota.  , Minnesota State Department of Health, Records, Minnesota Historical Society, index online at the MHS. 

Cemetery Records of the Titler Cemetery originally by Mrs. Kaye Sanches of Des Moines, Iowa, retyped by Marion A. Gunderson, 2001, at the Iowa Genealogy Society Library. As you can see by the tombstone pictures above, the stones are up against a tree and not over the grave.  There where depressions near the stones in the soil that I almost stumbled into. 

Visit to the Titler Cemetery by the compiler in April of 2003 when photographs of the cemetery were taken. Marengo, Iowa.  See BJM’s Cemetery Discoveries blog posts starting with the date of July 17, 2010 were I feature the Titler photographs. 

http://bjmcemeterydiscoveries.blogspot.com/2010_07_01_archive.html

Census for the State of Iowa 1856, Vol. 48, Film#1021301, pg. 78-80 State Historical Society, Des Moines, Iowa.  Be careful the index of this 1856 census does not show Daniel for some reason?  Ancestry.com has the Iowa State Census.  Also featured in the July 1, 2011 post (see below).  Before Daniel and after him are Blacketers and Merrifields that are enumerated. 

1860 U.S. Federal Census was discussed in the post dated July 1, 2011 “Stepping Back In Time: Amarilla’s Life In Iowa Before George!” on this blog. 

Marriage Records, 1848-1951, Index 1848-1948 FHL#388779 Morrow Co., Ohio.  Vol. 1A, pg. 119 for Daniel and Elizabeth’s marriage FHL#388779.

Sources for Henry Spracklin and Amarilla will be detailed in future posts.

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In recent published posts I have talked about John Keller and Mary Anne Delano Keller who were Amarilla’s grandparents on her mother’s side. 

Amarilla was the daughter of Daniel D. Spracklin and Elizabeth Keller.  Daniel’s parents were John Andrews Spracklin and Lydia Goss.  Daniel and Elizabeth had 4 children.  By 1860 Elizabeth had passed.  She had died in 1859 just months after Amarilla’s birth.  

Elizabeth Spracklin's Tombstone , Titler Cemetery, Iowa

A thorough page by page search of the Iowa census was attempted but Daniel was not found.  Amarilla does appear in the 1860 Iowa census in Benton County, Iowa but she is not with her father Daniel? She is with her sister Mary and another family.

1860 U.S. Federal Census Family of Shelley/Spracklin Dwelling# 1175, Hse #1217, pg. 178, Roll #M635-325 Iowa & Jasper Co.,  Marengo Twp., Iowa Co., Iowa, National Archives, Alaska-Pacific Region, Seattle, WA. 1175/1217 – Joseph Shelley, 68 yrs. old, male, farmer, $1400 real estate, $100 personal, born in Tennessee. Sarah Shelley, age 48, born in Maryland, Martha Shelley, age 13, born in Indiana, Eliza, age 9, born in Indiana May Sprackling age 4, male?, born in Iowa, (A)melia age 1 yr., female, born in Iowa

It is my belief that this is Mary and Amarilla even though the spelling is different.  The ages are correct and the location is close.  As for the Shelley family, I do not know what their relationship to Daniel maybe.  The Spracklins and the Kellers are large families and this could easily be relatives that I do not have knowledge of.  They could also just be neighbors and friends helping out.  

The other interesting fact is that Henry, the older brother is also displaced and living with another family in 1860.  In this case it is his Aunt Olive a sister of Daniel’s.

 W. P. Merifield Family, 1860 U.S. Federal Census Leroy Twp., Benton County, Iowa, Reel No M653, # 311, Page 162. Merifield, W.P. 29 farmer 800, 300, born in Ohio, Olive 27 yrs. born in Ohio, Lydia 7 yrs. born in Iowa, Corista 2 yrs born in Iowa, Spracklin, Henry 7, born in Ohio.

There is no sign of Amarilla’s father.  I did a house by house search of the township and there were lots of houses that were empty.  I even searched in Ohio to see if Daniel had gone back to his home in Knox County, Ohio because his father John Andrews Spracklin had died in 1862.  I cannot find him. 

Benton County 1872

So the death of Elizabeth Keller Spracklin in 1859 really created a temporary scattering of the family of Daniel D. Spracklin at that time.  There does not appear to be any evidence that he joined the fight and enlisted in the Civil War.  

By 1870 Daniel is back in the census and he is remarried to Sarah.  He has Henry and Amarilla with him from his first marriage.  Emily is Sarah’s daughter from her first marriage. Sister Mary died on the 27th of September 1861.  This death must have affected Amarilla even though she was very young.   

By 1870, Sarah and Daniel have started to have a family of their own.  The other children: Lydia, Birdie H (Virda), Reed A. are of the 2nd family.

Daniel D. Spracklin Household, 1870 U.S. Federal Census LeRoy Twp., Benton Co., Iowa,  June 17, 1870, Post Office is Blairstown, Page 18. Line 34, 123, 122, Spracklin, Daniel, age 40, male, white, famer, $3300, $700, born in Ohio, father and mother of foreign birth, citizen of US.  Sarah,  34 yrs., female, white, keeping house, born in Indiana.  Henry F. 17 yrs., male, white, born in Ohio.  Emily,  13 yrs, female, white, born in Indiana.  Ammarilla, 11 yrs., female, white, born in Iowa.  Lydia M., 5 yrs., female, white, born in Iowa.  Birdie H., 4 yrs., male, white, born in Iowa. Continued page 19:  Reed A., 1 yrs., male, white, born in Iowa.  Henry, Emily, Ammarilla, Lydia attended school within the year. 

There are other names listed under the notation for Daniel in 1870.  Nelson, Peter 26, farmer with 600 value of personal estate from Denmark, Nelson, Hardie 26 keeping house, from Denmark, Nelson, Andrew 1 yr. born in Iowa, Nelson, Peter 5/12 yr. born in Iowa, all have parentage that are foreign birth, Frederickson, Ann 8, from Denmark, Anderson, Peter 23, laborer Denmark, both with parentage foreign.

Daniel remarried on 21 November 1863 to Sarah Blacketer Allgood in Marengo, Iowa Co., Iowa.  He is still living in LeRoy Twp. in Benton County, Iowa but that will change.  Amarilla was 5 years old when he marries Sarah.  She may be young but old enough to know that something has happened. 

Daniel's Land in Leroy Twp., Benton County, Iowa

In the closeup of the Benton Co. Atlas Daniel’s land is in two parts of 40 acres each.  There is a double line almost in the middle and Daniel’s land is on the left of the line under the School.  There is a dot showing this piece of land.  The other land is to the right on the other side of the double line with another dot next to a Case and below A. Justus.  Which piece of land Daniel had his house located on is not known.  This is why Amarilla’s great-granddaughter, the writer of this blog, believes she was born nearer to Blairstown.  Daniel did not move to Iowa County, Iowa 20 miles south till after 1872.  Amarilla was born in November of 1858.

If you go back to the 1856 Iowa State Census you will find interesting things going on.   Daniel is not mentioned in published indexes for this census but he is definitely there and he and Elizabeth and their son Henry are living next to Blacketers, and Daniel’s sister Olive Merrifield and her family.

1856 Iowa State Census

So Amarilla’s beginnings are a bit precarious.  She looses her mother at a very early age, a sister dies and she is separated from her brother and father for maybe a year or two?  Then her father returns to marry a stranger.  This is a lot for a 5-year-old to take in.

Miriam, Amarilla’s granddaughter writes:  “Amarilla (Ammarilla, sometimes she varied it) belonged to the first family, hated the second and left home.  Supported herself as a seamstress.  Married George Angus Barclay in Brainard, Minn.  He had land…”

Note:  Titler Cemetery is featured on my blog:  BJM’s Cemetery Discoveries scroll to the bottom of this list of posts and you will find the Spracklin stones for Titler as well as some Merifield and more: http://bjmcemeterydiscoveries.blogspot.com/search/label/Titler%20Cemetery

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Amarilla Spracklin Barclay was most likely born near Blairstown in Benton County in the state of Iowa on the 17 of November 1858. 

Amarilla’s father was Daniel D. Spracklin and her mother was Elizabeth Keller.  Daniel and Elizabeth  married 1 January 1853 in Sparta, So. Bloomfield Twp., Morrow Co., Ohio. 

Source:  Marriage Records, 1848-1951, Index 1848-1948, Morrow Co., Ohio.  General Index V1A-10, 1848-1948 #388779 Item 1, Marriages v. 1A #388779 Item 2 1848-1858. Keller, Elizabeth to Daniel Spracklin Vol. 1A, pg. 119. Pg. 60, Spracklin, Daniel D. to Keller, Elizabeth on Jan. 1, 1853 by Joel Abbott JP.

I believe Amarilla was born near Blairstown because her father Daniel had land in Leroy Twp., Benton County, Iowa which is where Blairstown is located.   He had migrated from Ohio to Iowa.  According to the 1856 Iowa State census they were in Iowa by 1855.  There are problems with the index of the 1856 census but Daniel is there along with other interesting discoveries.

Benton County was organized as a separate county in 1846 with the town of Vinton as the county seat.  Blairstown was established in 1862.  The town of Marengo was incorporated in 1859 and was more established as a town at the time.  Marengo is the county seat for Iowa County, Iowa and has been since 1845 according to this website which gives a little history of Marengo, Iowa:  http://www.marengo150.com/default.htm 

The two towns are about 9 miles from each other with Blairstown being directly north of Marengo.  I drove the highway between the two towns and it is a nice drive through a canyon and over a hilly area.  Blairstown and Marengo are situated in flat land areas between these rolling hills. 

Between Blairstown & Marengo

Blairstown, Iowa

In the photograph above you see Blairstown in the distance and the water tower to the left.

Source:  Blairstown, 1862 to 1987, History – Town History.  I obtained a copy of this history book from the Blairstown Public Library which has  a genealogical collection.  At that time they were in a temporary building in 2003 so researching was a challenge.  The librarian was very helpful.  The genealogical collection is in the care of another individual through the Benton County Genealogical Society and that information is listed at the library website.  Apparently they are in their new building now, so it would be a much better experience to do research there. 

Here is the link:  http://www.blairstown.lib.ia.us/use-the-library/genealogy2

Benton Co. 1872 Atlas

Daniel’s land in Leroy Twp. is in two 40 acre sections straddling the double line that runs the entire page above, north to south.  He is slightly to the right of the middle of this picture.  If you click on the photo it will enlarge and look for two smudgy dots on each side of that long line.  The township page above is  from the 1872 Iowa County Atlas – Benton County, Leroy Twp. which I found at the Iowa County Genealogical Society.  Blairstown is in the upper right corner of the photograph. 

Be advised that the Iowa County Genealogical Society was in the basement of the Marengo Public Library but they did some renovations a few years ago and the society is now in North English.  See the links to the right on this blog.

Daniel moved to Dayton Twp., Iowa County, Iowa after this 1872 date and he appears in the 1874 Atlas of Iowa County, Iowa published by Harrison & Warner.  Daniel purchased the land in Dayton Twp.  at the end of 1872.  The land in Dayton Township is in the northeast corner of section 19 which is right next to the Poweshiek County line southwest of Millersburg and close to Keokuk County.  Marengo is twenty miles north of Millersburg.  So Daniel put some distance between his original land purchases in Benton County and moved south to Iowa County and obtained a lot more land, all in one large piece. 

To get a better idea of the distance from Blairstown I have below a copy of an atlas page of Iowa County showing Dayton Twp. and if you focus on the white square you can see about where the land was situated.  I am using Millersburg as a reference point.  

Historical Atlas 1875 of Iowa County, Iowa

I found this atlas at the Iowa Digital Library website for The University of Iowa and I chose the page for Iowa County.  http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=/atlases  There are more counties listed at this website. 

I have deeds and more information regarding Daniel’s land holdings in Iowa and copies of atlas pages for Iowa County and Benton County. 

I did check newspapers around the time of Amarilla’s birth to see if I could find an announcement or discover her mother Elizabeth’s obituary for March 10, 1859 but I was not successful.  I did see obituaries but mostly news about the farming industry.  I also checked the bible records at the Iowa Historical Society in Des Moines and did not find anything to confirm my theory. 

Amarilla’s mother Elizabeth died four months after her birth. Daniel her father remarried in 1863 to Sarah Blacketer Allgood.  They had seven more children as I have mentioned in a past post. 

Amarilla was born in Iowa and was not unfamiliar with living on a farm and that lifestyle.  So in my opinion this made her adapt well to life on the frontier in Pine River, Minnesota in 1878 after her marriage to George Angus Barclay. 

Amarilla’s family the Spracklins is a very large family and I have been researching them for many years.  There are many others who have done a great deal of work on this family line.  There is Mayflower and DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) connections in Amarilla’s ancestry through both her father and her mother sides and it spans the early history of our country and if I shared all of the research that I have on her family it would take a blog all by itself and it would be a major undertaking. 

The scope and focus of this blog about the Barclay’s is about George and Amarilla’s life together.  In future posts Amarilla will be touched by her Spracklin and Keller families as events unfold in her life.

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These photos were given to me by my Aunt Miriam, the granddaughter of George and Amarilla.  She said they were their wedding photos. 

The first one is my great-grandfather George Angus Barclay as a young man. 

George A. Barclay ca. 1878

On the back Aunt Miriam wrote:  “George Angus Barclay, Born _____ Died 1898.  1878 Wedding picture.  Enlisted Aug. 15, 1862, at Fort Snelling (Not correct it was Fort Ridgely) as wagoner, Co., I, 9th Minnesota Volunteer Infantry. Honorable Discharge 1865. Marched with Sherman. (George probably didn’t march with Sherman as indicated in a past posts dated June 15 and June 25, 2010.) ” 

In dark pen and in another person’s handwriting it reads:  “Print from Screened neg. ,Z3668, Historic Heartland Assoc.”

This photo is supposedly of Amarilla as a young girl.  Miriam indicates that it is her wedding photograph.

Amarilla Spracklin Barclay

On the back in Aunt Miriam’s handwriting:  “Amarilla Spracklin Barclay, Nov. 17, 1858 – Aug. 10, 1942. Born near Marengo, Iowa, died in Pine River, Minn.  1878. Wedding picture age 20.”

Again the same black pen and different handwriting:  “Print from Screened neg., Z3666 , Historic Heartland Assoc.”

Carl Zapffe was the founder of Historic Heartland Association.  His photo collection is housed with the Nisswa Historical Society as far as I know.  I talked personally to the president of the Nisswa society in 2007 about these two photographs and later sent copies and wrote to them.  They eventually wrote me back and told me they were unable to identify or give me any further information on these two photographs.  In exchange he referenced an article about George that I will discuss in a later post.

When I visited Pine River in 2000, I shared these two photographs with the Editor and they were printed in the Pine River newspaper in an article about my visit.  See my March 15, 2010 post – An Appointment – Pine River Journal for more information.  

Mr. Zapffe wrote several oversized historical booklets about “Oldtimers” in Minnesota that I purchased and will feature later on in my posts.   The Crow Wing Historical Society in Brainerd may still have copies.  You can Google his writings which are still out there?  He died sometime in the 1990’s, I believe?

Mr. Zapffe actually corresponded with my Aunt Miriam at some point.  I found a brochure that had family photographs in color in her possession.  There is a photograph of a bride – Christina Ethel Zapffee and groom Thomas Richard Anderson, Jr. dated 1973.  A family group photo with all the names of the children but just Mom and Pop listed and I suspect that Pop refers to Mr. Zapffe.  Other family groupings photos are included in the brochure.  The brochure/pamphlet is 4 pages long.  On the back is a discussion of the Mystical Window featured on the front page and a Merry Christmas at the bottom.  The envelope has a Baltimore, Maryland address and is stamped with Dec. 1973.   The brochure is a real treasure of family photographs for both Anderson and Zapffee who are not my family. 

Would I be interested in the story behind this and how my Aunt Miriam obtained copies of these photographs of Amarilla and George, my great grandparents?  Just another mystery in my family!

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As we have seen, George’s was busy with his life.  He had established a trading post on the south fork of the Pine River, then moved it to higher land, and obtained several patents for land in the area.  In July of 1878 he went to Brainerd for some reason, probably to get supplies or do business, and took time to go a courting.  He met and married Amarilla Grace Spracklin at a friend’s house.

Amarilla had left her home near Blairstown, Iowa and migrated to Brainerd, Minnesota sometime after the 1870 U.S. Census.  Her granddaughter Miriam said Amarilla arrived there about 1877.  Amarilla had been living with her father, step-mother and  half siblings since about 1863 in Iowa. 

If you look at Iowa in reference to Minnesota you would see that Iowa is just straight south of Minnesota. 

State Map of US

Miriam writes in another part of her notes, that Amarilla was not happy in her situation:

“Her father, Daniel Dare Spracklin had two families. Amarilla (Ammarilla , sometimes varied it) belonged to the first family, hated the second and left home.  Supported herself as a seamstress. ” 

“Came to Brainerd, Minn., in 1877 and earned her living as a dressmaker and milliner.” Miriam McDonald Notes circa 1980’s.

There is no state census in Iowa for 1875 so we cannot be sure if Amarilla was still at home at that time.  Miriam makes a further comment:  “Born near Marengo, Iowa, Nov. 17, 1858.”  It was probably closer to Blairstown which is north of Marengo.  In 1878 Amarilla would have been 20 years old.  

The Logsleds to Snowmobile book  makes the following statement:

“On July 27, 1878, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Brainerd, with the Reverend Herbert Root officiating.  George Angus Barclay married Ammarilla Spracklin.  Barclay’s new bride was the first permanent white woman settler on the Pine River.  She continued to hold the distinction for 15 years.” pg. 105 

This reference implies that George and Amarilla were married in the St. Paul Episcopal Church in Brainerd, however the evidence shows that the record of the marriage from the St. Paul Episcopal Church hint that it was at the residence of a C. H. Mayo.  Click on the photo to make it larger.  

St. Paul Episcopal Church Register

Here is a copy of their marriage license.  It is one of several that were in the Civil War Pension file of George A. Barclay’s.

1902 Copy of Marriage License

A brief article found in the Brainerd Tribune dated Saturday, August 3, 1878 on page 2 on the left at the bottom also repeats this information of a marriage at a friend’s house, the home of a C. H. Mayo. 

Barclay & Sprecklin Marriage

How George and Amarilla met is  a mystery.  Miriam said that Amarilla was a milliner, a person who makes hats.  

An article in the Brainerd Daily Dispatch taken from the Centennial Edition (1871-1971) on the history of Brainerd and the Crossing states that their were 21 stores,  and 1 tailor shop.  So it might be possible that George spotted Amarilla in the town at one of these locations? 

“After a brief courtship they were married on July 27, 1878.  Following the ceremony, the new bride of 19 and her husband drove as far as Gull Lake, probably to John Bishop’s half-way house on Bishop’s Creek, where they stayed overnight.  The next day they continued on with their “tote” to George Barclay’s Ranch on the Pine River.” 

Logsleds to Snowmobiles, pg. 112

The Coroner’s Inquest file regarding the murder of George Barclay from Cass County Records had a testimony by a Andrew Whitesides, an employee of George A. Barclay since 1894.  He testified at the coroner’s inquest about George’s murder but in addition he made an interesting comment  about Amarilla – that she was “an inmate of a variety theater?” 

Now the same article I mentioned from the Brainerd Daily Disptach does indicate there were 15 saloons, and 2 billiards halls but it does not mention a theatre in Brainerd?

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Back in April of 2000 I ordered all of great-grandfather George’s patents from the National Archives in Washington D.C.  I received eight (8) patents with seals embossed on them.  I followed that up by ordering the Cash Entry files for three  (3) of the patents hoping for more information in 2002. 

I have actually been to the National Archives in Washington D.C.  They house in their lobby for viewing many historical documents including the “Declaration of Independence.”   The National Archives also has branches throughout the country and I have been to the one in Seattle, Laguna Nigel (closed) and Chicago.  In Spring 2011 I will visit the Pittsfield, MA branch.  Here is their website link: http://www.archives.gov/  Their website will be revamped soon. 

National Archives Main Branch, Washington D.C.

Patents are the land an ancestor bought directly from the U.S. Government.  Once this first sale was completed land sales and purchases would then be done through county courts. This means a trip to the courthouse in the location where your ancestor lived.  On a visit to Minnesota in 2007 I again visited the Pine River area.  This time I did go to the courthouse and looked up deeds under Barclay to see what I would find.  I studied the deeds at the Cass County Courthouse and there were many.  The clerk was very kind and patient I am indebted to her. I also studied the deed books in the Crow Wing Courthouse.  Still later I decided to take a look at the track books at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. 

Today you can order patents from the National Archives in Washington D.C. or you can go to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website and do a patent search:   http://www.glorecords.blm.gov/PatentSearch/

There you can search for patents for any person who obtained land in a land state.  You can even search for surveys and more.  Once you create a summary list you can actually click further and actually look at an original patent and obtain more detail.  It is wise to perform a variety of spelling searches on surnames and first names in you’re searching to make sure you find all the information for an ancestor.  As you can see “G.A.” was the spelling used for one of the patents.  I also tried other spelling variations of the surname Barclay and this is the list I came up with for George A. Barclay. 

Here is the summary list of George A. Barclay’s Patents. 

Patentee Name State County/
Parish
Issue
Date
District
Land Office
Doc.
Nr.
Accession or 
Serial Nr.
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  8/1/1874  St. Cloud  7082  MN1660__.167 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  8/1/1874  St. Cloud  7083  MN1660__.168 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  8/1/1874  St. Cloud  7084  MN1660__.169 
BARCLAY, GEORGE  MN  Cass  5/1/1875  St. Cloud  7373  MN1660__.405 
BARCLAY, GEORGE  MN  Cass  5/1/1875  St. Cloud  7374  MN1660__.406 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  9/23/1879  St. Cloud  7946  MN1670__.289 
BARCLAY, G A  MN  Cass  5/10/1884  St. Cloud  11834  MN1740__.425 
BARCLAY, GEORGE A  MN  Cass  4/5/1888  St. Cloud  16446  MN1840__.002 

Numbers #7373 and #7374 George purchased with his partner D. McNanny. I tried searching on the spelling “McNannie” but I found nothing more.  These two patents are all that are in McNannie’s name.

Both sources, my Aunt Miriam and the Logsled’s book, mention the Northern Pacific Railroad and this is a warranty deed filed at the Cass County Courthouse. 

Interestingly, some of these patents that are in the search list above are also recorded in the deed books of the Cass County Courthouse in Walker, Minnesota.

This list is nice to have but it really doesn’t help us understand where great-grandfather George’s land was located so we need to get more detail and the description of the land that was written on the patent.

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