Traveling to Iowa in 2003 in Search of Spracklins…

Over Iowa 2003

Over Iowa 2003

Back in 2003, my research on my family was pretty new, I had been to Washington D.C and Minnesota but I was still searching for family.  I decided to travel to Iowa because I had been in contact with a Spracklin cousin who emailed me.  Jerry is a descendant of Henry Spracklin, Amarilla’s older brother from the first marriage of their father Daniel. He lives in Iowa.

Over the years, I have learned that my genealogical research trips are just as important as putting together the research and scrolling through sources.  I learned this from Paul H. Goss who did research on the Goss family.  He didn’t journal his research visits to cousins to learn about the Goss family history back in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.  If you read his manuscripts you will see that he hints at these visits but he doesn’t elaborate on them.  Paul’s visits to cousins or Goss descendants was very important and needed to be reported and sourced.  I have a lot of respect for my cousin Paul Goss.  It would have been nice to know where he obtained some of his information.

In reviewing my journal from my trip to Iowa, it brought back the whole trip and reminded me of my time in Iowa.

Here is a summary of that trip that opened the door on my research of the Daniel D. Spracklin families which included Amarilla my great-grandmother and her origins.

My trip to Iowa started on Friday, April 25, 2003 and ended on Wednesday, May 7, 2003.  I flew into the Cedar Rapids Airport (Eastern Iowa Airport). I flew first to Chicago and then walked that airport from one end to the other to get to my connection to Iowa. Always check out an airport’s website they have great information to help plan your trip.

This airport was a small airport so it was not hard to find the car rental desk and my car for the trip. Once I had settled into the new car, I made my way south to the Amana Colonies Holiday Inn east of Williamsburg.  It doesn’t seem to be there anymore and is probably under another name.

My goal was to visit courthouses, societies, libraries and cemeteries in and near Marengo and Blairstown, Iowa in search of the Daniel D. Spracklin families and Amarilla’s origins.

When I prepare for a trip like this, I make an itinerary that is extremely detailed for each day of the trip.  I know exactly what I plan to do that day after studying the websites of different repositories I want to visit. I add the addresses of repositories, their phone numbers, times they are opened and write all that information on the itinerary so I don’t have to search for it if I get lost or there is a problem that occurs, or I have to reschedule. My itinerary is there to guide me and can change.  The journal is what really happened on the trip.

Later I started using Microsoft’s Streets and Trips (now discontinued as of 2014 and support ending 2015) to prepare a road trip itinerary. I like this software because it will break the route down by each day. The map is not always detailed enough so I do use GPS either in the rental car or on my cellphone.  Cellphone GPS when traveling Internationally would be too costly. So I still need maps to help guide me. Before the trip I go to Google Earth or Google Maps to see the road using the satellite version.  Areas of the route I am unclear about I drill down so I know what might happened.  Still there are always surprises. I then make copies of my S&T maps and make sure I have a good state and or county map.

Armed with my itinerary, research goals, research papers, maps, and routing information, I head out on my adventure.

Marengo Public Library

Marengo Public Library

Once settled into the my hotel after the airplane flight, I prepare for my day. My first stop was Marengo, Iowa. I spent time in the Marengo Public Library using its newspapers and going into the basement where the Iowa County Genealogical Society was housed at that time. They were very helpful.  ICGS has moved to North English. Don’t confuse them with the Iowa Genealogical Society which is the state society located in Des Moines. The ICGS volunteer was very kind and kept the society open longer than was posted. She helped me locate cemeteries to view, found books, microfilm and more.  I was very impressed with this society.

The most significant items found where the Atlases for Iowa and Benton County showing Daniel’s land. Most of what we did was eliminate history books and other sources.  Daniel was proving to be difficult to find.

Marengo Courthouse town in distance...

Marengo Courthouse town in distance…

My biggest outing was to the courthouse for Iowa County in Marengo and it was there I obtained copies of the Probate/Estate packet for Daniel D. Spracklin. The county website has a much better picture of the courthouse. County websites are tough to get around in, so just be persist till you find what you are looking for, call and ask.

I waited patiently while the clerk copied the file and had my money ready to pay for the copies. She was not necessarily happy with me. I agreed not to make her copy all of the creditor receipts and instead I look at them and made my choices.  It was well worth the wait to obtain this file and see Amarilla listed as an heir-at-law of Daniel D. Spracklin along with her brothers and sisters.  Oh yes, the floors did creak…

Loy's B&B in the distance

Loy’s B&B in the distance

After a couple of days, I moved from the hotel to Loy’s Bed & Breakfast which was closer to Marengo.  It was really a farm-house where they were renting out the lower floor to visitors like myself.  I wanted to see what it would be like to stay on a farm in Iowa.  The proprietors were very nice. The man who was the owner of the farm, worked for the farm cooperative and was kind to study the estate papers of Daniel’s especially the inventory.  He said that Daniel was a general farmer and had many items that indicated this.  I was grateful, I am city girl.  He was very knowledgeable and told me how the farming was done today.

While staying at the farm B&B there was a storm and the sky got really black and I mean black and hung low to the ground. There were reports of tornadoes to the south. It slowed me down a little and made me a little nervous.  I am a city girl you know.

While in Marengo, I found a lovely cafe to the left of the park where the locals gathered.  The seats were a little worn but the food was good comfort good. It looks like its probably gone now. Sigh!

Oh, I did experience a traffic jam in Marengo.  The train that goes through the town to the south blocked my progress for about 20 minutes, giggle.

Marengo's Park in the town Center

Marengo’s Park in the town Center

I also drove from Marengo up to Blairstown to get a feel for the land and see the area. It is a little more rugged along that road and flattens out when you get to Blairstown. The public library at the time was going through construction so they had a prefab building housing the collection.

The Benton County Genealogical Society holdings were not there at my visit, they were at another location for safety. Now that the new library has been built they are housed there.  It is really a nice library from the pictures and they have a genealogy room.

Blairstown, Iowa Sign

Blairstown, Iowa Sign

The road to Blairstown

The road to Blairstown

I did not go to Vinton to see the Benton County Historical Society holdings which would be of interest for Spracklin research.

I did make it to Belle Plaine but my search for Peter Spracklin’s grave, a brother of Daniel, failed because there was some confusion about where he was buried.

Blairstown's Water Tower

Blairstown’s Water Tower

I had to reschedule to the next day to go and study that collection which was in a bank in Blairstown.  The librarian was very helpful and kind.  I did do a search of the newspapers in the time frame of 1858-1859.  There were obituaries but I did not find anything about Elizabeth Keller Spracklin’s death or any Spracklins.  I found others with familiar names from the Titler cemetery.  Apparently you had to have money to appear in the newspapers which were mostly about farming and politics at the time.

Titler Cemetery

Titler Cemetery

I visited the Titler Cemetery which is northwest of Marengo on the road to Blairstown.  It is where Elizabeth Keller Spracklin, Olive and Mary are buried.  It was not in good shape and I could not find the graves on that visit.  (See below for the results of another visit.)

Once I was done with my visiting in the Marengo area, I did a little backtracking and headed east to Iowa City. My next goal was the State Archives of Iowa Branch which is located in Iowa City on the campus of the University. I stayed at the Haverkamp Bed and Breakfast up the street from the Archives. It was very convenient to the Archives and I could walk to it.  It looks like they are closed now.  It was a great area of the city where there were a lot of old houses.  My room was up on the 3rd floor and very nice and cozy.

State Archives for Iowa in Iowa City

State Archives for Iowa in Iowa City

I spent a wonderful several days at the Archives getting all kids of information about the Spracklins of Iowa. I searched cemetery records, vital records, and more at this location.

Once all my research at this location was done, I took the car back to the airport and shuttled back to Iowa City to await the arrival of my cousin Jerry who was coming to pick me up.  I would be staying with him and his family in Des Moines. My goal was to visit the Iowa Genealogical Society, and the main branch of the State Archives of Iowa and Historical Society in Des Moines.

Jerry came to Iowa City and we drove back to the Titler Cemetery north of Marengo. He found the stones for the Spracklins piled under a tree.

Piled under a tree

Piled under a tree, sigh…

The cemetery as in bad shape and I didn’t want to leave Elizabeth and the babies there. The stones were not on the graves put piled under trees.  See my BJM Cemeteries blog for a more thorough description of the Titler Cemetery and all my photos of tombstones (not necessarily complete.) Here is the starting post there are many more about this cemetery, so scroll to the cemeteries on the right side and find Titler.

Elizabeth, Mary and Oliver’s post:

Millersburg's sign

Millersburg’s sign

We also stopped at the Community Cemetery was near Millersburg. I usually like to visit a cemetery several times before I leave. We found the graves of Daniel, Sarah and Alfred Spracklin.

Community Cemetery near Millersburg

Community Cemetery near Millersburg

We stopped at more cemeteries for his mother’s side of the family and then headed west to Des Moines. I spent a lovely fives days with Jerry’s family. He was extremely generous and shared his research of Henry Spracklin’s family with me. Henry is Amarilla’s older brother.

We visited the state genealogical society, Iowa Genealogical Society in Des Moines and just as they were closing I found some information about Peter and Solomon Goss Spracklin. There are two publications of the Titler Cemetery and you need both to get a total picture.  I got copies of these publications.

Iowa's state archives and historical society

Iowa’s state archives and historical society

We later went to the main State Archives in Des Moines and that is where I found the obituaries of Daniel and Sara Spracklin and did deed research on Daniel, his brothers Peter and Solomon Goss Spracklin.  I really should have been there for two days not just one.

I am referring to the State Historical Archives housed as part of the State Historical Society of Iowa.

On May 7th a Wednesday, Jerry took me to the airport in Des Moines and said goodbye to me and it was sort of sad but we have kept in touch over the years and I have shared my findings with him.  I helped him find Elizabeth Downey Spracklin, Henry’s wife.  We now what happened to her after his tragic death.  I have written about his death on this blog.

As you can see my trip to Iowa focused on Iowa City, Marengo, Blairstown and Des Moines.  There was not enough time to visit other areas of Iowa. So maybe another trip is in order.  We will see.

I am very glad I did visit Iowa in 2003 because I learned that the reason I could not find the Spracklins was because they all left Iowa County by the time Daniel died in 1915 and had scattered to other parts of Iowa and other states mainly going north to Minnesota and west to the Dakotas. So by 2003 you had to dig for information. Once I knew where they all went, that opened the door to more research.

Dedication:  I dedicate this post to the memory of Netha Meyer’s whom I met on my trip there, she was very helpful and enthusiastic and even offered to look up more obituaries and go to the courthouse with me. See her memorial on the Iowa County IA Genweb page.

Henry Spracklin’s Estate 1894

Henry died on 22 June 1893.  I wrote about it in the post dated August 10, 2012: “A Terrible Accident: Henry Spracklin is Killed, 1893!” Here is a hint:  Go to the Archive area on the right sidebar of this blog and find the month of August 2012, just above Categories.

The State Capital Building in Des Moines, Iowa

The next step was to search for an estate file.   I did find a probate for Henry that was dismissed because there wasn’t any “real” property and no money in his estate.  Henry did not have a will.

The probate did not appear in the records till 1894, more than a year later? I believe it is because, Elizabeth his surviving wife, received $300 for his death from Weyerhauser-Denkmann.  It would be worth researching court records for this civil suit regarding Henry’s death in the Scott County records.  I have not yet taken the time to do so.  I wonder if it would list the children?

Henry is buried in St. Marguerite’s cemetery on Highway 6th and Kimberly Road next to the Genesis Hospital in Davenport, Iowa. It is actually the Mt. Calvary Cemetery OLD (1 – 65) because St. Marguerite’s closed in 1944.  Henry does not have a tombstone according to my cousin.  I did not have time on my trip to Iowa in 2003 to visit Davenport to verify this so I go with my cousin’s story.

Find A Grave has a listing for this cemetery but Henry does not appear: 

Here is a breakdown of Henry F. Spracklin’s Probate/Estate File:  District Court, Scott Co., Iowa, Probate Packet #3751, 2nd Series No. 3726-3797, 1894-1901 FHL#1543779, Probate Index 1834-1958, FHL#1479397, Item 1.

Journal Entries: 1. Probate Index 1834-1958 Nebstedt-Zwickey FHL#1479397 Item 1, Probate Packet for Henry Spracklin #3751, died June 22, 1893, Vol. 6, pg. 301.

2. Public Notice of Probate, dated 10, Oct. 1894 – Appointment of Administrator T. A. Murphy.

3. Petition for Letters of Administration Oct. 9, 1894 by Elizabeth Spracklin FHL#1477259 pg. 564.

4. Order Appointing Administrator, Oct. 10, 1894 – T. A. Murphy is appointed.

5. Letters Issued, Oct. 10, 1894 pg. 565.

6. First Report and Application for Order to Compromise a Claim for Personal Injuries and Order, Oct. 11, 1894, pg. 567 to 569.

Probate Packet 2nd Series #3751 FHL#1543779:

1. Page 1 Probate Case #3751, Spracklin, Henry, Estate, Intestate.

2. Cover page – #3751 Probate Estate Henry Spracklin Dec’d – T.A. Murphy.

3. Petition – Date of death June 22, 1892, no real property except for a possible personal injury claim against Weyehaueser-Denkman for injuries that caused the deceased death. Signed by Elizabeth Spracklin widow of the deceased and the administrator T. A. Murphy, Oct. 9, 1894.

4. Administrator’s Notice – Exhibit A. – Signed receipt by Elizabeth Spracklin that she had received the $300.00.  (In today’s world $300 would be $7320 to $320,000.)

5. Petition for Letters of Administration Estate of Henry Spracklin cover page.

6. Administrator’s Notice – Public Notice on 10 Oct. 1894 by T.A. Murphy, Administrator.

7. Cover page of the Final Report Jan. 10, 1896.

8. Proof of Posting Notice – that a L.G. Susemihl had posted notice of the Estate at various locations.

9, 10, 11 – Final Report and Application for Order to Compromise a Claim for Personal Injuries, Oct. 11, 1894 – 3 pages – T. A. Murphy was appointed Administrator, filed a bond of $600. Decedent left no real or personal property and that all debts were paid and the decedent left a widow and 10 minor children; that the death was caused by the effects of the accident while in the employ of Weyehauser-Denkmann. They claim no liability but offer $300 to the survivors and that the Administrator believes that accepting the $300 will be in the best interests of the estate. Administrator is excused from filing an inventory and is ordered to pay over the sum of $300 to Elizabeth Spracklin for the support of her minor children.

12. Final Report of Administrator Oct. 12, 1894 – Discharging the Administrator and releasing of Bond and closing the probate.

Unfortunately no place in this probate was there a list of the surviving children.  Usually there is a “heirs-at-law” page for a probate that has no will.  Not in this case, because there was no money.

Maybe on a longshot, the court papers that cover the civil suit might show a list; however, was there a civil suit? 

In the last post, I presented a list of Henry and Elizabeth’s children of which my cousin and I had 11 listed.  So with the death of Sophie at an early age we arrive 10 living children.  

How this death affected my great grandmother Amarilla is unknown to me.  Henry was her full brother.  They both left home about 1875 and went off in different directions with Amarilla heading north to Minnesota and Henry going south in Iowa and then east to Scott County. 

In any event it was a tragic end to my great uncle’s life.  It scattered his children and broke down the family bonds well into the present day.

What Happened to Elizabeth Downey Spracklin?

My cousin wanted to know what happened to the children of Henry and Elizabeth’s after his death.  They were very poor.  Elizabeth did received $300 from Weyerhaeuser-Denkmann as compensation for the death of her husband.  The other mystery was what happened to Elizabeth?  She disappeared from the records after 1898?

We turn to the 1895 Iowa State Census to see what life was like for Elizabeth after Henry’s death:

1895 Iowa State Census

Source:  Elizabeth Spracklin Family, 1895 Iowa State Census, Davenport Twp., Scott Co., Iowa Microfilm #99, 4th Ward in Davenport, Line 23, Dwelling 6, Hse 6, State Historical Society, Des Moines, IA.

Spracklin, Elisabeth, age 41, Widow, Born in Pennsylvania, Keep House, Catholic, Harry, age 17, Single, born in Scott Co., Cigar Maker, Catholic, Maggie, age 16, Single, born in Scott Co., Catholic, Flora, age 12, Single, born in Scott Co., Catholic, Bessie, age 8, Single, born in Scott Co., Catholic, Elmer, age 6, Single, born in Scott Co., Catholic, Raymond, age 4, born in Scott Co., Catholic, Elroy, age 2, born in Scott Co., Catholic.

In this 1895 State Census for Iowa, we see that 7 of the children are living with Elizabeth.  The missing children are Edward Oliver, Sophia, Wilbur, John Daniel.

I turn to Daniel, their grandfather and Henry’s father and take a look at the his 1895 entry.

Source:  1895 Iowa State census, D. D. Spracklin Family, Film #1929364, Iowa, Iowa Co., Dayton Twp., Iowa Co. Gen. Society.

Hse # 66, family #67, Daniel Spracklin, age 65, married, born in Ohio, father foreign birth, mother native, farmer, under religion “none.” Sarah Spracklin, age 57, married, born in Indiana, both parents natives, keeping house, Protestant. Daniel Spracklin age 24, single, born in Iowa, farmer, no religious affiliation. Edward O. 15 yrs. old. (Alfred M. Spracklin D) age 17. Both Edward and Alfred were born in Iowa. Religious affiliations not indicated.

We see that Daniel is caring for Edward O. and that identifies one of the children missing from Elizabeth’s household.   

Elizabeth disappears by 1898 and doesn’t reappear in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census. 

What happened to Elizabeth the wife of Henry?

Let’s take a look at Daniel and see what we find in the 1900 U.S. Census: 

Line 97, Dwelling #103, Family #103, Spracklin, Daniel, Head, White, Male, born Feb 1830, age 70, married, 37 years, born in Ohio, father born in England and mother born in Ohio, occupation farmer, reads and writes, owns land, been there 34 years, there is a farm house. Spracklin, Sarah, wife, white, female, born Aug. 1836, she is 63 years old, married 37 years, 7 children living, 6 out of 7 still living, she was born in Indiana, father was born in Virginia and mother was born in Ohio. She can read and write. Spracklin, Daniel G., son, white, male, born Sept. 1870, age 27 years, single, born in Iowa, farm laborer, he can read and write and did attend school. Spracklin, Charles Ed, son, white, male, Sept. 1874, age 25 years, born in Iowa, farm laborer, can read and write, attended school.

There is no mention of Elizabeth nor any of her children in Daniel’s household in 1900. At this point I turned to the city directories for Davenport, Iowa starting in 1894.  I did this research at the Iowa State Historical Society branch in Iowa City, Iowa. 

1894 Spracklin, Elizabeth Mrs. (widow Henry F) r 317 LeClaire

Spracklin, Harry L, labr 317 LeClaire

Spracklin, Henry F. (died June 22d 93)

No further info under street listing

Source: 1894-1895, 1896-1897 F629.D21 Roll #1

Spracklin, Elizabeth mrs. (wid Henry F) r 943 LePage

Spracklin, Harry L, cigarmkr bds 321 LeClaire

Spracklin, Margaret E. Miss, domestic r 943 LePage

No info on Harry as a cigarmkr in the business section

Under the street listing for LeClaire we find the following name: Mrs. Matilda J. Parke


1898-99 Davenport City Directory

Newton, John S. blacksmith r 943 LePage (Note same address as Elizabeth but the initial is S no D?)

(Mr. Newton is not listed under the businesses)

Under street name LePage

943 is John S. Newton

Source:  1898 Roll #2 F629.D21

Spracklin Edward, r943 LePage

Spracklin, Harry L, r 943 LePage

Spracklin, John, 4 943 LePage

Under the street of LePage we find: Mrs. Annie McElroy and Miss Elizabeth Spracklin

Source:  1900 F629.D21 – nothing under street listings

Spracklin John D. wks Stearns Paint Co., r 943 LePage

Spracklin, Wilbur V. r943 LePage

I gave all this city directory research to my cousin and he did a little poking around but didn’t get very far when we visited the State Historical Society of Iowa in Des Moines.  This John Newton person was suspicious.  He was living at the same address?  Elizabeth disappears. 

Well I sort of spilled the beans when I wrote in the post describing Henry and Elizabeth children:  Do you remember the obituary for Ortha?

Parke – Ortha Raymond Parke, passed away at his home in the Walsh Apartments at 6:40 o’clock this morning, after 18 weeks of illness. He was born in Davenport Feb. 16, 1900, and was educated in the Davenport schools, ad has been employed as an usher at the Fort Armstrong theater. Surviving are the parents, Mr. and Mrs. David E. Parke, one brother, Earl David Parke of Duluth, Minn. and one sister, Miss Viola R. at home. The maternal grandmother, Mrs. J.S. Newton of Fairfield, Fla. also survives. Funeral services will be held Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock from Runge’s chapel, and interment will be made in Oakdale cemetery. The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Sept. 5, 1924.

I don’t know when my cousin obtained this information, maybe he gave it to me when we sat in his kitchen at his lovely home and I didn’t really catch it till much later.

Several months later, after my trip to Iowa, I decided to just fool around on and study the census.  I could find no evidence of Elizabeth’s whereabouts in 1900, 1910 and 1920 until I found the Buford Family in West Palm Beach, Florida in 1930.  Guess who was listed with her daughter?  

Elizabeth Downey Spracklin Newton was living

with her daughter Elizabeth Ann Spracklin Buford in Florida. 

1930 US Federal Census, Florida:  West Palm Beach, Palm Beach Co., Precinct #14, ED#50-18, SD#7, Sheet #13 A, pg. 849,

Line 27, Iris St. 718/277/360 Burford, Charles R., Head, R, 60, No, male, white, age 55, married, 24, No, Yes, born Missouri, father born Missouri, mother born Iowa, yes, Farmer, track farm, Yes, not a veteran. Line 28 Burford, Bessie, wife-H, female, white, age 42, married, 17, No, Yes, born Iowa, father born Iowa, mother born Pennsylvania, yes, no occupation. Line 29 Burford, Lillian E., daughter, female, white, 14, single, Yes, yes, born Iowa, yes, no occupation. Line 30 Betty A., daughter, female, white 13, single, Yes, Yes, born Cuba (Amer City), yes, no occupation. Line 31, Burford, Richard D., son, male, white, 9, single, yes, born Iowa, no occupation. Line 32 Newton, John S., Father-in-law, male, white 79 yrs, married, 27 yrs. No, yes, born in England, parents both born in England, 1855 Na, yes, no occupation, not a veteran. Line 33 Newton, Elizabeth, mother-in-law, female, white 73, married 18, No, yes, Pennsylvania, both parents born in Pennsylvania, yes, no occupation

I immediately sent an email to my cousin with a copy of the 1930 census.  Maybe a few hours later or a day or two later I received another email from my cousin with the title


The following information was retrieved from The Flagler Tribune newspaper, vol. 33, No., 37 for Thursday, Oct. 11, 1945.  We have a copy on microfilm and have attempted to send you an actual copy of the obit itself, but the quality was so poor we were afraid you wouldn’t be able to read it.  Here is what the newspaper said:

Funeral services were held for Mrs. Elizabeth D. Newton, 92 and a resident of Bunnell for the past 30 years, on Monday at St. Christopher’s Church at Korona.  Burial was at Espanola Cemetery, where her husband is also buried. Survivors include two daughters, Mrs. Margaret Parks of Bunnell, Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Buford of Sola, Cuba; three sons, John Daniel Spracklin of Blockwell, Okla., George Spracklin of Portsmouth, VA, Elroy Franklin Spracklin of Detroit, Mich., and a brother, Charles Downey of  Portsmouth, Iowa.

Sometimes you just take your time and study the clues and they will lead you to your goal. It might take a little while but don’t give up.  I was so happy to find the 1930 U.S. Census information and share it with my cousin.  Elizabeth is his great-grandmother. 

Elizabeth is no longer missing! 

We could use a tombstone picture but I am not planning to visit Florida soon, so we turn to Find A Grave and someone has posted the tombstone and information about Elizabeth.

Find A Grave has a picture of Elizabeth’s tombstone and one of her 2nd husband John S. Newton is at Find A Grave along with an obituary notice given by the contributor.

These documents have helped to identify the children who did survive for Henry and Elizabeth.  I am a happy genealogist!

Henry and Elizabeth Spracklin’s Family

Henry and Elizabeth had a big family and it is a bit complicated.  This is not my family line.  Any additional research that I have done on this family was to learn more about Daniel, the father, and to help my cousin Jerry in any way that I could.  He is the authority on the Henry F. Spracklin and Elizabeth (Downey) Spracklin family, so bare with me.

The children of Henry and Elizabeth (Downey) Spracklin, here I have 11 children:

1.  Harry Spracklin was born 1 June 1876, Sigourney, Keokuk Co., Iowa and died 8 August 1927 Davenport, Scott Co., Iowa, buried Fairmount Cemetery in Davenport, no stone.  He married Frieda H. Ackerman born about 1877 in Davenport.  She died about 1937 in probably Davenport.  Her death is a guess on my part and needs to be further researched.  Harry and Frieda had 10 children: Dorothy Elizabeth, Leroy, Herbert, George Wilbert, Richard, Bertha Sophia, Florence Margaret, Hanna, Harold Lester, and Alice Margaret. 

Harry was also killed when a tree fell on him.  As a result of his death, a guardianship was created using his Spanish-American War pension to cover expenses for most of his children.  This guardianship spanned 20 years and 3 guardians.  It is this guardianship that details the lives of his troubled kids.  I will go into more detail in a future post, here is the source information. 

Source:  Harry Spracklin Probate Packet #1543779, 1928 – 2nd Series, #12989-13048, 1928-1938, District Court, Scott Co., Iowa, FHL#1493218, Probate Index 1834-1958 FHL#1479397 Item 1. 

An obituary notice for Harry was located in the Davenport Democrat & Leader, July 1, 1927-8/31/1927, Monday Evening, August 22, 1927, State Historical Society, Iowa City, Iowa.

Spracklin: Harry LeRoy Spracklin, 51, passed away at his home, 731 1/2 West Second street, at 5:30 a.m. today following an illness of three weeks duration. The deceased was born Jan. 4, 1876, at Sigourney, Iowa. He moved to Davenport with his parents when a small boy and has since resided here. Mr. Spracklin was a Spanish-American war veteran, and served in Cuba. He is survived by his wife, Frieda Spracklin; three sons, Le Roy, George and Harold, four daughters, Mrs. Dorothy Sievert, Bertha, Florence and Alice, all of Davenport; two sisters and five brothers. The body was taken to the Stapleton funeral parlors, from where services will be held Wednesday morning at 8:15 o’clock, with services at 3:30 at St. Anthony’s church. Interment will be made in Fairmont cemetery.

2. Edward Oliver Spracklin born 22 April 1877 in Iowa and died before 1940 in Napa, Napa Co., California.   Edward was drafted and appears in the WWI Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918, National Archives M1509, Roll #1544334

Registration Card: #693, A98, Edward Oliver Spracklin, Montaque, Siskiyou, California, age 41, Born April 22, 1877, Employer: Warehouse, Standard Oil Co., Monteque, Siskiyou, California. Contact Mrs. Elizabeth Spracklin, Davenport, Scott, Iowa. Registrar’s Report 4-3-20.C. Height medium, build medium, eyes brown, hair black. Signed Sept 12, 1918 by Chas. E. Wright. Local Board in Yreka, Siskiyou, California.

Edward also obtained a land patent BLM Serical #CAS0007137, #747943 Record Accession/Serial, Mt. Diablo, CA. Siskiyou for 160 acres.

He is listed in the Veterans Home of California in the 1930 Census for Napa Twp.,  Napa Co., California, ED28-22 SD5, Sheet 5A, 241,

3.  Margaret Evalena Spracklin born 21 January 1881 in Davenport, died November 1965 in Florida. She married 26 August 1896 in Davenport to a David E. Parke and had 3 children: Ortha Raymond 16 Feb 1900 to 5 April, 1924 (Oakdale Memorial Park in Davenport) , Earl David b. Duluth, MN and Viola R. Parke. 

Source: Located in the “P” section, #15458 Parke, Earl E infant, Parke David father, Maggie Spracklin mother, Book 5, pg. 20.  Birth Registrations Iowa (Index), Scott Co., Iowa – Vols 1-5 1880-1897 FHL#1004408 and FHL#2070905.

Here is an obituary notice for Ortha:

Parke – Ortha Raymond Parke, passed away at his home in the Walsh Apartments at 6:40 o’clock this morning, after 18 weeks of illness. He was born in Davenport Feb. 16, 1900, and was educated in the Davenport schools, and has been employed as an usher at the Fort Armstrong theater. Surviving are the parents, Mr. and Mrs. David E. Parke, one brother, Earl David Parke of Duluth, Minn. and one sister, Miss Viola R. at home. The maternal grandmother, Mrs. J.S. Newton of Fairfield, Fla. also survives. Funeral services will be held Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock from Runge’s chapel, and interment will be made in Oakdale Cemetery. Source: The Davenport Democrat and Leader, Sept. 5, 1924.  Davenport newspaper pg. 23, April 5, 1924.

4. Sophia Spracklin born 23 January 1881 and died probably 1881 in Davenport, Scott Co., Iowa.

Return of Birth: Child named Sophia, female in Davenport on Jan. 23, 1881 to Henry Spracklin born in Knox Co., Ohio. Elizabeth Downey born at Cambria Co., Pennsylvania, Mother’s residence 9 Street, father is a laborer, attendant Jane Gray, Dated Davenport 1881, Residence 951 East 14th St.  Another researcher either found at the Iowa Genealogical Society or State Historical in Des Moines.

Another source:  FHL#2070905 Births Scott Co., pg. 241 Skips 1906 to 1914 no Spracklins listed again #1682, 987 Sophia Spracklin Feb. 18, 1881.

5. Wilbur Spracklin born about 1885 in Muscatine Co., Iowa. 

6. Flora Spracklin born about 1883 in Davenport, Scott Co., Iowa.

7. John Daniel Spracklin, born 7 August 1884. 

8. Elizabeth Ann Spracklin born 24 July 1886 in Davenport, died July 1986 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  She married a Charles Richard Madison Burford 10 September 1903 in Sola, Camaguey, Cuba. Charles the father was born 3 January 1878 in Lewis Co., Missouri and died August 1967 in Coral Gables, Miami-Dade, Florida. 

They had three children: 

1.  Lillian E. Burford born about 1916 in Iowa.

2.  Betty A. Burford, born about 1915

3. Richard Demmit Burford II, born 22 June 1920 Des Moines, Polk Co., Iowa and died around 1983 at Fort Smith, Sebastian, Arkansas.  Richard married Catherine Blanche Lemberg and had 3 children:  1) Richard Demmitt Burford III, 2) Charles Frederick Burford, and 3) Catherine Blanche Burford.

9. Elmer George Spracklin born 15 September, 1888, in Davenport, died 6 July 1963 in Persia, Harrison Co., Iowa.  He is buried in the St. Mary’s Cemetery in Portsmouth, Shelby Co., Iowa.  Elmer married Ellen (Nellie) Bendon on the 28th of March, 1914 in Davenport.  Ellen was born about 1889 in Portsmouth, Shelby Co., Iowa and died around 1966 in Persia, Harrison Co., Iowa.  She is also buried in St. Mary’s.  Her parents were Simon Bendon (1843-1928) and Anastasia Agnes Wagner (1845-1928). 

A Tribute published in the pages of The Council Bluffs newspaper, Council Bluffs, Iowa – July 6, 1963.

Elmer Spracklin – Funeral services were held on Monday at 10am for Elmer Spracklin, 74, at his home in Persia with Father Wilwerding officiating. He died suddenly of a heart attack at his home Saturday morning. He had been a farmer and a trucker in the Harrison and Shelby County areas most of his life. Mr. Spracklin was born in Davenport. He is survived by his widow, Nellie, four daughters, Mrs. Ruth Ditzler of Council Bluffs; Mrs. Irene Pitt of Persia; Mrs. Margaret Peterson of Mondamin and Mrs. Francis Elias of Ute. Three sons, John and Max of Council Bluffs, Don of Valley, Nebr., A brother Elroy Spracklin of Michigan, a sister Mrs. Bessie Burford in Florida; 18 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Pallbearers were Walter Kuster, John Greiner, Woodrow Wilson, William Wilson, Murie Fitzgerald, Russell Ickes. Burial was at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Portsmouth.

Elmer and Nellie’s family

Elmer and Ellen had 8 children:

1.  Ruth Spracklin born 13 April 1913 in Portsmouth, Shelby Co., Iowa and died Jul. 1981.  She married a Louis Ditzler born 3 January 1906 in Portsmouth and died Aug 1968 in Council Bluffs, Potawattamie Co., Iowa.  They had 3 children:  Marjorie, Ruth and Rita.

2.  Irene Spracklin born 19 March 1917 in Portsmouth and died February 1881.  She married an Owen Pitt born 20 April 1912 in Persia, Harrison Co., Iowa.

3.  John Edward Spracklin born 11 April 1919 in Portsmouth and died 25 Oct. 1991 in Omaha, Douglas Co. Nebraska.  He was buried in the Memorial Park Cemetery in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  John married Gilda L. George born 11 April 1923 in Muscatine, Muscatine, Iowa and died 11 December 1989 in Omaha, Douglas, Nebraska.  She is buried in Council Bluffs.  John and Gilda had 10 children of which there are living descendants.

4.  Pauline Spracklin was born 25 October 1922 in Portsmouth and died June 1979 in Portsmouth and is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Portsmouth, Shelby Co., Iowa.

5.  Margaret Spracklin was born 8 May 1924 in Portsmouth.  She married a Donald Fisher and also a Donald Peterson and had two children by Peterson.

6.  Maxmillio Spracklin was born 26 April 1926 in Iowa and died 22 March 1998 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Max had two children but I do not know his wife’s name.

7.  Donald Spracklin born 28 Jan 1928 in Portsmouth, married Delores Chapman born 7 May 1932.  They had one child. 

8.  Francis Spracklin was born 5 September 1930 in Portsmouth and died 26 April 2002 in Council Bluffs.  She married Ronald Elias. 

10. Raymond Otha Spracklin born 17 Sep. 1890 in Davenport, died 17 Jan 1935 in Harrison Co., Iowa.  He is buried in the Lytle Cemetery in Harrison Co., Iowa.  He married Minne Hansen 5 July 1932 and they had one daughter: Donna Rae.

Ray was a Veteran of World War I.

Obituary of Ray Spracklin – Residents of this vicinity were greatly shocked Thursday afternoon Jan. 17, to learn that Raymond Spracklin had been fatally injured by a tree falling on him. He and his two step-sons Charlie and Donald Newland, had gone to the timber of Jim Foley, two miles sought of Persia, and were cutting a tree. They had planned to fall the tree north and had placed the wedge in the south cut of the tree. Mr. Spracklin hit the wedge, but instead of the tree tipping over it jumped off the stump to the north, causing the tree to fall south. Ray tried to get out-of-the-way but the limb hit him, fractured his skull and broke both legs, bruised his body. The boys went for help at once. Mr. Foley, who was the first come sawed the limb so it could be removed from his body. Mrs. Foley also helped till W. E. Becker came with his ambulance and took him to the Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs where he passed away at 7:30. Raymond Otha Spracklin was born Sept. 17, 1890 and died Jan. 17, 1935, at the Mercy Hospital in Council Bluffs at the age of 45 years and 4 months. He was married July 5, 1932 to Minne Hansen. To this union one daughter was born, Donna Rae. He leaves to mourn his departure, his wife and daughter and seven step-children; Blanche of Council Bluffs, Anabelle, Dorothy, Charles, Mable, Donald and Kathryn all at home. He also leaves his mother, two sisters and several brothers. He was a loving father. His children’s comfort was his first thought. Funeral sevices will be held Saturday afternoon at the Latter Day Saints Church in Persia at 1:30 conducted by Elder Wm. Chambers of that church. Ray was well-known in this community, having spent part of his life here and his many friends will be grieved to learn of his passing.

This obituary was found in The Republican Newspaper of Harlan, Iowa on Thurs Jan 31, 1935.

11.  Elroy Franklin Spracklin born 23 January 1891 in Scott Co., Iowa and died 27 Oct. 1971 Thonotosassa, Hillsborough, Florida. He married Mary Dohoney 21 June 1913 in Davenport.  She was born about 1895 in Chicago and died 4 February 1920.  She is buried in St. Margueriite’s Cemetery in Davenport. They had four children. 

I hope I have presented this family as correctly as possible.  There is a lot more information to share.  There was a lot of research done in vital records, census, city directories, newspapers and more. If you would like to know more about these families please contact me.  Most of the information found was through the efforts of my cousin Jerry.  He gave me his permission to present this information to you.

A Terrible Accident: Henry Spracklin is Killed, 1893!

Amarilla’s older brother was killed in a terrible accident on June 22, 1893.  I do not know how she took the news or whether she went to the funeral.  Henry had stayed behind in Iowa, while Amarilla had headed north to Minnesota.  He had left Iowa County by 1875 and was married by then (see below for information about the marriage).  Amarilla was in Minnesota and married by 1878.  So they were not close in location. 

Henry Franklin Spracklin was a full brother to Amarilla.  He was the oldest son and child of the first family of his father Daniel D. Spracklin and Elizabeth Keller.  Oliver and Mary had died young.  Amarilla and Henry were all that was left of this first family. 

In my post dated November 3, 2011 – Spracklin & Keller Connection, Amarilla’s Parents.  I outlined the four children that Daniel had with Elizabeth Keller before her death in 1859.

Daniel D. and Sarah Spracklin, the 2nd wife, were still living at the time of Henry’s death in Iowa County, Iowa. Let’s review the census both Federal and state to get a feel for what was happening in this family leading up to the death of Henry.

State census for Iowa at Ancestry are:  1856, 1885, 1895, 1905, 1915, 1925.   Any census taken before 1856 was specific to certain counties so you would need to study the list that Ancestry provides to get back further than 1856.  Their database covers 1836 to 1925. The Spracklin name is not easy to find in these census so you will need to use a variety of spellings and names in your search. 

I spent several days in the building below research the Spracklins and mostly Henry.  There are two offices for the State Historical Society one in Des Moines (main) and the other in Iowa City, Iowa. 

State Historical Society of Iowa – Iowa City

U.S. Federal Census 1880 – D.D. Spracklin Household, Dayton Twp., Iowa Co., Iowa, page 7, ED #211 #267 line 41.

Location: #69/63, Spracklin, Daniel (David), white, male, married, 50 years old, farmer, born in Ohio, father was born in England. and mother was born in Ohio. Spracklin, Sarah, white, female, 40 yrs, wife, keeping house, born in Indiana, father born in Virginia, mother born in Ohio. Spracklin, Lydia, white, female, 15 yrs., daughter, at school, born in Iowa. Spracklin Virdia, white, male, age 13, son, at school, born in Iowa. Spracklin Reed A., white, male, age 11, son, at school, born in Iowa. Spracklin, Daniel, white, male, age 10, son, at school, born in Iowa. Spracklin, George, white, male, age 7, son, born in Iowa. Spracklin, Charles, white, male, age 6, son, born in Iowa. Spracklin, Alfred, white, male, age 3, born in Iowa.

Note:  This census is probably the only on that features all of the 2nd family of Daniel D. Spracklin. 

Henry is not listed here and neither is Amarilla.  We do not find Henry till the 1885 Iowa Census.  He is not listed in the 1880 as far as I can determine and believe me I have tried.

Source:  Iowa State Census 1885,  The Henry Spracklin Family, Muscatine, Muscatine, Iowa, Line 2, Roll IA 1885_239.

85, 72, Spracklin Henry, walnut at between 4 & 5th st., age 32, male, married, laborer, Ohio. Spracklin, Elisabeth, age 31, female, married, keeping house, PA. Spracklin Harry, age 7, male, Keokuk. Spracklin Maggie, age 6 female, Scott. Spracklin Eddie, age 5, male, Scott. Spracklin, Flora, age 3, female, Scott, Spracklin, John, age 2, male, Scott. Spracklin, Wilbur, 0, male, Scott.

Daniel is living in Iowa County with the family in 1885 – D.D. Spracklin Family, Dayton Twp., Iowa Co., Iowa Film #1021479, Iowa Co. Genealogical Society. 

 House #127, Family 127, Daniel D. Spracklin, Twp 78, Range 12, Section 19, Residing in Dayton Twp., 41 yrs. old, male, married, farmer, born in Ohio. Sarah Spracklin, residing in Dayton Twp., 40 yrs. old, female, married, housewife, born in Indiana. Read A. Spracklin, 16 yrs. old, male, born in Iowa. Dalia Spracklin, 14 yrs. old, male, born in Iowa. Peter G. Spracklin, 12 yrs. old, male, born in Iowa. Charles E. Spracklin  10 yrs. old, male, born in Iowa. Alfred M. Spracklin, 8 yrs.? old, male, born in Iowa. All residing in Dayton Twp. same range and section.

Note:  Some interesting spellings to note in this census:  Reed is spelled “Read,”  Dalia is probably Daniel.  Reed has been difficult to find in the census so use different spellings when searching for him and maybe one of his children. 

Unfortunately the 1890 US Federal census was mostly destroyed by fire in 1922 and nothing survived for Iowa.  So we cannot take a good look at Henry’s family and Daniel’s to compare for the year of 1890. 

By 1893 Henry had moved and was working at the Weyerhaueser-Denkmann mill in Davenport, Scott Co., Iowa when a log slammed back on him.  The following article describes the accident and events. 

Source: The Davenport Democrat & Leader, Friday Evening June 23, 1893 front page column 1, Davenport, IA, State Historical Society of Iowa, Iowa City, IA

“A Workman Meets His Death In a Mill”

About the middle of the afternoon as H.F. Spracklin, a workman in the Weyerhauser-Denkmann mill, was shoving a plank into an edging machine, the plank became involved in the machinery in some manner so that it was hurled back, striking Spracklin in the breast and shattering his left arm. The man fell like a log, and although his fellow workmen ran to his assistance it was evident that nothing could be done to alleviate his sufferings. Physicians were telephoned for and it was deemed advisable to remove the injured man to Mercy hospital. This was attempted, in the city ambulance, but the injured man died en route, when the wagon was in the neighborhood of Fourteenth and Gaines streets. Mr. Spracklin lived a short distance north of the Orphans’ home. He leaves a wife and nine children, the eldest about 16 years of age, whom he supported by his labors. While it is not known that the family is threatened with destitution now that their paternal support is removed, it is plain that the death of the husband will bear heavily upon them.”

Henry had married Elizabeth Downey on 16 November 1875 in Keokuk Co., Iowa.  Elizabeth was born about 1854 in Cambria Co., PA.  Her parents were John Downey (1822 to 1912) and Margaret McGavery (1826 to 1872).  Elizabeth’s grandparents were Dennis Downey (b. 1798, Ireland) and Elizabeth Crilley (b. 1790 died 19 Aug 1880 in Loretta, Cambria Co., PA.  She is buried in the St. Michael’s Cemetery. 

Finding out what happened to Elizabeth after Henry’s death is a very interesting story which I will share in a future post. 

Source:  Keokuk County, Iowa, Marriages 187-1880, #1313, Nov. 16, 1875, pg. 49, State Historical Society, Iowa City, IA.

There was some confusion on the number of children Elizabeth and Henry had together.  One researcher had combined Henry’s kids with the his first son Harry who had 10 children.  The account above listed 9 children.  With a great deal of work on my part and on my cousin’s who is a great-grandson of Henry, we have been able to identify and get a better understanding of just how many children Elizabeth and Henry had.  I will discuss Henry’s and Elizabeth’s children in the next post.

I would like to thank my cousin Jerry Spracklin, who supplied some if not all of the research on this family.  I met Jerry and his family back in 2003 when I went to Iowa to do research.  If you wish to know more about this family of Henry and Elizabeth please contact me and I would be happy to connect you with Jerry.

Spracklin and Keller Connection – Amarilla’s Parents

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. 



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.

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? 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.