Sometimes my head begins to spin with dates and places, names and relationships of these ancestors that have contributed to who we are or who our children and grandchildren are. I need to stop and try to spin a possible story to get to know these pioneers and a little about their lives. The family connections of my husband's great great grandmother, Celestia, can be traced back to 1630. It is easy to get lost in that information about the founding of this country. After hours of reading, comparing information, entering data and reflecting on such, I want to think more about the stories. I need to try to make theses ancestors more real.
Celestia Mary Phillips Marsh (1829-1918) is buried in the cemetery in Jefferson, Iowa. ( I became aware of this only a few months ago.) When I can walk to someone's grave, they start to become real to me. She was the daughter of Elijah and Ellen Thompson Phillips and was born in Warren County, Pennsylvania. Here is a quick lineage reminder: Celestia/ Minerva Jane/ Ina/ Doris/ Tom (my husband).
As the oldest child she probably kept busy in their home in little Russell, Pennsylvania (This town has gone by many names according to the town's website. In her obituary it is called Russellburg) This small village is located in the township of Pine Grove and is just over the state line from New York in the northwest area of Pennsylvania. Pine Grove is often mentioned as the place of residence in census records. She had seven younger siblings. Her dad, Elijah, was a farmer and her mother, Ellen, was undoubtedly kept busy with the care of this family. Remember, Aunt Fanny, youngest child of Celestia. In 1941 she wrote about life in those early days as had been told to her by her mother.
Aunt Fanny's Research.
It appears that Celestia grew up in this area of Pennsylvania. In 1850 when the census was taken, she was 19 years old. Then next year on December 31, 1851 she married Richard Marsh. I wonder if there was any special celebration for the New Year about to break.
In the nine or so years before moving to Illinois in 1860, four children had been born to Celestia and Richard. The third child, Dwight, wrote about this move in papers from 1941. See Pennsylvania to Iowa 1860. The family lived around Princeton, Illinois for approximately 16 years before moving on to Greene County, Iowa in May of 1876. While in that area they had two more children, Emmett (1870) and Fanny (1873). Prior to Fanny's birth, their daughter, Florence died in 1872) Then in 1876, they lost 6 year old, Emmett. This was the year, they moved to Greene County in May. I do not know if Emmett died before or after their move. Their oldest son, Joseph Merritt, had married the year before the move to Adelia Mudge on March 3, 1875. Our direct line ancestor, Minerva Jane, would have been around 16. Once in Greene County she met Edward M. Reeder. (We all know where that lead.)
When I was reading about the Reeders, I learned they lived south of Jefferson. Guess where Celestia, Richard, and Marsh children ( including Minerva Jane) moved to in 1876. Yep, to a farm south of Jefferson. I wonder how long it took them to meet. Our Minerva Jane Marsh and Edward M. Reeder married December 22, 1880.
Celestia's husband, Richard, died in 1885 about 9 or 10 years after coming to Greene County. This is probably the reason for their move into Jefferson.
Grandma Celestia, also called Celia died just a few weeks before my mother-in-law (her great-granddaughter) was born in 1918.