Thursday, July 31, 2008

William Seborn and Cassie Evans Cornelius

Here are photos of my great grandparents -- William S. and Cassie Evans Cornelius -- courtesy of my Uncle Eldon. The photo of my grandmother states it was taken in 1920. I assume the photo of my grandfather was taken around the same time.

William was a grandson of Henry Profitt Cornelius.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Just back from Nebraska

We returned late Tuesday afternoon from our trip to Nebraska. We met up with cousins Sarah and Amanda Johnson in Grand Island and then some genealogy work in the Ravenna area. We toured the two Ravenna cemeteries and found the Horak Cemetery, an old Czech cemetery located out in the country north of town. Sarah found her great great grandfather’s grave – John Helebrant.

We then moved on to North Platte and met up with Eldon and Jeanie and then on to the Madrid area. We saw a number of cousins (Kevin was a little overwhelmed with the size of his family!) and then found time to drive up towards Scottsbluff to meet Mack and Sandy.

Kevin said the highlight of his trip was seeing Chimney Rock (plus Scotts Bluff National Monument, Castle Rock, Courthouse and Jail Rocks).

We then started our trip back. First we laid some flowers on Dad’s grave (saw Rod’s wife Robin in the Grant flower shop).

We then drove back to Ravenna for a little more family detective work. Sarah and Amanda stayed on in Ravenna for a little bit and then they headed home.

On our way back, we stopped at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library in West Branch, Iowa.

Here’s a little picture tour of our trip. I’m adding more pictures as I sort through them.

It was great to see everyone again. Eldon gave me a lot of family pictures that I’ll be adding to this weblog.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Henry Profitt Cornelius

[Update: August 10, 2009] There seems to be some uncertainty regarding the correct spelling of Henry's middle name. The name is actually his mother's maiden name and her records show the spelling as Proffitt.  As I wrote below, one of Henry's sons was named Jesse with the same middle name. Today I found Jesse's gravesite and it also shows his middle name spelled as Proffitt. I am going to assume this spelling is the correct spelling as opposed to what Henry's record shows. Incidentally, I received photos of the gravesite of Henry's parents -- John and Patcey.

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I had a fun day today. I fulfilled a long-held desire to take a short trip back in time and visit the gravesite of my third great grandfather. His name was Henry Profitt Cornelius
Henry was born on March 16, 1806 in Christian County, Kentucky and was the oldest of eight children. He was first married to Mary Ann Quisenberry in 1828. They had ten children together with the eighth child being my second great grandfather, Jesse Profitt Cornelius. (“Profitt” was Henry’s mother’s maiden name and was used these two times as a middle name.) Mary Ann passed away in 1845 and is buried in the Hittle Grove Cemetery, Tazewell County, Illinois. Henry married Mary Ann’s cousin, Catherine Quisenberry, in 1847 and they had eight more children together. Thus, Henry fathered 18 children!
Henry passed away at the ripe old age of 89 on August 29, 1895. Catherine passed away in 1902. They are buried together in Mt. Hope Cemetery near Foosland, Illinois.
I became aware of Henry’s existence when I read about him in my Uncle Jay’s Roots and Shoots book. It became somewhat of an obsession for me to find Foosland and to find Henry’s grave. In fact, Dad and I talked a number of times about driving down to find the location, but his declining health made the trip unlikely.
I’m on a four-week sabbatical from work and I decided this morning to make the trip. I packed a cooler of water and energy drinks and made the trip to Foosland. Actually, it’s not a bad drive at all and certainly one we should have made years earlier. The town is “off the beaten path” and it took several turns before I found the county road leading to it. It took even more time to locate the cemetery. I had to ask some locals to point me in the right direction.
But I found it!
Foosland is located northwest of Champaign which is home to the University of Illinois. I thought my father’s hometown of Madrid was small, but I believe Foosland is even smaller. It’s accessible by county roads only.
The cemetery is very well maintained. It took me about an hour to find his tombstone. Since they both passed away over 100 years ago, I was fearful of not finding the grave at all or finding a tombstone that was weather-worn or in very poor condition. To my relief and surprise, their tombstone is in excellent condition.
Here are some photos that I took. I thought of Dad today as I was sitting at the tombstone.