Saturday, May 28, 2011

Decoration Day

I hope each of you enjoys your holiday, but how many remember when it was called Decoration Day? AND, how many know how it got started. As Wikipedia so nicely puts it -- Began as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the civil war.


Monday, May 2, 2011


Ira Ames married Cornelia Palon in Albion Dane County Wisconsin in 1868.

If you can help with my Palon research please contact me at

© 2011, copyright Nancy Fermazin

Cornlia Ames Tragic Sad Death

Tradgedy on the Homestead: Lake Koshkonong (the-lake-we-live-on), Wisconsin, March 1893
Cornelia died about a month after childbirth, possibly from malnutrition and pneumonia. Her baby also died. She left behind 11 children. Things were very tough for this prairie family after the Civil War and Ira was not well himself suffering from effects of measles pneumonia he had in the War. Possibly he was very depressed and you know they did not recognize depression or treat it medically at this time.  I may have been too harsh on Ira her husband and will in due time fix this. I look back to when I first wrote this story and did the research and I may have been too harsh on Ira. 
This is how I imagine my great grandparents, Ira and Cornelia Ames lived in Lake Koshkonong. The story is fictionalized based upon the history of this family's survival on the prairie. It was taken from newspaper articles, Civil War papers, and the family Bible.
Ten-year old Nancy, hovering over her mother, Cornelia, sobbed uncontrollably. Her hazel eyes were almost swollen shut as she cried out, “Ma Ma… Ma….” With a flask in his left hand, her father, Ira pushed open the door of the homestead and stomped in, his unshaven beard growth of a week beaded with little drops of melting frost. He dropped his gloves to the floor as he rushed over to Nelia’s (Cornelia) side, leaving tracks of white slush on the floor of the one-room shack they called home. Most of the year, he eked out a living fishing on Lake Koshkonong, but in winter he hunted for game. The sobbing children looked fearfully at their father, saying in unison, “Paw, do something.” Nelia Ames lay stiff and cold, breathing noisily, with barely a rise and fall in her small chest. She had been lying on the bed in the corner of the room, listless and sick with fever and cough for the last two weeks. 
All of the garden vegetables were gone. The last of the wild turkeys had been eaten one month earlier. Only a lonely crust of bread remained on the table with a few scattered crumbs on the floor. Little Caroline, born six weeks before, on January 21st, had died two days earlier from prematurity, lack of nourishment, and proper care. In those days, when a child died, there were no boards to make a coffin. Relatives dug a pit and laid logs across the top. With a crosscut saw, one man in the pit and one on top, they ripped planks out of the logs for the coffin. Because of the family life, abject poverty, baby Caroline was laid to rest in a shallow grave under the snow in Otter Creek Cemetery. 
“Come children, we have to get some help here. Hiram and George, you two get some coal and wood and get a fire goin’.” Irritated, Ira shouted, “Nancy, quit blubbering and gather up the little ones or I’m going to send you for the doctor. I’ve got to get some help for your ma. Be back in a few hours or so,” he said as he slammed the door shut, trudging out into the cold. 
Ira Ames homesteaded a piece of land near Lake Koshkonong in south-central Wisconsin. Bringing the family to live on Lake Koshkonong had been a good idea in the beginning. Fishing for a living would provide support for the family. Green ash, white oak, and silver maple groves dotted the horizon. Hog pastures, wild turkeys, and lanes rutted out by cattle tramping through the area were common in this part of Wisconsin. Bald eagles and osprey nesting in the trees, ruby throated hummingbirds and white sparrows were numerous. Squirrels, raccoons, chipmunks, coyotes, and white tailed deer abounded. In the spring, wild strawberries and fresh flowers dotted the landscape: lilac, mauve, yellow and white crocus with their white central stripe along the leaves, fragrant grayish-blue morningstars with pinkish-white eyes, and deep purple violets covered the landscape. The marshlands abounded with wild rice which grew seven feet high above the water, and so thick all over that it was difficult to push a canoe through it. Mallards The marshlands were sprinkled with wild ducks of all colors, mostly mallards. 
For the family of Ira Daniel Ames, the first part of 1893, was the worst year of their lives. Life was unbearable.
1893 was not a good year. The winters on Lake Koshkonong were always severe; the year of 1893 was an especially bad winter. The country was in a depression. The depression of the 1890s was on a par with the Great Depression of the 1930s in its impact on employment. In some places it began before 1890. An agricultural crisis hit Southern cotton-growing regions and the Great Plains in the late 1880s. Twenty-five percent of the nation's railroads were bankrupt; in some cities, unemployment exceeded 20 or even 25 percent. People of different incomes experienced the depression in markedly different ways. In the bitter winter months, some poor families starved and others became wanderers. Vagrants, out of work, crisscrossed the countryside, walking or hiding on freight trains. Many appeared at back doors pleading for work or food. People accused those who were out of work of laziness. Some of the unemployed blamed themselves. The newspapers were full of reports of despair and suicides due to these circumstances. 
Ira Ames had fought in the War Between the States in Company D, 8th United States Infantry, Regular Army for several years. He came home a broken and disturbed man. His regiment had lost a total of 280 men: 6 officers and 53 enlisted men killed and mortally wounded, 2 officers, and 219 enlisted men died from disease. 
After returning home from the war, Ira met and fell in love with a beautiful young woman, Cornelia Palon, feeling that with love he could overcome his depression. They married in Albion, Wisconsin on June 25, 1868. Work was hard to come by after the war. The first years were particularly difficult. Ira worked as a farmer in 1870 in Albion. By 1880, he was listed in the census as a day laborer living in Milton, Wisconsin. In 1890, the Ameses were living eight miles north at Gebo Point, on Lake Koshkonong. During this time the demons came back to haunt Ira and he began to take up the bottle. The family suffered greatly from their father’s drinking habits. Things had not always been like this. Ira had dreams, dreams of settling down, buying a farm, raising a family…. That was in the beginning.
As the children came, their situation became more difficult. The first born was Charles Henry in October 1870, Beth Frances in January 1872, Frankie in October 1872, Chauncey in 1873, George Elliott in 1878, Hiram Edison in September of 1880, Rosie Belle in 1881, Nancy Theo in 1883, William Scott in 1884, and Marion Frances in 1889. Marvin Franklin was born November 22, 1890 and the last child, Caroline, was born in the year 1893, making twelve children in all. The two oldest were no longer at home. Frankie, Chauncey, and Rosey Belle had passed. 
The family could not survive without food and heat during this severe winter of 1893. Without proper care, the 12 by 18 foot, one-room house, became a shack of wide, rotting, gray boards running up and down with cracks in the walls allowing the brisk, cold air in and the heat to seep through the openings. Their meager furnishings consisted of a table sitting in the corner covered with a red cloth, two beds, the family Bible open to Psalms on the lone dresser, and a shiny black, polished cook stove in the center of the room. The family lived in a lonely place about 80 rods (half an acre or half a football field) away from the nearest neighbor. Ira began to drink more and more and worked less frequently, and cared less and less about the family. He attempted to work as a fisherman, but was not doing well during this winter.
In March of 1893 life became so difficult for this family that the mother, Cornelia, died of pneumonia, starvation, and frost bite. The doctor came and pronounced her dead. He found six children, starving and freezing in the “shack”. He called the authorities. If they hadn’t intervened these children would have been dead with their mother. They found the children scantily clothed, one little girl having on only a calico dress with no underclothing, and a little boy having on only knee breeches all torn to strings. The neighbors came and took them into their homes. The two oldest boys, ages 12 and 14, were sent out to make it on their own and the four youngest were sent to the orphanage in Sparta, Wisconsin.
Two years later, in March 1895, Ira died in despair and depression of a broken heart. Life had taken its toll. Nelia was dead, the children were gone, and fishing was poor. The demons had returned and he had begun to take up the bottle again. His spirit was broken, battered and bruised. All he had were memories.
1. Wisconsin Historical Society 
2. Caswell, Janesville Gazette. Reporting on the homeless.
3. Jacob Covey. “Legal Tender”. From Coxey’s Magazine, “Cause and Cure”, December 1897.
4. Wisconsin, Civil War Regiment Histories. Wisconsin Historical Society.
5. Janesville Gazette, March 7, 1893, page 1. Article titled “Mother Froze to Death Babes Barely Saved.
6. Cornelia Ames Family Bible now in possession of Nancy Fermazin Peralta, Buena Park, California.
7. Janesville Gazette, March 9, 1893, p. 4, column 3. Article “Ira Ames is a Dead Man Indeed, Traded his wife’s garden as boot for swapping horses.”

© 2010, copyright Nancy Fermazin

Death Certificate for Cornelia Palon

 Found this record indexed on where they had compiled information from new family search. It is the death certificate record. I wish I could find the birth record with the maiden name as FINN
This was such a tragic death.

Cornelia Palan Ames

First Name:Cornelia
Middle Name:Palan
Last Name:Ames
Birth Location:Jefferson Co., Wis.
View On Map
Death Location:Township Of Milton, Rock Co., Wis.
View On Map
Death Date:03 Mar 1893
Birth Date:1848
Occupation:Fisherman'S Wife
Marital Status:Unknown
Spouse's Name:Ira Ames
Father's Name:Palan
Indexing Project (Batch) Number:B59795-2
System Origin:Wisconsin-EASy
Source Film Number:1311653
Reference Number:p 16 cn 02289 91
Collection:Family Search Record Collection
Hard Copy Certificate
Source Information
Source:Family Search
Years:ca.1800 to 1985 worked with Family Search to integrate access to millions of vital, immigration, military and census records from the US and abroad. These historically significant records were digitized from a variety of sources. Original images are available in most cases.

Source:  FHL: Film number: 1311653


Name:Cornelia Ames
Death Date:3 Mar 1893
Page #:0016
Sequence #:004304
Level Info:Wisconsin Vital Records Death Index.

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Source Information: Wisconsin Deaths, 1820-1907 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.
Original data: Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services. Wisconsin Vital Record Index, pre-1907. Madison, WI, USA: Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services Vital Records Division.
This database indexes over 435,000 deaths recorded in the state of Wisconsin prior to 1907. 

Treasure Chest Thursday

Bible  Ira Daniel Ames (1842-1895) Cornelia Palon (1847-1893)

This family Bible belonged to grandmother Nancy Theo AMES.   I presume it originally belonged to her mother, Cornelia Palon. It is an American Bible Society Bible dated 1875 with the information below written in it. It is hard to read in some parts because the handwriting is faded. Any information on these AMES or PALON families of Albion, Dane County, Wisconsin would be appreciated. 

Transcription of Bible pages:

BIRTHS Albion, Dane Co, Wisconsin
Ira Daniel AMES was born July 4, 1842
Cornelia Aeilia PALON was born April 29, 1847
Charles Henry AMES was born October 5, 1870
Ruth Frances AMES was born January 11, 1872
Chauncy Elmer AMES was born November 15, 1873

George Elbert AMES was born March 7, 1878[?] [or 1876?] in Johnstown, Rock Co, Wisconsin
Hiram Eldson or Edson AMES was born September 24, 1880 in Milton, Rock Co, Wisconsin
Nancy Theo AMES was born January 4, 1883 in Milton, [same]
William Scott AMES was born October 9, 1884 in Milton, [same]
Rosie B. AMES was born March 14, 1889 in Milton, [same]
Marvin Franklin AMES was born November 2, 1890 in Rock Co., Wisconsin

25 Ira D. AMES married to
21 Cornelia A. PALON on June 25, 1868

27 Otis E. BROWN was married to
15 Frankie R. AMES October 13, 1887

[Inserted here between the marriages:]
Mrs. C AMES died March 12, 1829
Mrs. C AMES died March 2, 1893

25 Charles H. AMES was married to
20 Mary SKEIGELMEYER September 15, 1895

27 Hiram E. AMES was married to
29 Mary JOHNSON December 4, 1906

Ludwig HANSEN was married to Nancy Theo AMES March 16, 1904
Blanche HANSEN was married to Bill STEVENS July 25, 1942

Mrs. C. AMES died March 2, 1893
Chancy E. AMES died May 10, 1886
Frankie B. BROWN died October 27, 1891
Ira D. AMES died September 21, 1895
Nancy Theo AMES HANSEN WORTHING died March 30, 1928
James PALON died August 24, 1887
Sarah S. CAMPBELL died August 1, 1882
[There is one other name which looks like:]
_____ W SCOUILLE or _______ W S COUILLE died November 15, 1852 (Note: In my research I have found a woman named Ruth Scoville Palmer who was a sister to Cornelia Palon according to a newspaper article. Also, Cornelia Palon was living with the Scoville's in 1850 but I have not figured out the connection.)

Source:  Bible now in posession of the author. Was passed down from Cornelia Palon Ames to Nancy Theo Ames Worthing to Grace Worthing Fermazin to Nancy R. Fermazin.

© 2010, copyright Nancy Fermazin

Research Notes on Cornelia Palon

I think my next step in researching Cornelia Palon is to look for the FINN family in Dane County Wisconsin and then research the churches looking for the marriage of Cornelia Palon and Ira Daniel Ames.

Cornelia or Orthera Palon: Who is she?

I have been researching my great great grandmother Cornelia A. Palon.
Objective of Research Problem: Finding the parents of my great-great grandmother Cornelia A. Palen

Maybe I found her. If anyone has any suggestions please offer:
Who is her mother?
Who is her father?
Why is she living with the Scoville's in 1850?

Ruth Palmer said in a newspaper article in 1893 that Mrs. Ira Ames (Cornelia A Palon) was my "eldest sister". (Ruth Palmer nee Scoville per IGI)

1850 living with George and Mary Scoville in Brooklyn Greene Wisconsin
1860 not with the George Scoville family. George is now married to Altheah. Where would a 13 year old girl be?

Cornelia Palon: Born: 9 April 1847 Died: 7 March 1893

1. Born 1847, no state listed
2. 1850 US Federal Census lists Name: Orthera C Palin Age: 3 Estimated Birth Year: abt 1847 Birth Place: Michigan
3. Ames Society has birth for Cornelia Palon as Roland,Houghton, Michigan but they gave no reference
4. 1870 US Federal Census as Caroline Ames born in Pennsylvania
5. 1880 US Federal Census as Nelia Ames born in Michigan
6. This is same person as Bible list marriage date for Cornelia Palon and Ira Ames as 25 Jun 1868. Death Certificate states born in Jefferson County Wisconsin.
7. Through deductive reasoning came to conclusion Cornelia A. Palon was half sister to Ruth Scovell (Janesville Gazette article) and through inductive reasoning that Cornelia A. Palon may be Orthera C. Palon (1850 US Federal Census) born in Michigan.

Janesville Gazette: 6 May 1893
Mrs. Ruth Palmer Gets Word After Four Months of Mrs. Ames' Fate:
Details concerning the death of Mrs. Ira Ames near Milton Junction by starvation and exposure last -winter are sought by Mrs. Ruth Palmer, of Lyniien, Whatcom county, Washington. Mrs. Palmer has just hoard of the death through a. paragraph from the Gazette reprinted in Portland, Oregon, papers and says: "I suppose her to be my Elder sister whom I have notheard from in years." It will be remembered that Mrs. Ames and her little daughter died in a ramshackle cabin having been with, out food for several days. The child was buried in a rough box by the father.&nbsp;<strong>[Sister of Cornelia Palon Ames. Found her in IGI as Ruth Scoville]</strong>

1850 US Federal Census Brooklyn, Greene, Wisconsin</strong>
Cornelia A. Palon (1847 - 1893) born in ? Michigan on 09 Apr 1847 and died 7 March 1893 in Lake Koshkonong, Wisconsin. She married Ira Daniel Ames on 25 Jun 1868 in Albion Dane Wisconsin.
They had 10 children ~ Charles Henry Ames, Frankie R. Ames, Chauncey Elbert Ames, George Elliott Ames, Hiram Edison Ames, Rosey Belle Ames, Nancy Theo Ames, William Scott Ames, Marvin Franklin Ames, and Baby Girl (Caroline) Ames.
They lived in Dane County, Rock County, and Jefferson County Wisconsin.

<strong>I found the Orthera C. Palin in the 1850 US Federal Census Brooklyn, Greene, Wisconsin indexed on as Orthera C Palin. She is living with George Scoville and Mary Scoville and:</strong>

George Scovell age 37, born in 1813 in Connecticut, white male, Farmer
Mary Scovell age 32 born 1818 in Kentucky, white female
George Scovell age 11 born in Connecticut
James age 10 born in Connecticut
Amisy age 9 born in Connecticut
Mary L Scovell age 2 months born in Wisconsin
Orthera C. Palin age 3 born in Michigan
Julia Scovelle age 77 born in 1773 in Vermont

<strong>Source Citation:&nbsp;</strong>Year: 1850; Census Place: Brooklyn, Green, Wisconsin; Roll
M432_999; Page: 271; Image: 152.
<strong>Source Information:</strong> 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Seventh Census of the United States, 1850. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1850. M432, 1,009 rolls.

I found Orthera C. Palin's sister Roth Scovell in the 1860 US Federal Census in Magnolia Dane Wisconsin.&nbsp;<strong>NO Cornelia A. Palin NO Orthera C. Palin in the household</strong>

George Scoville age 49 born in Connecticut, white male, Farmer Property value
$ 1800; Personal property value $ 500.
Autheah Scoville age 37 born in Vermont
Laura Scoville age 5 born in Wisconsin
Charles Scoville age 1 born in Wisconsin
George Scoville age 20 born in Connecticut, farm laborer
James Scoville age 19 born in Connecticut, farm laborer
Amisy Scoville age 18 born in Connecticut, farm laborer
Roth Scoville age 9 born in Wisconsin
Julia Mc Donald age 17 Servant born in New York
Source Citation:</strong>
<strong>Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Magnolia, Rock, Wisconsin; Roll M653_1430; Page: 453; Image</strong>: 458.
<strong>Source Information:</strong> 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2004. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Eighth Census of the United States, 1860. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1860. M653, 1,438 rolls.
<strong>Specific Problem</strong>
*Family Bible states born 9 April 1847. No state.
*Family Bible states married Ira D. Ames 25 June 1868.
*Census of 1850 states born in Michigan;
*Death Certificate states born in Jefferson County Wisconsin; Faintly on death certificate it indicates Cornelia Palon mother's maiden name was FINN (There were Finn's living in Dane County but could not find Cornelia with them)
*Census 1870 states born in Pennsylvania ; Enumerated as Caroline
*Census of 1880 states born in Michigan, Enumerated as Nelia
*Have researched Jefferson County Wisconsin and found no birth records. Born before civil records kept. No Palons/Palen/Palin etc living in Jefferson County in 1850. This conflicts with the 1850 census where Orthea C. Palin is living with Scovell family and conflicts with Bible records.
* Looked at marriage records for Green Co WI for 1865 on a hunch. No Ames/Palon Marriages, 1865-1876 FHL US/CAN Film  1266667
* No marriage records filmed by LDS for Albion, Dane, Wisconsin
* No vital records for Albion, Dane, WI filmed by LDS
*No birth records for Jefferson, County, WI prior to 1870 filmed by LDS
* No Palon, Ames, Scovell found in Index to marriages for Jefferson County WI, 1844-1887 FHL US/CAN Film  1275662 Item 4
* No 1850 state census for Greene County Wisconsin
* No church records prior to 1856 for Green County Wisconsin or Albion, Dane, Wisconsin; No Palon births;
* No Green County Wisconsin Deeds filmed
* Examined film 1008267 Marriage index for Houghton County Michigan and no Palon, Ames, or Scovell
* Examined LDS film 126746 for 1850 Houghton County Michigan Census and no Palon, Scoville, Ames
*Family Bible has an entry for George Scoville which is very faint and hard to read with age and acidity to the pages.

Additional Sources:
Family Bible
Janesville Gazette
Death Certificate: Cornelia Ames