Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Foleys of Quincy Illinois

Just as I reported in my last post, branches of the tree take you on travels that you never expected.
Our written family history relates a Foley who fought in the Spanish-American War. He was awarded, according to Daniel E. Foley, my great grandfather, a land grant of 320 acres in the Quincy Illinois area.
My daughter goes to college 75 miles from Quincy. When I took her back to school the Monday after Thanksgiving, I traveled on to Quincy. I stopped at the City Library and at the Adams County Courthouse. I checked both land records and vital statistics.
In the County Recorders Office I reviewed hundreds of land grants issued by the federal government in the early to mid 1800s. The land grants for the Spanish American War vets were created by the Act of 1846. I reviewed them all and found no one named Foley.
I had a little better luck in vital statistics finding at least one gem in the rough to look further into. On October 5, 1856, John Foley married Ellen Kelly in Adams County. On June 1910, John J. Foley married Julia Dunbar. Perhaps a father and son?
In the death records I found a John Foley who died on February 25, 1892. He died in Galesburg Illinois while under the influence of chloroform which was being administered while his thumb was being amputated. He was a brakesman for the rail road and had mashed his thumb. This John Foley had once lived at Camp Point, near Quincy and in Adams County.
Our history also relates a Foley who became a priest in the Quincy area. I found one death record for a Monsignor M. J. Foley from February 17, 1941. This would fit within our family history as it was written in the 1930s. The Msgr was a chaplain at the Illinois Soldiers and Sailors Home. He was living in Quincy at the time that he died but he was buried in Jersey City, New Jersey. This may have been at a cemetery for a particular religious order. His death certificate lists his father as Martin Foley which probably rules the Msgr out.
The land grant can be requested from the federal government but in order to do so, we need to find the Foley who received it first. My trip to Quincy was interesting but inconclusive.

The Foleys of Indiana

As this search for family history has developed, there seem to be many new branches in the family tree to learn about.

Before this search started we knew little about some of our ancestors and nothing about any who had moved to Indiana. This has now changed.

When Michael Foley passed away in 1889, the newspaper account of his passing and funeral indicated that he was survived by a son William in Terre Haute, Indiana. Yesterday I started the process of learning about William.

The 1900 U S Census for Vigo County, Indiana, shows William M Foley living in Terre Haute born in Illinois in January 1865. Both of his parents had been born in Ireland. The item that clinched it for me that this was our William was that his occupation was a switchman for the railroad.
It goes into more detail providing information that his spouse was Annie, who was born in Ireland in May 1868 and came to the US in 1887. Their only son in 1900 was Thomas, who was "at school". All could read and write and owned their home without mortgage. They have a bigger family at this time but the census page ends with Thomas.
The 1910 U S Census provides a better look. Still in Vigo County, William and Annie were now married for 24 years, had children Thomas, age 22, now a clerk in a hardware store; Mary, 22; Florence, age 15; and Carminietta, age 9. Only Carminietta was born in Indiana.
By 1920, all of the children had left the nest. Thomas had married Margaret and moved back to Cook County Illinois, where he had been born.
Another branch in the tree is getting filled with leaves of information. And a new destination for a field trip is in order. The Fort Wayne Public Library has one of the best genealogical collections in the US. The date is set for March 10, 2006 in order to enjoy a hockey game there that weekend. And we hope to pass through other Illlinois locations on the way.