Generation 1. Dorothy Olive Cary
My mother, Dorothy Olive Cary, was born 29 Jan 1918 in Ottumwa, Wapello County Iowa. Her parents were, Ralph Orion Cary and Hazel Belle Windle Cary. She was born near the end of World War I and near the end of a special era in our country. At the time she was born women still wore long skirts, long sleeved blouses. The mode of transportation was the Model A and Model T Ford and the speed of travel was probably forty miles per hour. People still had an alternative for transportation in the streetcar and the train.
As I look at the photographs of that time, I see people that had to handle life's problems the same as we do in the 1990's. But I see a slower pace and a simpler way of life. I'm sure that at the time it seemed "plenty fast enough". I am mentioning this simply to illustrate the large span of change that my mother has seen in her lifetime.
She married my father, Gerald Vuhr Craig when she was sixteen years old. She had me when she was seventeen years old.
Her life with my father was definitely not a stable or serene one. The constant moving during World War II could not have been easy, especially for a girl that came from a stable and normal family. Finally, in 1946 we moved to western Nebraska, and that is where their marriage ended. My father went on, to live his life elsewhere, and the three of us, Mom, David and I, stayed in that community.
There were many hard times for the three of us. I never had the slightest doubt that my mother would take care of things. Now I know there were plenty of times that SHE doubted it, but for me, I always had complete confidence in my mother. It was a heavy burden for a young woman, not quite thirty years old.
Her life in western Nebraska has been a good one. She met and married Laurel Lyndon Evelyn on 21 December 1950. This was our first taste of what stability and permanence can mean. Laurel loved me and David as much as his own son, Ronald Evelyn. He bought a house and we felt like normal people. There is no greater gift to a child than to love their mother. It allows so much room for the child to grow. This was the gift Laurel gave to me and David.
To paint a picture that my mother lived "happily ever after" would be erroneous. Life continued to have problems for her, just as it does for everyone. Laurel died in 1967 and she continued on alone until 1981. This is when she married Lee Potter Johnston. He and my mother have continued together. He, like my mom, comes from a special time. They work hard, are very independent, and are involved in many community activities. I am fortunate to have had the best stepfathers a person could ever have!
My mother has been involved in many organizations in her life. Business and Professional Women; Eastern Star; The National Society Of The Daughters Of American Revolution; Toastmistress Club; and of course her church, The Church Of Christ Scientist. In all of these she has not settled for being "just a member". She has been a leader in all of them. I think she inherited this trait from her Cary and Sanford ancestors. Most of them were the type of people that get involved in their state and local community affairs.
My mother has so many good characteristics that I would be hard pressed to pick one that I admire the most. I would like to mention her great perseverance. Even in the most trying times she has that great ability to "not give up". By living a long life she has had many burdens to endure. The greatest of these was when my brother, David Vinson Craig, died at the age of forty.
This tragedy tested her faith in God, however, I am happy to report that her faith endured and she persevered. She is from a special time and she is a special person. I consider myself most fortunate to have her for my mother. I couldn't have picked a BETTER mother!
I will sum it all by saying I am so proud and grateful that I am her daughter!
Generation 2. Ralph Orion Cary & Hazel Belle Windle
My maternal grandparents were Ralph Orion Cary and Hazel Belle Windle. Ralph was born 8 Dec 1893 in Nemaha County Kansas. Hazel was born 29 Nov 1896 in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County Iowa. They were married 9 May 1917 in Ottumwa, Wapello County Iowa. One month after their marriage, Ralph's mother Olive Sanford Cary died. This was the reason for my mother's middle name, Olive.
The last time I saw my grandmother alive was in May 1967. My stepfather, Laurel Evelyn had died and Grandma and Grandaddy came for the funeral. At the same time it was their Golden Wedding Anniversary. My Aunt Ruth hosted a celebration in Denver for that occasion. My brother, David and family, me and my family, and my mother were all together at Aunt Ruth's house. It was a grand time.
This couple was the one stable thing in my life when I was a child. In my childish mind, I knew I had these grandparents that were like everyone else. For this gift I will always be grateful to them. Now, as an adult, I realize that they had their struggles, problems, and heartaches, like everyone else. In my eyes and imagination, they were like an anchor for me to hang on to.
Grandma and Grandaddy were the type of people that took care of other people. Any family member that needed help or a place to stay knew there was a place at the Cary's. Many of the relatives were either born at their house or were born with my grandmother in attendance. My earliest memories are of when we lived with them on Pocohantas Street in Ottumwa, Iowa. I go past that house now and realize how small it is. There were times it was packed full of people and room was always found for them.
Ralph was always known to me as "Grandaddy". I don't recall ever calling him by any other name. He was a small man in stature, and was bald on top. He was a quiet man, and always had a pleasant countenance. He earned a living by being a meatcutter. I have a picture of him at about age twenty. He is standing outside a grocery store with his butcher's apron on. He is smiling a devilishly big smile. He was still working as a butcher well into the 1960's. During the Great Depression, he was the exception to the rule --- butchers were always needed --- even during depressions.
Grandma was what might now be called a forceful personality. She was strong, independent and very capable in all matters. I do not recall ever seeing Grandaddy drive a car. Grandma did all of the driving. She was the type that could take charge of any situation.
During the winter of 1961-1962 they came to Gering, Nebraska to stay for a few months. They were retired by then. I had an empty two room apartment in my house, so they lived there for the winter. What a grand memory that is, to remember three generations in one house. It was just for a short time, but I cherish it very much. Their stay was cut short by the news that Grandma's sister needed her. My great Aunt Frances was seriously ill, and Grandma, true to her personality, needed to go help her.
Ralph Cary died 10 May 1974 and Hazel Windle Cary died 26 April 1968. They are both buried in Ottumwa Cemetery in Ottumwa, Iowa.
This couple lived a long and good life together. Their formula was that they loved each other very much.
Generation 3. Francis Marion Cary & Olive May Sanford
Francis Marion Cary is one of my ancestors that seems to remain a mystery. I don't know much about him, because I haven't heard many stories about him. I have a picture of him that I look at from time to time. It is of him and his wife, Olive May Sanford Cary. They are standing in a yard, I suspect at their home or the home of his parents, Ezra and Margaret Forrest Cary. It probably is a family celebration, long forgotten, but thankfully, preserved in time. This is the ONLY picture I have of Olive May.
Francis Marion Cary was the only child of Ezra Cary and Margaret Forrest Cary. He was born 19 Sep 1870. I have not found the place of birth for Francis, but census records always state Iowa. He married Olive May Sanford on 27 Nov 1890 in Corning, Nemaha County Kansas.
On the 1887 Plat Map for Nemaha County I find the location of his father's farm near Corning. A neighboring farm is owned by P.Thompson. I suspect that P. Thompson is Olive May Sanford's uncle Preston Thompson. With this map I can almost see how these two young people met and fell in love. Another neighboring farm is owned by Abel Cary, Francis's grandfather.
I know that Francis was a successful building contractor. The occupation listed on his death certificate is carpenter, and that he was engaged in that occupation for thirty five years. On the1900 Census that is also his listed occupation.
Francis M. Cary was very close to his parents. When they moved from Corning to Galena, Kansas they moved as a family group. They also lived next door to each other there. From there they moved to Agency, Iowa and finally to Ottumwa, Iowa where they lived the remainder of their lives.
Olive May Sanford Cary was the oldest daughter of Charles Baker Sanford and Emma Jane Thompson Sanford. She was born 17 May 1873in Nemaha County Kansas. She had the misfortune to have diabetes before the discovery of insulin. At that time the only treatment was starvation. The theory was that food was the worst thing for diabetes, therefore, if you didn't eat much you would suffer less. She died 2 Jun 1917 and the cause was listed as "diabetic coma". Olive May was forty four years and fifteen days old. She is buried in Ottumwa Cemetery.
Olive May and Francis had nine children. Four preceded her in death, all of those were infants. Two were born and died while the family lived in Galena, Cherokee County Kansas. Two were born and died after the family moved to Iowa.
After Olive May died, Francis married again. His widow is listed as, Kathryn, on his death certificate. She was a widow that had at least two daughters. My great aunt, Esther Cary Chisman, told me that she and one of the daughters were school chums before the marriage. After the marriage that changed, and she was forced to go live with her older sister, Mabel, and her older brother, Ralph. Aunt Esther still felt the hurt of the stepdaughters having her home, and her father. It is pain she was never free of.
My mother, Dorothy Cary Johnston remembers seeing her grandfather, Francis, on the streetcar at various times as she was growing up. She recognized him, but he never recognized her. He was more or less estranged from his family after his second marriage. As in other cases I have encountered, the second wife seemed to be very powerful, and sometimes very possessive.
Francis Marion Cary died 10 Nov 1933 in Ottumwa, Iowa. He died at his home at 213 S. Ward Street. The cause of death is listed as "carcinoma of the liver and pancreas". He was buried 12 Nov 1933 in Shaul Cemetery.
Generation 4. Ezra Cary & Margaret Forrest
Ezra Cary was born 12 Dec 1846 in Delaware County Indiana. He was the only surviving son of Abel and Elizabeth Stansbury Cary. His life's journey took him west. First to Mills County, Iowa with his parents, to Nemaha County Kansas, to Cherokee County Kansas and finally to Wapello County Iowa.
He was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church for many years and I have been told that he was a "no Nonsense" type of minister. On the 1900 Cherokee County Census his occupation is listed as carpenter. I suspect that being a minister was his "favorite" occupation, but being a carpenter was what paid the bills.
On December 29, 1869 Ezra Cary and Margaret Forrest were married by Reverend G.M. Dash. The wedding took place at the home of Harry Fisher in Mills County Iowa. The "disinterested" party that witnessed the marriage license was Margaret's older brother, John Forrest. I will never know the whole story in this lifetime, but I wouldn't be surprised if John and Margaret were living and working with the Fishers and Margaret met Ezra and romance bloomed. One of the things I enjoy about genealogy is trying to reconstruct the scenario of events. It makes the people more real to me.
Margaret was the sixth child, and the third daughter of William and Catherine McGlaughlin Forrest. She was born 4 May 1850 in Wapello County Iowa. I find her father, William, listed on the Iowa 1846 State Census. Iowa was admitted as a State 28 Dec 1846 so William was there from the very beginning of IOWA.
Ezra and Margaret had only one child, Francis Marion Cary. They were a close family that lived and worked and moved together. Where I find one family, I usually find the other close by.
During the years that Ezra and Margaret lived in Nemaha County Kansas, Ezra served as a State Representative. This was in 1890, the same year that his son, Francis married Olive May Sanford.
There is another family story (with absolutely no documentation) that tells about Ezra being a compatriot of Carrie Nation. He "physically" demonstrated his abhorrence of alcohol at the local saloons and was run out of town. I have not found any evidence of this happening, however, given the times, and the conviction of Ezra, I tend to believe it COULD have happened.
I have my grandfather's Bible and it was given to him by HIS grandfather, Ezra. Inside the front cover is a sample of Ezra's writing as he wrote to his grandson. It was apparently a Christmas gift or for some other special occasion. At the time I suppose a toy would have been a more popular gift, but the Bible has survived, and I am grateful to have it.
I believe Ezra was a man of strong conviction, that he loved his wife and family, and believed in getting involved in life. As I look at pictures of this couple, I see a rather large man that has a self-assured air about him, and Margaret is a small woman and has that look of strength that women get after years of life.
Margaret died before her husband. She died 26 Sep 1927 in Ottumwa, Iowa. She was survived by only one sister, so she was nearly the last of her immediate family.
Ezra spent his last days in the I.O.O.F. Home in Mason City, Iowa. He died 22 Jul 1934. He outlived both his wife and his son, Francis. Margaret and Ezra are buried in the beautiful Ottumwa, Iowa Cemetery located on Church Street.
Generation 5. Abel Cary & Elizabeth Stansbury
Abel Cary was born 23 November 1823 in Sidney, Shelby County, Ohio. He was the 11th child of Ephraim and Abigail Watson Cary. His order of birth is somewhat questionable in that there is a great deal of confusion about his father's family. I have communicated with many other descendants of Ephraim and Abigail. The family has been put in order using various records from many people.
Abel moved with his parents to Delaware County Indiana when he was around ten years old. He remained there for eleven years. In 1852 he went to Mills County Iowa where he remained, with the exception of five years spent in Kansas. I found Abel Cary farming in Nemaha County Kansas in 1887, so at least some of those five years were in that county.
"In 1853 Abel entered land in Mills County. It was in Township 72 Range 40. This was the 7th year after the Indian Treaty and the 6th year after the Indians were removed." Abel went to Mills County Iowa with four brothers. Those four brothers were Shepherd Cary, Ephraim Cary Jr., John M. Cary, and David Watson Cary.
"Abel Cary held the office of county supervisor of Mills County and is active in discharging the duties of the township officers the greater part of the time. He has been an influential man in his neighborhood for many years." This quote is from the "History Of Mills County", 1881.
On 29 Feb 1844 Abel and Elizabeth Stansbury were married in Muncie, Delaware County Indiana. The minister that performed the marriage ceremony was John W. Peyton. Thus began a life together that would produce eight children, among them my g-g-grandfather, Ezra Cary. Only five would survive to adulthood.
I have visited the North Grove Cemetery in Mills County Iowa. There I find the graves of Abel and Elizabeth and three of their children. I also find the grave of Abel's brother Shepherd and his brother Ephraim. It is a peaceful and beautiful old cemetery. At one time it was called the "Cary Burying Ground". This was because the cemetery was on land donated by Abel Cary.
As John and I drove around the countryside in that area we tried to imagine which farm was Abel and Elizabeth's. It would have to be near the cemetery, but things change in a hundred years so it would be hard to find without the exact legal description.
At the bottom of the road that leads to the cemetery there is a little roadside park. As I sat there under some huge old oak trees, I felt that my ancestors probably saw these same trees and perhaps played under them. I felt connected to my ancestors.
Elizabeth Stansbury Cary died 25 Apr 1863. She had lost a baby girl just six months earlier and is buried near little Adella in the North Grove Cemetery. Two other infants are buried there also. I have found several references that state her death date as 1873, however, the old original headstone on her grave in North Grove Cemetery clearly says 1863.
Elizabeth's sister, Deborah was married to Ephraim Cary, Jr. and I suspect that is how Elizabeth met Abel. On the 1850 Census Elizabeth's place of birth is listed as Virginia. This is all I knew until I corresponded with a "cousin" that now lives in Mexico. She is a descendant of Casiah, Abel's sister. On her family group sheet was a place of birth for both Elizabeth and Deborah. It was Monongalia County, West Virginia. The 1850 Census was correct though, West Virginia was not separated from Virginia until 1863. Elizabeth was born there 28 Dec 1826, the daughter of Nathan and Phebe Griggs Stansbury.
After Elizabeth's death, Abel married Mrs. Irena Hoyt. This marriage ended in divorce shortly after. He married again to Mrs. Susannah Wheeler. They had one son, Frank I. Cary. In Abel's Will, he provided for his widow's welfare --- with the strong stipulation that she NOT remarry. His younger son, Frank, was well provided for also, as long as he remained with his mother and took care of her.
Another interesting feature of Abel's Will is that he deducted the amount of money his children had borrowed from him while he was alive. Each child had borrowed and each child had it deducted from their share of the estate.
Abel's life illustrates, to me, the exciting time of the formation of our country through "Manifest Destiny". From the "wilds of western Ohio", to Indiana, to Iowa, to Kansas and back to Iowa, his life's journey covered a vibrant and opportunistic time in our history.
Generation 6. Ephraim Cary & Abigail Watson
Ephraim Cary is a very important link in my Cary family history. My earliest efforts in this endeavor produced plenty of information about the "Plymouth Pilgrim", John Cary who came to this country around 1630. His second son was named Francis. I felt there had to be a connection with our family since my great grandfather was named Francis Cary.
I could find histories that connected from John Cary down to Ezra Cary that was born in 1735. I had a direct line from me back to Abel Cary born in 1823. It was that one link between Ezra Cary of 1735 and Abel Cary of 1823. I spent many hours at the libraries trying to find this definite link.
In all of the information there was one son of Ezra that was rather aloof and removed from the rest of the family. One family history said "he moved to Indiana and no more was ever known about him." This man turned out to be my "missing" link, Ephraim Cary.
Finally, I contacted the right person in Oberlin, Ohio, William B. Saxbe. William is a descendant of Ephraim's brother, Cephas Cary. He knew about my Ephraim and finally I had my link confirmed. From that point it was an adventure in contacting fellow descendants of Ephraim and Abigail Cary. There are plenty of them, and they are scattered all over the world.
Ephraim is still somewhat of a mystery to me. He and Abigail were landowners in Ohio and Indiana, they had a large family of sixteen children, left many descendants, and yet I know very little about him as a person. I suspect he was a "low profile" type of a man. One that simply lived day to day by working hard and doing the right things, but not making any momentous records for me to find.
The family apparently moved from Shelby County Ohio to Delaware County Indiana after November 1831. The records state that their youngest son, David, was born then in Ohio. One of their older sons, Shepherd, was married in Indiana in 1836, so the family came to Indiana between those years.
Ephraim was born 22 Jun 1780 in Washington County Pennsylvania. He was the 4th child of Ezra Cary and Lydia Thompson Cary. Circa 1802/1802 he married Abigail Watson. He died 20 Dec 1864 in Perry Township, Delaware County Indiana. He and Abigail are buried in the New Burlington Cemetery in Delaware County Indiana.
Abigail Watson was born 16 Sep 1783. Her birthplace is listed on one Census as Pennsylvania and on another one as Virginia, and then there is always the possibility that it is NEITHER! Census records are better than nothing, but sometimes they have led me astray.
What I DO know about her is that she raised sixteen children, and that is a wonderful memorial to her. In a time when the mortality rate for women was very high, she survived for seventy eight years. She died 29 Dec 1861 in Burlington Township, Delaware County Indiana.
Abigail Watson Cary is one of my ancestresses that intrigues me. There is so little known about her that she remains a "mystery woman" to me.
Generation 7 Ezra Cary,Jr. & Lydia Thompson
My 5th great grandparents, Ezra Cary,Jr and Lydia Thompson Cary, were pretty much a mystery to me. Its as if the fact that they were grandchildren of the great "record keepers" of New England kept them from continuing the tradition, just as the younger generation TODAY thinks that what their parents and grandparents do is quite unnecessary. This is strictly my own opinion with absolutely no evidence to back it up. It just seems that when the population began moving west, the records became scarce and more of a challenge to find.
I have been fortunate to find MANY Cary cousins that are descended from this couple. We correspond and share information as it is found. We are scattered from one end of our country to the other, and one cousin lives in Mexico. Thanks to these people I have learned a bit more about Ezra and Lydia.
Ezra Cary's birth date and place, remains a mystery to me. From a letter written by Luther F. Cary in 1957 I am "tentatively" convinced that he was born in Morris County New Jersey AFTER his parents moved to Morris County.
His uncle, Daniel Cary, had a large farm extending from Black River eastward running up the mountain slope on Succusunna Plains in Morris County, New Jersey. Apparently Ezra's parents accompanied Daniel to be part of this new opportunity.
Putting aside the mystery of Ezra's actual birth date and place I HAVE learned some interesting things about him. Some time after 1775 and before 1780 he and Lydia moved to Western Pennsylvania in Washington County. He served in the Pennsylvania Militia from that county in 1781-1783. After the American Revolution was over, he, with his family, went with the first settlers to Marietta, Ohio and thence to the "wild forests" of Western Ohio to Shelby County.
He was in his eighties when he died in 1828. He is buried in the Hardin (or Cary) Cemetery located in a field slightly northeast of Hardin, Shelby County, Ohio. There are no probate records for Ezra, so it is presumed he had no property, perhaps living with some of his children in his advanced years.
Lydia Thompson Cary is even MORE of a mystery than her husband. I do NOT know when she was born OR when she died. I do know that her parents were Stephen and Mary Bescherer Thompson. Both of her parents came from pioneers of New Jersey.
These two people are very special to me. They typify the kind of people I come from. They lived honorably, served their nation, continued on to new frontiers, raised their family to be responsible people. They didn't leave any famous or dramatic records. They are the perfect definition of the term, "American".
Generation 11. John Cary & Elizabeth Godfrey
This couple is one of my favorites because they were among the brave souls that faced the dangers and uncertainties of the "New World". I can only imagine the excitement of the Plymouth Colony in the 1630's! To be young, in a new place, with all sorts of opportunities must have been exciting. When John Cary arrived in Massachusetts is not known for sure, the ship he arrived on is not known either.
It is estimated by other researchers that he came in 1634. We know that he was here before June of 1644 because he married Elizabeth Godfrey at that time. The passenger lists for some of the early ships have been lost and sometimes people traveled under an assumed name. All sorts of explanations are possible, but the important fact is that he did come to the "New World", and he founded a family of Carys that have been, for the most part, honest and honorable people. Elizabeth Godfrey came to Massachusetts with her parents, Francis and Elizabeth Godfrey. There is not much known about Francis Godfrey, except that he was a carpenter and bridge builder and was in Plymouth as early as 1637.
John Cary was born about 1610 in Bristol, Somersetshire, England, and was the son of William Cary. There was a dispute with John's brothers when his father died and it is believed that this is what caused him to leave England and come to America's shores.
He was a "typical" Cary and he became involved in his new community with eagerness and ambition. John was involved in 1649 in the purchase of a tract of land about fourteen acres square that became the town of Bridgewater. This purchase was from the Indian chief Massasoit, and it was for the following price: 7 coats, 9 hatchets, 8 hoes, 20 knives, 4 moose skins, and 10 ½ yards of cotton. Fourteen square miles of prime Massachusetts land that is now priceless! Yes, these earliest Americans were definitely ancestors of what became "the American way". This land deed was made out to Myles Standish on behalf of John Cary and fifty-three others. John Cary was one of the few that actually settled in Bridgewater. I imagine that most of the others were early "land developers". John Cary drew a tract of land from this purchase that was one mile wide and seven miles long. This land is now the town of Brockton, Massachusetts.
In 1656 John Cary was elected as constable. This position in 1656 was one of great power. It was second only to the governor of the colony. His power was absolute as far as executing the laws. In 1657 John was chosen as town clerk and held that position for twenty-four years, until 1681 when he died. He was intelligent, well educated and public spirited, as were many of his descendants. The Cary descendants seemed to inherit a great deal of desire to be involved in their communities, churches, and special causes that they had feelings about. It is a trait handed down through the generations, even to the present day.
When John Cary died 31 October 1681,it was said "He had six sons and six daughters. They all lived to grow up and have families, and all took good courses so that it was a saying of some that there were 12 of 'em and never a Judas among them." This excerpt is from the book "The Plymouth Pilgrim" by Seth Cary.
Elizabeth Godfrey was christened on 1 October 1613 in Litlington, Cambridge, England. She came to America with her father, Francis Godfrey and his wife Elizabeth. Her mother's maiden name has been lost in time. John Cary's wife, Elizabeth was a supportive wife and raised a fine family of twelve children. "On November 1, 1680, Elizabeth Godfrey, for thirty-six years the beloved wife of John Cary, passed from the labor and hardships incident to the life of a Pilgrim of the Plymouth Colony, to the heritage of the just" (from The Plymouth Pilgrim by Seth Cary).
This couple was destined to be in this country in the early 1600's. They were born for that purpose, to start a new life and a new family with new ideas. They were willing to leave the familiarity of England and strike out in a new land, bringing with them their values and spirit to found a family.
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