Recap Report For Mary Eliza Thomas Colyer Research by Patricia A. Johnson 08 June 2004
Mary Eliza Thomas Colyer is John E. Johnson's paternal great grandmother. Her daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, is his paternal grandmother. Mary Eliza has been quite a challenge to research. After a breakthrough in February 2004 from Tom Colyer and the Colyer Family Bible we have pretty much solved the puzzle. Here is what I know:
In a Bible record received, in 1999, from John E. Colyer her birth is written as 22 August 1854. John E. Colyer is a descendant of her son, Daniel Alden Colyer. She "usually says" she was born in Illinois, but on a few censuses she says Missouri. She knew little of her parents, as she usually says "unknown" or "USA" for their birthplaces on later censuses. The fact that she appears on the 1870 census as "adopted" tells me that she was orphaned early in life. Since she was apparently considered "adopted" by Smith McGinnis, and he was of Adams Co., Illinois, I checked the St. Alyoisous Orphanage in Quincy, Illinois, and she was not listed as ever being there. Tom Colyer sent me a copy of a will of Elijah Lillard of Adams Co., IL. He found it in the Colyer family Bible, folded up for all these sixty plus years. Tom Colyer is a descendant of Charles Garland Colyer. Elijah Lillard mentions a daughter Elizabeth Thomas. I found Elizabeth Lillard married David H. Thomas on 11 Oct 1849. They are on the1850 Adams Co., IL census, but not on 1855. I believe Elizabeth and David are Mary Eliza's parents, and they died between 1861-1870. Mary Eliza had a twin sister Sarah whose husband was called "Uncle Red"(thanks to a picture from Tom Colyer). I later found that this is Sarah Ann Thomas Bozarth and Erastus Bozarth per Sarah's obituary May 1930.
She married George B. Colyer on 16 September 1877. He was a widow with a young son, William Colyer. They were married in Bolckow, Andrew Co., Missouri by F.L. Whitson per Marriage Book C Page 24 Entry #112.
In searching for her death data, I wondered if she had remarried after George died in 1930, so I had Seattle, King Co.,Washington search for any marriages after 1930 for her. There was no record of this.
1850 Adams Co., Illinois David and Elizabeth Thomas are in Ursa Twp. With no children. They were married the previous October.
1855 Adams Co., Illinois looked for any Thomas' that had a female under age 10. There were 7 and all but 2 ruled out by reading the 1860 to see if they had a Mary or an Eliza. The 2 were Norris Thomas, who in 1860 had a Mary E and Permelia Thomas who had a female under age 10 but was not in Adams Co., Illinois in 1860. I later found that Norris still had Mary E at home in 1870 and Permelia was in Minnesota in 1870 and had no Mary E. Both ruled out!!
1860 The David H. Thomas family is in Morris Twp., Carroll County Missouri. The family listed is: David H. age 37 born KY; Elizabeth age 33 born KY; Rose age 9 born IL; Mary E. and Sarah E. (should be A.) both age 6 born in IL; and Barilla (?) age 3 born in MO.
1865 There were no Thomas' that had a female age 10-15 in Adams Co.,Illinois. Smith McGinnis was not in Adams Co., Illinois, so I presume he had already moved to Andrew Co., Missouri.
1870 This is where I feel I definitely found Mary Eliza!! She is listed as Eliza Thomas age 17 born in Illinois. She is in the household of George T. Bennett in Jackson Twp. Andrew Co., Missouri. She is listed after Smith McGinnis and his wife, and is listed as "adopted". The reason I feel confident that this is our Mary Eliza is because one farm away lives Benjamin Pew and his son Daniel Pew, George Colyer's grandfather and uncle. I can now see how George and Mary Eliza met and later married.
1880 She is in Grant Twp. Nodaway Co., Missouri. Listed as Eliza age 25 (not correct, she is 27). She is with her husband and two young sons, Frederick and Edward. Says she was born in Illinois.
1900 She is in St. Joseph, Buchanan Co., Missouri listed as Mary E. age 47 and no place of birth for her or her parents.
1910 She is in Yellowstone Co., Montana age 57 and born in Illinois and parents born in USA.
1920 She is in Hardin, Big Horn Co., Montana age 66 and born in Missouri and parents born in Missouri.
1930 She is in Seattle King Co., Washington age 76 born in Missouri and parents born in USA.
Her husband died 01 September 1930 and was buried 03 September 1930 in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Seattle. I wrote to the Cemetery to see if Mary Eliza was buried next to him. There were two lots bought when George died (bought by son Walter) and no one was ever buried next to him. On 12 Feb 2004 I finally found Mary Eliza Thomas Colyer! Thanks to Tom Colyer's clue that daughter Mary Kareen married Emmett Creek and lived in Great Falls, Cascade Co., Montana in the 1930's, I found that Mary Eliza died there and is buried in New Highland Cemetery in Great Falls, MT in Section 10A #185. A phone call from the sexton verified that she died 14 Sep 1939. Once I found where Mary Kareen was, in her later life, it was easy to find Mary Eliza. Death records I have checked over the years are:
No. California 1930-1939 (on the Internet)
1940-1949 (on the Internet)
Cascade Co., Montana - Death record #16021 received 06 March 2004, states she died 14 Sep 1939 at same address as her daughter Sadie Ione Farlee. (the informant). Cause = cardio- renal disease - arteriosclerosis, Time = 11:05 pm, Dr. Keenan, Informant = Ione Farlee, Cemetery = Highland Cemetery.
Mary Eliza had 9 children: Frederick married to Artie May Hutton; Edward C. married to Myrtle Lewis; Daniel Alden married to Bertha Keown (div); Orta Pearl (died as an infant); Mary Kareene married to Emmett Creek; George Walter married to Julie Burherer; Charles Garland married to Mary Lorinda Johnson; Sarah Elizabeth married to John Rowden Johnson (div); and Sadie Ione married to Thomas Jefferson Farlee. Her stepson William married Emma Gray Raine.
When & where did her parents die? What happened to Rose and Burilla?
Great Falls Tribune Saturday, September 16, 1939 Great Falls, Montana
Funeral Rites For Mrs. Mary Colyer
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. today at O'Conner Chapel for Mrs. Mary E. Colyer, 86, widow of George B. Colyer, who died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Ione Farlee, of 706 Eight Avenue South. The Rev. Paul Dierberger will officiate. Burial in Highland Cemetery.
Born August 22, 1853 in Prairie City, Iowa, Mrs. Colyer had made her home in Great Falls for six years. Survivors are three sons, Charles G. of Sheridan, Wyoming, Walter of Seattle and Edward of St. Joseph, Missouri; three daughters; Mrs. G. M. Hapeman of Clinton, Washington, and Mrs. Farlee and Mrs. E. L. Creek, both of great Falls, 18 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
Note from Pat Johnson:
The birth date and place are incorrect in the above obituary. She was born 22 August 1854 (per the Colyer Family Bible) and I believe she was born in Adams County Illinois (where her parents married and lived).
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