Jacob Andrew Alfordís Family History
By Jacob Andrew Alford
Edited and annotated by Pamela Alford Thompson, AAFA #0030
Jacob Andrew Alford was the son of Andrew Alford, born in Norway, and Betsy Harkness, born in
Scotland. Susan Laubengayer, AAFA #0647, obtained this manuscript from the Sutro Library in
San Francisco. Thanks to Trudy Witt, AAFA #0872, for typing it.
A 400+ page genealogy of this family, THE DESCENDANTS OF ANDREW AND JANNETTE PENMAN HARKNESS OF
ROXBURGHSHIRE, SCOTLAND by Elmer George Dickson, 1990, is located in the library at Fort Wayne,
IN, and is still available for $40 from the author: 2384 Kennedy Ave, Chico, CA 95973 (email
email@example.com). This family history by
Jacob Andrew Alford is not included in the genealogy.
Photos in this article are courtesy of Elmer George Dickson, from his grandmother Harknessís
I have slightly edited the text, mainly punctuation, and added text in brackets and annotations
-- Pamela Alford Thompson, 4 Sept 2007
The author, Jacob Andrew Alford, and his wife Elenore "Nellie" Hill
Hugh Price Hughes [Welsh Methodist theologian, 1847-1902] once said, that "to be sanctified
is to have an intense desire not to have oneís own way." If this be a true definition of
true sanctification, and I have no reason for doubting, I am wondering if a person who is
half Scandinavian and half Scotch, can ever be sanctified.
My father was a descendant of the old Viking stock and was born May 16, 1836, on a little
island in the harbor of Stavanger, Norway, and was at the time of his departure from that
country, a watchman in the lighthouse that was situated on this island.
Russ Rowlett of the online Lighthouse
Directory believes it may be the lighthouse built in 1849
on the island of FjÝlÝy. The keeperís house still stands but the lighthouse was demolished
nd replaced by a tower in 1983.
Andrew J. Alford, the authorís father
1836 Norway - 1878 Illinois
[Stavanger, fourth largest city in Norway located on the southwest coast, is designated,
along with Liverpool, England, as an "European Capital of Culture" for 2008.]
His mother was seven years older than his father and this fashion in marriage was followed
down to the fourth generation, as my mother was seven years older than my father, and my
wife is also seven years my senior, and in addition to this, my brotherís wife was two years
older than he, and his son was younger than his wife, while our second daughter married a
man who was her junior.
My father was the eldest of five children, and he had two brothers and two sisters. His name
was Andrew J. The eldest son was named Jacob after his father and when I came into the world
they named me Jacob for my grandfather and uncle, and gave me a second name, Andrew, which
was my fatherís name and also my motherís fatherís name. The third child was a daughter
whose name was Anna Melina. The fourth was a son named James, but spelled differently in the
Norwegian language. The youngest child was a daughter whose name I have forgotten.
An error is evident in the list of the children as described by the author:
1 or 2
Andrew J. ["My father was the eldest of five children,
and he had two brothers and two sisters. His name was Andrew J."]
2 or 1
Jacob ["The eldest son was named Jacob after his father...."]
The eldest daughter married a man who was a sailor, by the name of Lars Yesaboe, who,
shortly after marriage, lost one of his limbs in an accident. They had several children
and one, named Jacob, who, according to Norwegian custom was called Jacob Larson. He came
to America and lived for a while in Livingston [Park Co.], Montana, and in 1911, he came
to see us at Helena, Montana, and we visited together for a day. He is the only one of my
fatherís relatives that I ever saw. He soon returned to Norway, and I have not heard from
him since. [He was not located on the 1910 census in MT.]
My fatherís brother, James, came to America in the í80s and settled at Astoria [Clatsop Co.],
Oregon, but spelled his name Alvord instead of Alford. He went from there to the Klondike
during the gold rush and we have never heard from him since. I know nothing of his younger
sister. My grandmother and grandfather each lived to be past ninety years of age, but I do
not know the date or the circumstances of their deaths.
In May, 1855, my father embarked from the port of Stavanger to Montreal thence to Chicago and
out to Kendall County, Illinois, having his nineteenth birthday while on the ocean, although
he held the position of watchman of the lighthouse at that early age. In Kendall County he
attended school winters and worked on the farm during the summer. He intended returning to
Stavanger as soon as he learned the English language, to be an interpreter on the incoming
boats for that port, but he never realized his intentions as my story will reveal.
The Scotch side of the house I know more about. During the Crusades, back in the Twelfth to
the Fourteenth Century, Alexander Pringle, was one of the Crusaders and was commissioned to
bring back the heart of Robert Brusce to be buried in Melrose Abbey, Scotland. In the church
yard of that Abbey are buried many of the Pringle family, and a memorial tablet to Alexander
Pringle is preserved in the ruins of that famous Abbey. During the closing years of the
Eighteenth Century, a Pringle girl married a man by the name of Penman and settled near
Melrose and in 1801, on November 29th, their eldest child, Janet Penman, my grandmother,
was born. During her childhood days, she had the famous Abbey, as her playhouse. At about
the age of twenty-three, she was united in marriage to Andrew Harkness, and settled near
Galashields, but soon moved to the little village of Bowden, three miles south of Melrose.
A large family was born to them while in Scotland and I believe [illeg.] in order was as
follows: Isabella, Margaret, Betsy, James, Sarah Pringle, William, Christina, and Mary.
Two children died while they were at Crown Point [Essex Co.], New York, whose names I have
forgotten. (Robert & Janet)
In 1913, we, Mrs. Alford and I, visited Melrose, walked through the old Abbey ruins and
called a couple of times in the little town of Bowden and there met a man who was well
acquainted with my grandfatherís family while he lived there. His name was George Thompson,
but he has since passed away.
Border Crossings: From Canada to the U.S., 1895Ė1956 (Ancestry.com), lists Jacob Andrew
Alford, age 48, and Elenore Alford, age 55, arriving in the port of Quebec on 18 Aug 1913,
sailing from Glasgow, Scotland, on 9 Aug 1913. Their address in the U.S. was Helena. Jacob
says he was born 16 Feb 1865 in Kendall Co., IL, and Elenore says she was born 25 March
1858 in Hillsboro, Highland Co., OH.
In 1840, my grandfather Harkness and family, crossed the ocean in an old sailing vessel
and landed at New York a month after they set sail from Scotland.
New York Passenger Lists, 1820Ė1957 (Ancestry.com), lists the following people arriving
on the ship United States in New York on 27 Apr 1840 from Liverpool, England:
They spent the first six years at Newcomb [Essex Co.], in the Adirondack mountains, and my
earliest recollections are the stories my mother told of that wild country. From Newcomb they
moved to Crown Point, where they remained for three years, when they moved to Kendall County,
Illinois, making the trip over the Erie Canal, the Great Lakes and out through Chicago by ox
team, arriving in the open prairie country in 1849.
Isabel, the eldest child, married John Dunn, an Englishman from Manchester, and as I remember
him, one of the finest specimens of manhood I ever knew. He was a leading man of Kendall County,
and was chairman of the Board of Supervisors for a number of years. They lived together for
more than fifty years and raised a large number of children: Edward, Janet, Eliza, Mary Ellen,
Amelia, Joseph, who was my twin cousin, and Frank. Two or three children died while young,
whose names escape my memory. A clipping from her Diary, written in 1850, will be of interest.
Extracts from a Diary kept by Isabella Harkness.
"I was born in 1825, May 18, about 45 miles south from Edenburgh, Scotland. There being a
large family of us. I was the oldest and Father thought by removing to America he would be
better able to provide for us, so on the 1st day of April 1840 we embarked for America. On
the 27th day of the same month we landed in New York. We settled in the northern part of
the state of New York in the bosom of a wild American forest. It was but thinly settled,
our house being 8 miles from any other house. We lived there six years and then we moved
to Crown Point on Lake Champlain, and there we buried a brother aged 13 years and 7 months,
and a sister aged 9 years and 4 months. They both died in 1847. In 1849 the family all left
Crown Point excepting a brother and sister and myself to go to Illinois. From that time
I lived in a respectable family to do house work and sewing, until May 1850, when I also
started for the west.
A JOURNEY FROM THE STATE OF NEW YORK TO ILLINOIS.
The time has now arrived that I must leave Crown Point and go to that far distant west.
I have bid my acquaintances and associates farewell perhaps forever. I have looked for the
last time at the Brick Church that stands on the green, where I have sat and listened with
deep interest to the good and solemn voice of our dear minister, Mr. Herrick. I have been
in the graveyard and looked at the two graves of our departed brother and sister and picked
a few of the remaining rose leaves that grow by the side of their graves. There is nothing
but silence there. I took the last lingering look, hoping to meet them in a better and
brighter world above where we shall meet to part no more."
Isabela says her brother and sister died in 1847. Calculating their ages when they left
Scotland in 1840, at age 13 the brother would have been about age 6 and at age 9, the sister
would have been about age 2. Curiously, no children this age are listed with the family on
the shipís manifest.
Margaret, the second child, married a Norwegian by the name of Narvey Anderson, who was born
at Trondhjem, Norway. They spent the early part of their married life in Kendall County, then
for a number of years lived in Kankakee County, Illinois, but moved back to Yorkville, Kendall
County, where they lived until death took them. They, too, were married over fifty years. They
had four children: Andrew Egbert, Emma Janet, William Harkness, and Charles Handy. The only
living one is Emma, who resides at Yorkville, Illinois.
Betsy, the third child and my mother, born at Bowden, Scotland, June 24, 1828, met Andrew J.
Alford, while he worked for Andrew Harkness, in Kendall County, and consequently, the plans
for his going back to Norway as an interpreter, came to an end. They were married on the 4th
of July, 1858.
Betsy Harkness Alford, the authorís mother
Four children were born to this union: Robert Harkness, who died in 1889, never marrying,
Jennie Anna, who lived at home until she was nearly forty years of age, when she married
George W. McHugh, and to their union three sons were born after she was forty years of age.
I was the third child. My name is Jacob Andrew, and the fourth child was George Edwin. Later
in this sketch you will learn more of these families.
James, the eldest boy of the grandfather Harkness family, was married to Sarah Ann Smith,
November 1, 1855, and they lived together to celebrate their golden wedding. He spent most
of his life after marriage in Kendall County, though he did live for a while at Cropsey, in
McLean County. He was one of the leading men in his neighborhood and for a number of years
was Township Assessor. The children born of this union were: MaryEtt, William James, Emily,
Addie, Belle, Mattie and George. All have passed away except Addie and George.
Sarah Pringle married James Harvey VanEman and three daughters were born to their union.
The eldest daughter, Etta, married a man by the name of Minkler. The second one, Eloise,
married a man by the name of Freeman, and the third, Ada, married Bryant Wade. All have
passed away except Eloise. Harvey VanEman was one of the leading business men of his day,
and Mrs. VanEman having the best education of any in the Harkness family, took prominent
place in Church, Chautauqa and W.C.T.U. work. She was a woman of superior ability and a
leader in every community in which she lived.
William Harkness was a very brilliant man and attended Knox College at Galesburg, Illinois.
He enlisted in the Union army, but was killed in battle in 1864. He was married and had one
child who died in infancy. Before going to war he had charge of the home Sunday School, and
was a leader in church work in general.
Christena married Henry Smith, and to this union two daughters were born, but she was taken
by death shortly after her second child was born.
Mary, the youngest child, and the only one that was born in America, was married to Wesley
Miner, and to this union, four children were born. Amanda, who married a Mr. Owen, and is
the mother of one son, who is living in Los Angeles, California; Dr. Elmer Miner, a very
brilliant physician, who resides at Independence, Kansas; Harvey Miner, who is married and
is living in Wayne, Nebraska; and the youngest child, Earl, is married and living somewhere
in Illinois. The deathbed visions that came to Aunt Mary Miner were marvelous, as related
to me by her pastor, Rev. William Gorst, several years later.
My grandfather Harkness died suddenly in April, 1865, but my grandmother lived to the ripe
age of nearly ninety, and died of pneumonia in February of 1891.
All uncles and aunts have passed away; the last one to go was the widow of James Harkness,
who, during her lifetime had delicate health. My Uncle Williamís widow was married soon
after his death, to a man by the name of Isaac Wright, and after the death of my Aunt
Christena my Uncle Henry Smith married again. He worked for the C.B. & Q.Ríy as a station
agent, but I lost track of him long ago.
Uncle John Dunn and his family were of the Baptist faith. Uncle Narvey Anderson and family
were raised in the main in the Wesleyan Methodist Church. Uncle James Harkness, Uncle Harvey
VanEman and Uncle Wesley Miner were all of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and not one of
these men used tobacco in any form.
My paternal grandparentsí fatherís name was Jacob Anfenson, so, according to Norwegian custom,
his fatherís name should have been Andrew Jacobson, but as all Norwegians have a second choice
in selecting names, so had my father. I was so young at the time of his death that I am not
sure that I have the story as it should be, but from a conversation I had with a bridge
carpenter in Montana who was born on Stavanger, and knew my fatherís people he thought it came
from Fjord, of which there are so many in Norway and possibly years ago it may have been
spelled Alfjord, but that was only his opinion. At any rate I have always liked the name,
and I have always been glad that my father selected it, no matter how it was done.
This paragraph is confusing. It should probably read: "My paternal grandfather's name was
Jacob Anfenson, so, according to Norwegian custom, his sonís name should have been Andrew
Jacobson, but as all Norwegians have a second choice in selecting names, so had my father.
I was so young at the time of his death that I am not sure that I have the story as it
Jacob Anfenson ---- ???
* 1 or 2
2 or 1
Harkness ---- Janet Penman
| * Andrew
J. Alford ---- Betsy Harkness
Jacob Andrew Alford
["they named me Jacob for my
uncle, and gave me
a second name, Andrew, which was my father's
name and also my
For the first eighteen months after my parents were married, they worked my Grandfather
Harknessí farm, on which my oldest brother Robert Harkness Alford, was born September 9,
1859. For the next two years, they lived on a farm, the name of which I have forgotten,
but have been told they lived in a log house in which my sister Jennie Anna, was born May
8, 1861. They then moved to the Brown farm north of Lisbon and lived there for two years,
and I was born February 16, 1865, six weeks before they left that farm to move to the
Bulkley farm, which was nearer to Lisbon where they remained for two years.
I have always accounted my coming into the world as fortunate, as the Civil War lasted less
than two months after I joined the Infantry.
The last time my mother ever saw her father was in April, 1865, when he came to visit her
and proudly trotted his new grandson, less than two months old, on his knee. The next day
he was found in the barn, having died suddenly of heart failure.
Of course I do not remember the happenings of the next two years, but in March, 1867, my
father, with the family, livestock, and household goods, moved to a one hundred twenty acre
farm of raw prairie, located on Section 2, Township 29, Range 9, in Kankakee County, and
believe it if you can, I am positive that I can remember certain circumstances connected
with that trip, though I was but two years and one month old. I remember that my father
drove a sorrel team, while Sam Arundale, the man who helped us in the moving, drove a team,
one black and one white [illeg.] they were so pretty, being so different in color. My sister
doubted that my memory went back that far, but we visited Sam Arundale forty-five years later,
and I asked him what team he drove on that trip, and he told me that one horse was white and
the other black.
The memories of those early days on the prairie farm are still quite vivid. The house we lived
in my father built, and it was fourteen feet wide, twenty-two feet long and ten feet to the
eaves. The upstairs was all in one room and was so close to the roof that a grown person could
not stand erect. The lower part contained a small pantry, a bedroom, and a living room, with
the winding stairs in one corner.
How my mother did the work in that homeódid the sewing she did for the neighbors, was present
at almost every birth in the neighborhood, and kept the house as neat as she didóhas always
been a marvel to me. We were seldom without a boarder, and newcomers from Norway came for
miles to talk with my father, as he had a very choice use of the English language as well as
the Norwegian, and many a time I have heard him make the contract between the newly arrived
Norwegian and the English speaking farmer who wished to hire him.
Perhaps I should mention that in the early í70s, we had on several occasions, a boarder of
no less personage than Nicholas Ibsen. He was a hunchback, and for some reason had come from
Norwayóbecause of family relationships. He was a brother of Henrik Ibsen, the famous Norwegian
dramatist, and I have just recently learned that the family that occupies the keeperís house,
of the lighthouse, where my father was born is a descendent of the same Ibsen family. I have
the picture of that little island and lighthouse hanging on the wall where I see it daily.
SAVEREIDE, C. F. Henrik Ibsen's brother. Norden, 5:4-5 (May, 1933.)
"Nicolai Alexander Ibsen was the youngest of six children in the Ibsen household. He came
to America about 1870. He owned forty acres of land near Estherville [Emmet Co.] Iowa, and herded
cattle in that region."
President Andrew Johnson was in the White House in Washington when we first went to the farm
on the prairie, and I can well remember the first campaign in 1868, when General Grant made
the winning race for the Presidency, and more vividly do I remember the campaign of 1872, when
President Grant made his second race for office against the famous Horace Greeley.
The early í70s were dark days, and it seemed to me was, in many ways, the greatest depression
this country ever saw. What we had to sell brought a low price, but what we bought came at a
The struggle for a district school was severe. In 1868Ė69 my brother Robert and sister Jennie
walked two miles to a new school house in another district, and it was not until in January
1870 that school was held in our district, and then for only three weeks, in a private home,
in order that we could draw public money and prepare to build a new schoolhouse. I wish you
could have seen that new school house. It was twelve feet wide and sixteen feet long, and had
a roof sloping one way only. Needless to say, it was cold and uncomfortable. By April 1, 1870,
this new school house was ready for occupancy, and our first teacher was Libbie Adams, who
taught for six months without a vacation. I was but a little past five years of age but went
the entire summer. She is still living, as far as I know, and lives at Cabery, Illinois. Her
name is now Libbie Surdam.
My father was one of the original directors, which place he held until the time of his death.
The Centennial year, 1876, was a year that will never go out of my memory. We had so much rain
that acres of grain were never harvested and corn never cultivated after it was planted. The
whole country for miles was covered with a rank grass that we always called the Centennial
grass, as it never appeared before or never did again. It was during this year that my father
had the courage to agitate the building of a new school house for our district, to take the
place of the uncomfortable, inadequate one. A great deal of the labor was donated and the cost
to the district was but $700 in money, and the school house still stands as a monument to my
father who engineered its building amidst many difficulties.
I well remember that on December 8, 1868, we had a very beautiful day, and my father drove
across the prairie a little more than a mile to bring Mrs. Griswold over to our house. I
wondered why he needed her, but I was told to go out to the haystack and play for a while,
and upon my return, I found that a little baby brother had arrived. I was very much pleased
at his arrival, and young as I was, they gave me the privilege of naming my little brother,
so I called him George Edwin, which name he proudly carried until his death. He never was as
robust a child as I had been, because early in life, he had a siege of the old fashioned ague,
and came very near being taken from us, but he soon regained his strength, much to my chagrin,
as I never was able to handle him again, though he was nearly four years younger than myself.
He was very quick and always managed to get the upper hand of me.
It may seem a strange thing to mention, but I well remember when Forgust Anderson, who was
boarding with us at the time George was a baby, came back from Chebanse [Iroquois/Kankakee
Co.], which was fifteen miles away, and showed my mother a purchase he had made for her
special benefit. He had given five cents for it. It was nothing less than a safety pin - one
single pin = and was the first one my mother had ever seen, and I believe, was the first one
ever sold in that community.
My brother George, was past three years of age before we ever had a kerosene lamp in the
house. My mother had made the candles for years from tallow we had rendered from cur own
cattle we butchered.
The first Christmas that I remember was in the early í70s when, on the day before Christmas,
my brother Robert walked to the little store a mile and a half away and purchased gifts for
his sister and two brothers. To sister Jennie, he gave a crochet hook and a penholder and pen.
For me he had purchased a penholder and pen, and for my little brother George, he brought home
an old-fashioned slate pencil. The total gifts amounted to nine cents as I remember, but
according to my recollection, was about as large a Christmas present as I ever received.
I think I will be able to name all the school teachers for the first [illeg.] years in that
prairie country. The one who taught the first school, was named Jessie Ogivgie. The next that
I have already named was Libbie Adams, then Josie Conkey, the next Arispa Haskins, the next
Emergene Swartwout, the next Mary Hargrave, then the return of the former teacher who, in the
meantime had married and her name now was Emergene Hall. This takes us up to the time of the
building of the new school house. The first teacher in that school house was Mary Hughes, she
being followed by Ella Kinney and she by James R. Near, the first man teacher I ever had, who
by the way was a very fine man and a good teacher. Then in the spring of 1878, Mary Hargrave
returned and taught the spring term. The winter term of í78-9 was taught by George Beardsley,
an old bachelor, and then followed Anna Hughes and Kate Hughes, sisters of Mary Hughes, then
came Emma Collins as our teacher, who was very fine, and she was followed by a Miss Brown. In
the fall of 1883, Elenore Hill came as the teacher of our school and came to our house to board.
Herein begins another story.
My father was a great lover of music, although having no musical education. He was especially
fond of music on the violin. He had seen the great violinist, Ole Bull, and enjoyed his playing
very much. [Ole Borneman Bull (1810-1880) was a Norwegian violinist who visited and gave
concerts in the U.S.] Long before music was taught in the public schools as it is today, he
tried his very best to introduce singing by note in our little school, but the great difficulty
was to find a teacher who could instruct. Whenever he was blue and discouraged, he would sing
over and over again his favorite hymns, both in Norwegian and the English. We had no musical
instrument in our home until my father bought an accordion and soon learned to play it. The
last rational thing he did during his last sickness was to pick up the accordion and play
"What a Friend We Have in Jesus." That hymn ever since comes near to my heart.
I can remember yet the stories he told concerning the incoming ships to that stormy harbor.
He was an artist to the extent that with the pen he could draw pictures of those old sailing
vessels, and one of those pen drawn pictures I have hanging in my home, that he drew as early
He read to us a great deal, and learned the English language so perfectly that you could
scarcely distinguish the brogue of his land. The Chicago Weekly Tribune and the
Weekly Youthís Companion were in our home as far back as I can remember. My Aunt
Sarah sent us for a year or two the Northwestern Christian Advocate.
My mother had in her possession some bound copies of Harperís Magazine, but outside of
these and the Bible, we had very little reading matter in the house outside of our school books,
which were kept so carefully that they were handed down from one child to the other. My mother
did a great deal of knitting. In fact, all of the stockings and socks that we wore, and while
she was engaged thus, father would read the stories from the Youthís Companion by the
light of the small candle that burned on the table.
We loved to have the stories from our father connected with his early life in Norway, but no
less did we enjoy those told by my mother, connected with her life in Scotland, and later in
the Adirondacks. She told us of the little stone school house she attended at Bowden, and I
am glad that we had the privilege of seeing that very school house in 1913, still standing,
and used in the same capacity.
Sir Walter Scottís home was a few short miles southwest of Bowden, and his burial place in
Dryburgh Abbey was about the same distance in the opposite direction. I have often heard her
tell of the beautiful historical places, which were real to us after visiting them.
I loved to hear mother tell of the holiday they had in 1837, when Queen Victoria was crowned.
This holiday was celebrated throughout the British Empire. She told of the children being
dressed in white, and given a treat of home-made cookies and water, but I think the stories
she could tell connected with the six years spent in the Adirondack mountains were our favorites.
She told of the famous hunter, John Cheeney, who for that period boarded in the Harkness home.
John Cheney "was also a renowned and experienced hunter, but a reckless one. Over the dozen
or so years following his arrival in Newcomb in about 1830 he reported killing 600 deer, 400
martens, 48 bears, 30 otters, 19 moose, seven wildcats, six wolves, a panther, and what he
believed to have been the last beaver."
My father was digging potatoes October 9, 1871, and we children were picking them up and
carrying them to the pit near by, where they were buried, to keep the frost from injuring
them. All day we had noticed smoke in the northeast and wondered what was the cause of it,
when a hog buyer, by the name of Fender, called to see if my father had any hogs to sell,
and told us that Chicago was on fire, and that evening, we could plainly see the light of
that fire, eighty miles away.
Another event that left its impression on my memory was the loss of a balloon that attempted
to fly across Lake Michigan. This balloon was handled by Prof. Donaldson and Newton Grimwood,
the latter being a brother to W.H. and Isaac Grimwood, who were living less than a mile away.
That balloon, and Prof. Donaldson, were never found, but the body of Newton Grimwood was
washed ashore some weeks later.
"... in collaboration with an acrobat named Washington Donaldson. ... Donaldsonís luck
finally ran out in 1875 when he tried to fly across Lake Michigan in a balloon, accompanied
by a reporter named Newton Grimwood. The balloon never made it to the far shore; Grimwoodís
body washed up on shore weeks later, but Donaldson was never seen again."
Another impression that is still vivid, was one evening in December, 1876, when my father,
as was his custom, was reading a story to us, and just as he came to the exciting place:
"When a man looked through the window to spy what was going on inside the house." Suddenly,
we were aware that the room was light, and we had no need of the candle. We rushed out doors
to see what had happened, and discovered a meteor flying through the air, which seemed only
a short distance south of our home, and following the light was a rumbling noise, that
sounded very much like thunder. It was thought this meteor was lost in the swamps either
side of the Kankakee river in western Indiana, but as I remember, it was never discovered.
A revival was in progress in the church a mile and a half away, of which I have spoken, and
it lasted for fully two months, and I remember that the several preachers who preached during
that time, referred often to that event as being one of the sure signs that the world was soon
to come to an end and we should be prepared.
From The American Journal of Science and Arts, January to June 1877,
"Meteor of Dec. 21st, 1876.óOn the evening of Thursday, Dec. 21st, 1876, a meteor of unusual
size and brilliancy passed over the States of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio."
During the spring of 1878, our community was canvassed by parties from Chicago, to secure
subscriptions to pay for the grading of a new railroad, running from Kankakee to Bloomington.
I well remember how my father looked forward to the coming of that road as we had lived all
these years fifteen miles from the nearest railroad town and fifteen miles in the opposite
direction to the nearest coal fields. The exposure in going to and from town in those days,
was terrific, as very few people owned buggies, and the trip had to be made with heavy farm
wagons. The roads were poor and traveling very difficult.
My father was on jury duty in Kankakee City during the winter of í76 or í77 and when excused
from further duty, rode on the train to Chebanse and attempted to walk to our home, fifteen
miles away. He expected to get a ride, but a storm was setting in, and before he had gone very
many miles, the snow was so deep, that he could go no further. He stopped for the night at a
farmhouse, and was so overcome by cold and exposure that he contracted a cold which made him
incapable of overcoming the overheat that he received in the summer of 1878. He died three
months before the coming of the first train.
I think I will be able to give you the ministers during that time who came and who had no
small influence in my life.
Shortly after their marriage, my father and mother had united with the Methodist church and
joined the one located at Lisbon Center. My father had been reared a Lutheran, my mother a
Presbyterian, though she had joined the Congregational church while living in New York. The
Norwegian Lutheran preacher tried to persuade my father to send his children to his church
school, but my father replied that he was living in America now, and believed that he would
rear his children in an English speaking church. I have always been glad that he made that
decision and in spite of it, he and that Lutheran preacher were the best of friends.
Strange as it may seem, the first minister after we moved to the Kankakee home was Rev. S.P.
Alford, who was no relative of ours. We called him back to preach my fatherís funeral sermon
in 1878. The next preacher was W.A. Cumming, who was followed by S.R. Deach. In 1872, the
circuit was divided and made Eldridgeville the head of the circuit. W.W. Wells served us for
one year and lived in the front of the home of George Crydenwise. In 1873, J.D. Calhoun came
as our pastor and lived in the front of the home of Asa M. Preston. I have lost track of W.W.
Wells but followed the career of J.D. Calhoun to his death, a number of years afterward, as
he was a prominent member of the old Central Illinois Conference. In 1874, J.R. Rutledge was
our pastor, but he lived in Onarga, 28 miles away, and drove the distance to preach for us
Sundays. The church in which we worshipped was at Eldridgeville and was located one half mile
east and one half mile south of our home. It was 40x64, and remained on that corner as long
as the little country village remained, and then was torn down and moved six miles to Hersher,
Illinois, and rebuilt. In 1875 E.G. Woodard was sent as our pastor. During his short ministry,
he built the parsonage at Eldridgeville. In the fall of 1876, J.A. Flowers was sent as our
pastor, and remained there for two years. It was during his pastorate that a great revival
was held and we children, the four of us, united with the church on probation, though at that
time none but my sister was received into full membership. Perhaps it would have been different
had my father not been overheated in the harvest field in 1878 and died of Congestion of the
Brain, eleven days later, and on August 1, 1878, he was laid to rest in the then new
Eldridgeville cemetery, where at that time less than one dozen bodies rested.
As I think of it now, no darker period has ever been in my life as at that time, when I was
but thirteen and one-half years of age. My father was naturally my ideal, and to have him taken
away when our farm home was so sorely in need of him, and we were just seeing the light after
passing through the financial struggle we had endured, it seemed as though his death was more
than we could stand. As I have stated, the funeral was conducted by Rev. S.P. Alford.
My oldest brother was but nineteen, my sister seventeen, I but a little past thirteen, and my
youngest brother not yet ten when we were left with our mother to shoulder the management and
running of the farm.
Fortunately, we were just in the beginning of a new era of financial conditions in the United
That fall, Rev. J.A.H. Wilson was sent as our pastor, and he remained for two years, followed
in 1880, for three years, by Joe Bell, who was famous in the Central Illinois Conference.
New towns sprang up along the line of the new railroad I have mentioned. Herscher in Pilot
township and Buckingham in Norton Township, while Carbery, which had already been an inland
town, became much larger, and was located on the county line between Kankakee and Ford Counties.
The railroad Company gave us all a free ride to Kankakee City and a free dinner in the bargain.
The family took advantage of the occasion, and my mother took us to the County Seat, and
administered the estate. She was appointed Administratrix.
These new towns brought new temptations as well as benefits. Saloons were in Cabery and Herscher,
and for a time in Buckingham also, but at an early date local option drove the saloons from
Buckingham. However, I wish to mention the advantages that this new railroad brought to us.
It widened the horizon of our lives and gave to us a very much closer market, but most of all
brought us in closer connection with Kankakee City. Even at our young age, I well remember my
brother Robert and I going into Kankakee in 1880 and listening to an oration delivered by Gen.
John A. Logan. He was a great orator, and parts of his speech I remember to this day. I will
always be thankful for the men and great speakers I was privileged to hear and will always be
glad that my tastes were in that direction. Gen. John Sobieski of Polish fame early impressed
me with the evils of intemperance. Mrs. Mary Woodbridge, of W.C.T.U. fame. and later Miss
Frances Willard, in their addresses, left lasting impressions.
Among the ministers that early impressed us were C.O. McCuloch, J.G. Evans, R.G. Pearce, who
came to us in the capacity of Presiding Elders, but the one who impressed me most was Rev. Eli
McClish who was president of the Grand Prairie Seminary for a number of years.
Gov. St. John, the governor of Kansas, I have heard, and M.J. Fanning of Michigan, who was a
After my fatherís death there was naturally a great change in our home. We children were
immediately changed from children to adults and each took his or her part in the work of
the farm. My sister looked after the chickens and usually did the milking. My brother Robert
looked after the horses and I the pigs. In a short time, my youngest brother George was able
to do his part and care for the pigs. My brother still looked after the horses and I did the
In 1881, we built a new stable for the horses and cows. In 1882 we built our first hay barn
and in 1883 we moved the old house that my father built to a nearby location, and erected a
new 24x32 full two stories high, on the old site. It still is in a good state of preservation
and quite a landmark in that community.
Our home was but five miles from the home in which Uncle Narvey Anderson lived, and he had
the same sized family as ours and our visits back and forth were often and pleasant. There
was always the annual visit between these two homes and the homes of Uncle John Dunn and
Uncle James Harkness in Kendall County, fifty-five miles away. The homes of Uncle Harvey
VanEman and Uncle Wesley Miner were farther away and we did not visit so often. I wonder if
cousins today have as good a time together as we cousins did then, and I should not forget
the Penman family in Kendall County. They were children and grandchildren of Thomas Penman
who was a half brother of my grandmother, and those children of each generation seemed as
near to us as though they were real cousins. I have wished many a time that I could have
known my fatherís people as intimately as I did my motherís people.
As I have stated, in the fall of 1883, Miss Elenore Hill came to our house to board. She was
the eldest daughter of Joseph B. and Isabelle Hill, of Onarga [Iroquois Co.], Illinois. Miss
Hill, however, was born in the old crusade town of Hillsboro [Highland Co.], Ohio. She was a
good singer, and I think had the most beautiful soprano voice I ever heard. She went for miles
in every direction, to sing at special events. That winter a great many temperance meetings
were held, and she was called upon to furnish music for the sameóand by the way, temperance
meetings had a great deal to do with my life and the life of the family. As early as 1875, we
all signed the Blue Ribbon pledge, and none of us ever broke it. Miss Hill and I used to take
notes on the addresses given, from which we wrote articles to be published in the local papers,
as my brother George was a weekly correspondent for the Kankakee Times, while I sent in
my news letter to the Kankakee Gazette.
Well, at this time it was my job to milk the cows, and when I tell you that one night I hung
up my milk pail on the peg where I should have hung my kerosene lantern, and began to milk on
the top of the lantern instead of into the pail, you may realize what was going on in my mind.
Sufficient it is to say, before the winter ended, we were engaged to be married, which event
took place on November 12, 1885, Rev. G.R. Palmer officiating. He had baptized Miss Hill and
received her into church when she was a child of eight.
In the fall of 1884, I attended the Grand Prairie Seminary for a short term of ten weeks, to
prepare myself for a teacherís examination, which I passed successfully, and during the winter
of 1884Ė85, taught my first school.
That seems but yesterday in my mind, yet I tell you that when I took that teacherís examination
in November, 1884, I saw, for the first time, an electric light in the paper mill at Kankakee
City. At that time, there were but four electric lights in all the United States. One in Chicago,
one in Boise, Idaho, one in New York City, and this one in Kankakee City. It would be impossible
to count them today.
I taught a spring term in 1885, and another winter term, which began Monday after our marriage.
We lived in the old farm home with my mother for the first two years, where our eldest daughter
was born. She was a wonderful baby, as she was the first child in the family since the birth of
my brother George in 1868. 1 kept myself busy on the farm during the summer of 1886, and the
following winter taught again in a country school near our home.
In August 1887, I bought out the Cabery Enquirer, three miles away, and left the farm
to my brothers Robert and George. The following summer I bought another newspaper at Colfax
[Fairfield Co.], Illinois, and for a while edited both, making my trips between Colfax, to
where we had moved, and Cabery by train.
It was in February 1889, while we were living in Colfax, that I received a telegram that my
brother Robert had died suddenly of apoplexy. He had been in poor heath ever since he was
twenty years of age, and died before he was thirty. He never married, but had given his life
and strength as head manager of the farm after my fatherís death. The funeral was conducted
by Rev. J.H. Hobbs, who at that time was the pastor at Buckingham. His body was laid to rest
in the Eldridgeville Cemetery.
Robert Harkness Alford 1859-1889
The following August, my newspaper plant at Colfax was burned, and the people of that little
city offered to buy a new plant and again set me up in business, but I had known for some
time that I should preach, and was compelled to turn down their kind offer. My entering the
ministry, the coming of our fine family, and our relationship with charges in general are well
known and would make a story in itself. At the present time, I have to my credit, one year as
a supply, forty full years in the regular ministry and four years in a retired relationship.
Three of our children, Edith, Alice, and Walter remain, while Halo Augusta, Shirley Merrick,
and Mary Elenore have gone before.
Children of Jacob Alford and Elenore Hill:
Edith Evangeline Alford;
m. Charles Garnet Trimble
Alice Jeannette Alford;
m. John F. Ritz
Shirley Merrick Alford,
b. 7 Sept 1892; d. 29 July 1905
Halo August Alford,
b. 11 Jan 1893; d. 2 Feb 1896
Walter Goodsell Alford,
b. 20 Sept 1895; m. Harriot E. Norton
Mary Elenore Alford,
b. 15 Sept 1897; m. David Boyd Crane. She d. 20 Feb 1931.
We are now living as we started, and are located in a little house, on the back of Dr.
Trimbleís lot in Tocoma. ["Dr. Trimble" is the authorís son-in-law in Tacoma, Pierce Co.,
WA - see notes below. It is not clear what the author means by "living as we started."]
In 1929 I prepared an account of "My Forty Years in the Ministry" and you received a copy,
but please allow me to include a little [illeg.] in this account.
[The person to whom the author addresses comments and for whom he apparently wrote this
account is not known.]
As stated, Edith Evangeline was born while we still lived on the old farm. She attended
public schools on the various charges, graduating from the Keithsburg High School in 1903.
She taught school for one year, and entered Northwestern University in the fall of 1904.
She took her sophomore year in Hedding College and taught every other year, finishing her
junior and senior years in 1910 at the Nothwestern University at Evanston, Illinois.
On January 4, 1913, she was united in marriage with Dr. Charles Garnet Trimble, of the
famous missionary family, who graduated from the medical department of the Northwestern
in 1910 also. In the meantime she had taken a nurse training course in Sioux City, Iowa.
"The university's newest residence hall is named after Charles Garnet Trimble, a former
medical missionary in China and Puget Soundís athletic team physician in the 1930s. Funding
for the hall was made possible by a gift provided through the Trimble Foundation from his
son, Robert A. Trimble í37. Robertís brother, J. Edward Trimble, was also a í37 graduate,
and their sister, Margaret Trimble Campbell, graduated in 1951. Robert U. Trimble, grandson
of Robert A. Trimble, graduated from Puget Sound in 1999.
See also a biography of Charles Garnet Trimble in "Life as a Medical Missionary", from text
provided by William C. Trimble, son of Kenneth and grandson of Charles, online at
Dr. Trimble had a contract position at Hibbing, Minnesota, with the Messaba Iron Range workers.
It was while here their eldest son, James Edward was born, and when he was less than four months
old, they took him to China, where they remained for thirteen years.
While on this missionary field, Robert Alford Trimble and Kenneth Dean Trimble were born.
They returned to the United States in 1920 for their furlough, returning to Yenping, China, the
following year. The greater part of the thirteen years that were spent in China was at the Alden
Spears Memorial Hospital, which grew under Dr. Trimbleís management.
They returned to the United States in 1927, settling in Tacoma, Washington, where Dr. Trimble
has a very fine general practice, and in addition to this they are doing a great amount of
In February of 1929, Margaret Jean came to bless their home. Ed and Bob are in the College of
Puget Sound, and Kenneth in the Junior High.
Alice Jeanette, was born while we were still in Colfax, Illinois, and was baptized with her
sister Edith, by Rev. S.E. Steel. She received her schooling as we moved from place to place
and finally graduated from the Academic Department of the Wesleyan College at Helena, Montana.
She taught several years both in Illinois and in Montana, and on January 18, 1912, was united
in marriage with John F. Ritz, son of Mr. and Mrs. A.F. Ritz. He was a graduate of the Helena
High School and a registered plumber. He afterwards took a course in butter and ice cream making.
His creamery at Ryegate, Montana, was destroyed by fire. On Nov. 8, 1913, a son, Harold Fredrick,
was born to them, who is attending college in Los Angeles, California, where his parents are now
living. All three are members of the First Methodist Church and live workers in the same.
Shirley Merrick, our first son, was born Sept. 7, 1892, and was drowned July 29, 1905. The
funeral was conducted by Revs. W.R. Wiley, A.M. Stocking, and Alvin Yoder, and his body laid
to rest beside his sister, Halo, at Hampton on the Mississippi.
Halo Augusta, born January 11, 1893, our fourth, was taken from us at the age of three by
diphtheria, on February 2, 1896. Her death was the first sorrow of our married life, but all
these years she has seemed to us as our baby. She was laid to rest in the Hampton cemetery.
Walter Goodsell, our fifth, was born at Hampton, Illinois, September 20, 1895, and like
the others, received his public schooling, and finally took two years of college work at
the Wesleyan, in Helena, Montana. He has an unusually fine baritone voice. He is an expert
butter maker, and a trained salesman, and for a time was manager of a Safeway store.
On Friday, the 13th of April, 1917, he was united in marriage, by Rev. Edward Smith, at
Bozeman, Montana, to Miss Harriot E. Norton, who traces her ancestry back to Royal Family
of England. Her grandmother was a near relative of Queen Victoria, and it is said they
resembled each other. Since this marriage they have lived in Montana, Indiana, Illinois,
and California. They are now at Eucinitas, California, and have one son, Walter James,
born December 16, 1918, who is a fine cornet player, is in High School and doing well.
He is the only one of blood descent that will carry the name Alford into the next generation...
Then a little girl, Donadine, ten years old, who is the light of the home. She was born in
Mary Elenore was born in Hampton, Illinois, September 15, 1897, and like the others, got her
education on the charges we served, graduating from the High School in Valier, Montana. She
also attended, to some extent, the Wesleyan in Helena. She had about four years of musical
education, as she had a marvelous contralto voice.
On July 25, 1917, she was united in marriage, at a fine church wedding, at Valier, to David
Boyd Crane. They lived in Montana for a time. Mr. Crane joined the Marines during World War,
and after it closed, they took up their abode in Los Angeles. Four children, John Bennett,
Bettie Elenore, Walter Alford, and David Boyd Jr. came to bless their home.
Walter Alford Crane was taken from them on July 5, 1930, and was laid to rest in a beautiful
cemetery near Los Angeles.
On the following February, the mother, Mary Elenore received such burns, from an explosion
of gasoline, that she suffered for three days, passing away on February 20, 1931.
The church at Baldwin Park was too small to hold the people who attended her funeral, which
was conducted by Rev. S.A. Rice and Rev. John Gray Ross, and her remains were laid to rest
in the same cemetery as their son.
The children, John, Bettie, and David Jr., were cared for the first year by Walter Alford
and his wife. They are now cared for in the home of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Ritz, and are doing
well in school.
A letter recently from a friend in Los Angeles, who had visited the Ritz home stated: "Maryís
children are doing well, and they certainly have a good home and the right bringing-up, I think.
When the Ritzes and Alice Hill meet Mary in Heaven, there will be nothing for which they can be
ashamed in caring for the children Mary left."
After my brother Robertís death, my brother George remained on the farm with my mother and
sister for ten months, when they leased the farm to a neighbor by the name of Ben Davis, and
they sold off all the personal property needed in running the farm, and moved to Bloomington,
in order to be near the Illinois Wesleyan University. My brother George as well as my sister
Jennie had each attended the Grand Prairie Seminary, to some extent, and my sister had taught
several terms of school.
In order to make my story more connected, I will take my brother through first, although he
was younger than my sister. He attended the Illinois Wesleyan for about two years and a half,
and in the mean time joined the First Methodist Church of that city, and received a license
to preach. At that period of time I was pastor of my first charge in Atkinson, Illinois, and
he made us a visit while we were there, and became acquainted with Miss Jennie Watson, the
only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E.B. Watson, who was our Epworth League President, of Epworth
League Chapter No. 557, that I had organized, being among the first that were organized in
the early life of the Epworth League. His visits after that became more frequent, even after
we had moved to our second charge at Colona, where Miss Watson was visiting us. He went home
from that visit with the promise that she would be his wife, and on March 8, 1893, they were
married by Rev. M. A. Head who was the presiding Elder of Rock Island District.
George Edwin Alford, the authorís brother
Prior to this, however he had stepped out of the Wesleyan University, and preached for one
year on the Illinois City charge. Though he was preaching at Walnut Grove at the time they
were married, and was attending school at Hedding College. He then served the church at
Ellisville for one year, but the charge was too far away to attend College, so the next year
they moved into Abingdon, where Hedding College was located and preached at Ellison, a few
It was while they lived here, on February 2, 1896, the very day Halo died, that their oldest
son, Marion Watson Alford was born. He then served the church at Trivoli and Vermont,
continuing his studies at Hedding. His next charge was East Peoria, where their first daughter,
Bessie, was born. At the end of two years, Bishop Ninde appointed him to Atkinson, Illinois,
which was his wifeís home and my first charge. He served here for three years, and on this
charge their second daughter, LaVona was born.
Left to right: George Edwin Alford; his son Marion Watson Alford; his mother Betsey Harkness
Alford (Mrs. Andrew J. Alford), grandmother of the two children in the photo; and his daughter
He then served the charge of Whitefield, which was just a few miles from Tiskilwa [Bureau Co.,
IL], where I was preaching. In fact, the charges joined and we often made pastoral visits in
company. We each served for three years, and I will ever remember the fellowship with one another
that we had at that time. It was at Tiskilwa that our eldest son, Shirley, was drowned, and I
will never cease to be thankful that my brother and his wife were so close when we were called
upon to bear this shock and burden.
He was moved from Whitefield to Dunlap, and remained there two years, when he was appointed
to Cissna Park, where he had a very successful pastorate for three years. However at this time,
his health had commenced to fail, perhaps as a result of the great amount of work he did on this
charge. The District Superintendent was planning on giving him a station instead of a circuit,
and appointed him to Gilman, Illinois, which was also my last charge in Illinois before going
into the Sunday School work in Montana. He had two good years on this charge in spite of the
fact of failing health, and at the close of the two years, he was appointed to Manteno, in
Kankakee County, where he was pastor for only four months, and died February 4, 1914, in the
very county in which he was born. He had been one of the Assistant Secretaries of the Conference
for years, and for some time had been Secretary of the Epworth League organization of the
conference. The Secretary of the Conference, Rev. Josiah B. Bartle, had charge of his funeral,
which I was not privileged to attend, on account of Mrs. Alford being in the hospital at Helena,
Montana, after a serious operation. His body was laid to rest in the Elmwood Cemetery on the Fox
River, at Yorkville, Illinois.
The way his wife managed the family after his departure is simply marvelous. All three
children are college graduates, and Marion and Bessie have received their Master degrees. Marion
is married to Mary Bigger, who is the only daughter of Rev. and Mrs. R.R. Bigger, and was reared
in a Presbyterian Manse. She has a College degree, and they are in the public school system of St.
Jennie Watson Alford is living with her daughter, Bessie, at Gilman Illinois, where Bessie is
teaching Home Economics, and is also Dean of the High School girls.
Several years ago I had the privilege of uniting LaVona to Chester H. Johnson in marriage, at a
church wedding held in Bloomington, and I think it was the most beautiful wedding in every respect
that I have ever had. They are now living on a fruit farm near Quincy, Illinois, and are the proud
parents of a son four years old, named Robert. Mr. Johnson had a very fine baritone voice and when
his wife, LaVona, who is an accomplished pipe organist, accompanies him, they can furnish
entertainment far above the average. LaVona is a laboratory technician and is very efficient
in hospital work.
Mary and Marion also have a boy in their home about the same age, of whom they are very proud.
My brother George was very painstaking and careful in his work at school, and had records to be
proud of because he had made them and kept them carefully for years. He was far more careful in
his work than I wasóbut why mention that.
My father had died at the age of forty-two, my brother Robert passed away before he was thirty,
and my brother George had just passed his forty-fifth birthday.
My sister, Jennie Anna, upon moving to Bloomington, took a special course in dress-making and
also in art at the Illinois Wesleyan. She specialized in charcoal drawing, and I think, has some
of the finest specimens that I have ever seen. They remained in Bloomington for several years
after my brotherís marriage and lived off the income from the rent of the farm, supplemented by
what she received from her sewing. About 1895 we had an opportunity to sell the old farm at
$70.00 per acre, which we did. I am not sure that was the best move, but at that time it seemed
all right. It has changed hands several times since, and at one time, for $525.00 per acre, but
I doubt if it really would bring $70.00 today. When we sold the farm my mother moved from
Bloomington to Yorkville, Illinois, and erected a neat house on the south side of Fox River, and
here my mother and sister lived happily together, my sister continuing as dressmaker.
In that city there lived a young childless widower by the name of George W. McHugh, whom I have
mentioned before. He owned a barber shop and several other buildings in Yorkville, and was
attracted by the sign of dressmaking that my sister displayed at her home. He had sewing that
needed to be done, and naturally he took his sewing to her. That was the beginning of the story
that continued so beautifully.
George W. McHugh and Jennie Anna Alford
They were married during the last year of the old century, and made their home in my motherís
house. George McHugh is more than an ordinary man, and made a good husband for my sister, who
was so dear to me. In early life he was in the newspaper office, working in Illinois and Iowa.
He always was and still is a great reader and is posted in literary matters as well as in current
events. The Northwestern Christian Advocate is a weekly visitor in his home and is eagerly
About two years after their marriage, their son Ralph was born, and I know that that little son
brought more joy to my motherís heart than any grandchild she had, but she lived only about six
months to enjoy him.
She had been a remarkably healthy woman, never employing a physician in her life, even when her
children were born, until she was nearly seventy years of age, but her failing health worked very
rapidly, as her decline only lasted from August to January. My sister, my brother George and his
wife and I stood around her bedside January 28, 1902, and saw her go. She was able to talk with
us up to within a few minutes of the time life ceased, and the minister whose name was Rev. S.H.
Swartz, used the same text that had been used at my fatherís funeral, which was ďBlessed in the
[illeg.] Lord, is the death of his saints.Ē My brother George took her remains to Eldridgeville,
Illinois, to be laid beside my father, the funeral service being conducted by Rev. John Small. A
good woman was gone, and I know that we all appreciated her with an increasing appreciation.
Following my motherís death, my sister sold the little home which seemed so lonesome after my
motherís departure, and they bought an 80 acre farm in the edge of Yorkville. Just before the
exchange was made, another son, Elwin, was born to them, and after moving to the farm, their
youngest son, Wilbur Alford McHugh, was born. Within a few years my brother[in-law] sold his
barber shop and gave his full attention to their new farm home. He had not been reared on a
farm, but my sister had, and between them, they brought up the boys as they grew to manhood to
be faithful workers. Improvements were made that materially beautified the place, as the location
of the farm was almost ideal.
Ralph and Elwin are products of the Yorkville High School, and remain on the farm, but upon
graduation of Wilbur from high school, he took a course in Optometry, and soon became very
successful. He is now employed by a good company at Decatur, Illinois. Wilbur is married to
Kittie Mulcahy and is the proud father of two fine sons, Donald and James.
For a number of years my sister was in failing health, but remained at her post as wife and
mother until her aching body could stand no longer. She was confined to her bed but a few weeks,
and on June 10, 1929, she slipped away, surrounded by her husband, Ralph, and [her son] Elwin,
[brother Georgeís widow] Jennie Watson Alford, Elenore Hill Alford, and myself. A sense of
lonesomeness came over me as she breathed her last, as I was the only remaining one of my
parentís family. Her funeral was conducted by her pastor, Rev. J.N. Dingle. George W. McHugh,
and his sons, Ralph and Elwin, are on the farm and successfully look after its interests and
do the work without help, both inside and outside.
Please forgive me if I have left anything out that you wished me to say, but I believe I have
included the most important events that you will wish to preserve. I think I have included in
this short sketch some circumstances that might have been lost, had I not recorded them. We
may never all meet again, but I cheerfully dedicate what little I have said to George W. McHugh,
and sons Ralph, Elwin, and Wilbur, Mrs. Jennie Watson Alford, and her children Marion, Bessie,
and LaVona, beside our own children Edith, Alice, and Walter, and the children of Mary, and pray
that Godís blessing may be ever with you.
-- Jacob Andrew Alford
1930: Farmington (E.D. 26), Fulton Co., IL, dwelling #358:
Jacob A. Alford
IL Norway Scotland
OH OH OH
1920: School District 18 (E.D. 167), Pondera Co., MT, (no
dwelling numbers on line 1 of sheet 7A):
Jacob A. Alford
IL Norway Scotland
OH TN OH
1910: Helena (E.D. 156), Lewis and Clark Co., MT, dwelling #38:
Jacob A. Alford
IL Norway Scotland
Minister M.E. church
Married 24 years
OH OH OH
6 children, 4 living
IL IL OH
IL IL OH
IL IL OH
IL IL OH
+ 2 unrelated female roomers
1900: Millersburg (E.D. 74), Mercer Co., IL, dwelling #215:
Jacob A. Alford
IL Norway Scotland
Clergyman Married 14 years
OH TN OH
6 children, 5 living
IL IL OH
IL IL OH
IL IL OH
IL IL OH
IL IL OH
1880: District 29, Kankakee Co., IL, dwelling #79: