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One of the most memorable events in my genealogy history is when I sent a letter addressed simply: Del Castillo Family, Cartagena, Colombia, South America. My mother's maiden name was Del Castillo, and her grandfather had emigrated from South America many years before, so we didn't know much about her (and my) relatives.
Several weeks later, I received a response to my letter. It was from a cousin of my grandfather who said that he was 69 years old and very ill. He described my grandfather as an honest man and his business partner as a scoundrel. Unfortunately, the scoundrel also belonged to the family, so he was able to take advantage of his family ties and swindle my grandfather. This caused such a rift in the family that my grandfather left the business and made his fortune in America.
Receiving this letter from a previously unknown relative impacted me greatly. I tried to write to him again, but I think he probably succombed to his illness because I never heard from him again.
Another event that really impacted me was when I was about 11 and my mother sat me down and told me that my "grandmother" was really her stepmother, hence my step-grandmother.
My grandparents divorced when my mother was 5 years old (unheard of in the early 1930s), and my grandfather got custody of the 6 children. One night about a year later, he took the children and moved to a different state. My mother grew up without ever knowing where her mother was. She and her sisters managed to track her down, living in the Virgin Islands. She had never known what happened to her children, either. It may seem that my grandfather was cruel to do this, but none of us was there and don't know why he did what he did.
We had a nice reunion at my aunt's house in Salt Lake City, and I corresponded with her for many years.
I think every family has its secrets and interesting stories, and these are 2 of mine.
The earliest Case ancestor I can identify for sure is John T. Case, born in Pennsylvania in 1822. He and his wife, Luisa, and children moved to Rock Island, Illinois in about 1860. They are both buried in the Old Port Byron cemetery. To my knowledge, they had 14 children, most of whom died before the age of 2. John died in 1892 at the age of 70, and Luisa died in 1875 at the age of 45. Their 2nd oldest son, Theodore A. Case, is my great-grandfather.
My great-great grandparents, William Abraham and Jane Crocker, were from England, met here in the US, and married in Missouri. Their first child, Willie, only lived to be one year old. Their second child, Annie, was born in Missouri in 1860. In 1861, the family packed up and moved "out west" to Colorado. There, my great-grandfather, George Ely Crocker, and his twin brother Frank were born in 1866. In 1871, the family moved again, to Cimarron, New Mexico, and settled there for good.
William opened a slaughterhouse and butcher shop at Cimarron. Cimarron at that time had only about thirty Anglo families among a larger Mexican population. Cimarron was a bustling community, partly because the mountain route of the Santa Fe Trail ran right down the main Street of Cimarron.
In the 1870s, Cimarron was quite possibly the wildest and most lawless town in the American West. Dodge City and Abilene had already been tamed, but New Mexico was still wild and wooly. Cimarron was the center of the old Maxwell Land Grant which was by then owned by the Maxwell Land Grant Company. There were many settlers who had been living on the grant land, some of them for a long time.
The Grant Company was trying to get possession of the land and the settlers were not giving it up. Add to that a great deal of dissatisfaction in the Cimarron area with the then-Governor S.B. Axtel and resentment of political corruption originating with a group known as the Santa Fe Ring. All of these forces converged and were challenged by citizens of Colfax county, resulting in what became known as the Colfax County War.
In 1892, my great-grandfather George Ely Crocker and great-grandmother Mary Walker married. Mary had been orphaned at a young age and was raised by the Crocker family. They had 6 children, 5 of whom lived to adulthood. Their daughter Josephine married my grandfather, William Albert Case, and my dad, George William Case, was born 2/2/1922. He will turn 90 in February 2012.
The earliest Noel ancestor I can identify for sure is Luisa Noel, born in Maryland in 1829, and her family moved to Derry, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania shortly after her birth. She and her husband, John T. Case, and children moved to Rock Island, Illinois in about 1860. They are both buried in the Old Port Byron cemetery. To my knowledge, they had 14 children, most of whom died before the age of 2. John died in 1892 at the age of 70, and Luisa died in 1875 at the age of 45. Their 2nd oldest son, Theodore A. Case, is my great-grandfather.
My great-grandmother, Mary Ann Walker Crocker, was the daughter of William A. and Mary Walker. Mary Ann was born in 1875 in Missouri. Shortly thereafter, the family came to New Mexico because Mary (elder) had tuberculosis. In 1879, another daughter, Alice B. Walker, was born in New Mexico. The family appears in the 1880 census.
I know that Mary Ann went to live with the Crocker family and in 1892, married my great-grandfather, George Ely Crocker. I was told that her mother had died and that her father had gone to Galveston, Texas, and never returned. I have no idea what happened to Mary Ann's baby sister, Alice.
If anybody out there can help me in locating the missing Walkers, William A. and Alice B., please let me know. Also, if you can tell me when Mary died and if it was from tuberculosis, I would appreciate it. In fact, I would appreciate any information about them at all.
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