Family Stories

A 2002 Genealogy Trip Revisited – Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska

My Ritchey standing behind the stone for his great-great-grandparents, Thomas W. Jewell and Zillah Ward Jewell..

Since I wrote the article on Thomas T. Jewell in May, I’ve wanted to share photos that Ritchey and I took on our last trip west for genealogy research – his family.  I was amazed to see the date was 2002 – almost 20 years ago.  I have wanted to recreate that trip.  Digital cameras would take better photos and I would love to see how much everything has changed since our visit.

We left in October and our first stop was Rushville, Illinois, a small town in central Schuyler County.  They have a marvelous history center and museum in the old jail.  People were friendly and happy to help find information on the Ritchey and McKee and Jewell families.  I was so impressed by the restaurants – so reasonable for such good food.  We went to Sugar Grove North Cemetery where the family members were buried.

Our next stop was Solon, Iowa, in Johnson County, looking for the elusive Hertz and Jungbluth relatives.  Solon is just north of Iowa City.  Oakland Cemetery was the final resting place for these relatives on his maternal grandmother’s side.  Iowa City has a fantastic historical society, many books, newspapers, and a friendly staff.

Iowa City is on the eastern side of the state, we drove to the far western side to Tabor, in Fremont County.  Tabor Cemetery held the remains of George and Caroline Jungbluth Klein – Ritchey’s great-grandparents.

We drove further west – the furthest I’ve been – to Fillmore County, Nebraska!  Fairmont Cemetery is where Frank and Edith Ritchey, my Ritchey’s grandparents are buried.  There is a memorial stone for his mother, Vivian Eleanora Ritchey Brown beside them.  Fairmont is a small town, roads are not paved, Main Street is cobble stone.  Even such a small town had a good-sized historical society.

Our final destination was Geneva Cemetery, in the same county and state.  Here Ritchey’s Jewell’s and older Ritchey’s are buried.  These photos are what I want to share with you today.

Thomas T. Jewell and his Six Wives tells of this son of Thomas W. Jewell and Zillah Ward.  Two of the younger Thomas’ wives are buried here.  After his first wife, Mira, left him, taking their daughter Mary Elizabeth, Thomas married Sarah Anderson June 30, 1872, in Rushville, Illinois.  They had three daughters – Laura, Nellie and Martha Alice.  They were living in Fillmore County, Nebraska, by 1884.

Sarah E., wife of T. T. Jewell, born March 3, 1851, died December 21, 1890, age 39 years.

After Sarah’s death, Thomas married Lucy Belle McPherson October 25, 1891.  Lucy lived just over a year after the marriage.  She was buried in Geneva Cemetery, near Sarah.

Lucia B., wife of T. T. Jewell, died November 18, 1892, aged 20 years, 11 months.

Thomas T. Jewell’s parents, Thomas W. Jewell and Zillah Ward Jewell are buried in Geneva Cemetery.  They are Ritchey’s great-great-grandparents.  Thomas was born in Maine, Zillah in Indiana.  They were married in Schuyler County, Illinois, and came to Nebraska after 1879.  Thomas W. was born in Maine, moved to Indiana, then Illinois and on to Nebraska.  What a large amount of our country he saw during his life.  He died at the home of his son-in-law, Charles Henry Ritchey, who married his daughter, Lucinda Amanda Jewell.  Zillah Ward Jewell died of cancer September 5, 1907.  Thomas and Zillah were the parents of nine children – Thomas T., Lucinda Amanda, Julia Mirand, Charles T., John C., Eben Ward, Enoch Sumner, Elmer E. and Parkhust.

T. W. Jewell, born April 3, 1815, died August 19, 1895. Zillah Jewell, born March 18, 1823, died September 5, 1907.

Charles Henry Ritchey, son of Charles Ritchey and Amanda McKee, was born in Rushville, Illinois, and died October 25, 1912, in Custer County, Nebraska.  He married Lucinda Amanda Jewell, daughter of the above-mentioned couple, February 4, 1875, in Illinois.  Charles and Lucinda had eight children – Charles Thomas, Mayr Emma, James Eben, Elmer Cross, Edith Helen, Zillah Maude, Arthur W. and Francis Sumber, Ritchey’s grandfather.

Charles H. Ritchey, 1848-1912. Lucinda Ritchey, 1849-1933.

Three children of Charles and Lucinda died at a young age and are buried close to their parents.

Children of C. H. & L. Ritchey.  Edith Helen Ritchey, September 7, 1882-July 3, 1885.  Zillah Maude Ritchey, August 13, 1886-1895.  Arthur W. Ritchey, December 17, 1888-September 13, 1890.

James E. Ritchey and Baina M. Clellan, son and daughter-in-law of Charles and Lucinda, are also buried in Geneva Cemetery.  James is Ritchey’s great-uncle.  He died May 1, 1967, and as Ritchey’s mother was driving to his funeral, she was killed in a car accident.  A tire blew and she lost control of her vehicle.  A great woman was taken to heaven that day. 

James E. Ritchey, December 19, 1879-May 1, 1967.  Baina M. Ritchey, August 7, 1886-October 23, 1965.

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