Category Archives: Waters

Thriller Thursday – Death by Musket

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Any family history will have its share of tragedies. One of ours was that of Polly Waters, eldest child of Joseph and Celah (Sweeney) Waters, my 5G-grandparents. Polly was born 28 August 1799 in Lincoln County, Kentucky; thirteen or fourteen more children would follow later. I have limited information on William Waters, so it’s possible he may be the same individual as the youngest, Charles W., born 25 November 1825.

Sometime between 1803 and 1812 the family moved from Lincoln to Casey County; it was there my 4G-grandmother, Cassandra, was born in January 1814. She would never know her eldest sister, however. Sources for the date differ, but according to both the Waters GenCircles database and the research of Jay Sweeney, on either 26 September 1805 or 20 September 1808, young Polly was shot and killed when her mother attempted to start a fire using a musket, and the weapon misfired. Was this a common means of starting fires? My quick Google search didn’t help answer this question, so I’ll need to do further research. Regardless, one can only imagine Cassandra’s horror and grief as well as that of the rest of the family. Polly, aged either six or nine, was buried somewhere in Kentucky. Shortly after the birth of the last Waters child, the family moved to Morgan County, Illinois. There, in Pisgah, Joseph and Celah would eventually be buried, many miles from their first lost child.

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Those Places Thursday – Pisgah, Illinois

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There is nothing better than a genealogical pilgrimage. I try to squeeze in one (or several) any time I travel.  So what if it makes a trip hours (or days) longer than it would have been otherwise? Every summer we return to Fairbury, Illinois to visit relatives, and we usually manage to fit an extra side trip in there somewhere as well.  We made one such trip  four years ago to Pisgah, Illinois. Essentially a wide spot in the road and a grain elevator, Pisgah nevertheless was the location of genealogical events in the lives of 24 family members, including 21 burials. Union Baptist Church once stood near Pisgah and Highway 104. The church was torn down between 1971 and 1972, but the adjoining cemetery, founded in 1830, remains.

Among the 21 family members buried here are Joseph and Celah (Sweeney) Waters, my 5G-grandparents. According to the Find-a-Grave website, Joseph actually owned 80 acres adjacent to the cemetery, and descendants continue to live there.  Joseph, son of Isaac and Kitty (Hawker) Waters, was born January 4, 1773 in Montgomery County, Maryland. He married Celah Sweeney, daughter of Moses and Elizabeth (Johnson) Sweeney on November 27, 1798 in Stanford, Kentucky. Celah was born June 2, 1782 in Amherst County, Virginia. Joseph and Celah had some 15 children between 1799 and 1825, and both died in Morgan County, Illinois – Joseph on March 10, 1842, and Celah on September 18, 1845. Their daughter Cassandra (Waters) Murphy, my 4G-grandmother, is supposedly buried in this cemetery as well, though we did not succeed in finding her headstone on our pilgrimage. Maybe next time.

Surname Saturday – Nimrod Canterbury Murphy

You have to love a name like Nimrod Canterbury Murphy, but to date, my information on our Murphy branch of the family is limited.  Nimrod was born about 1809 in Kentucky. On June 24, 1830 in Jacksonville, Illinois, he married Cassandra Waters. Between 1831 and 1832 he served in the Black Hawk War.  In 1840 he is enumerated in census records in Carlinville, Illinois, and in 1850 in Gentry County, Missouri. He and Cassandra (born probably January 8-9, 1814 in Casey County, Kentucky) had 13 children: Lucinda, Joseph, Celia C., Margaret, Richard, Elizabeth, Nimrod, Paulina, W. Jackson, James Henry, Louisa, Greenill, and William Waters. Nimrod died September 11, 1860 in Allendale, Missouri, and is buried either there or in Morgan County, Illinois.

Cassandra lived nearly 40 years more. In 1860 she is enumerated in Washington, Missouri, listed as a weaver. In 1880 she is living in Franklin, Illinois. She died June 3 or 4, 1896 in either Murrayville or Pisgah, Illinois, and is buried in Pisgah’s Union Cemetery.

Nimrod and Cassandra’s daughter Celia, born May 16, 1842 in Illinois, married John H. Davis sometime between 1857 and 1860 and moved to West Union, Iowa.  They would remain in Iowa; according to the 1910 census Celia had given birth to 12 children, only 5 of whom were still living.  Their oldest child, Lucinda Blanche Davis, was born March 16, 1859 in Allenville, Missouri, and married Wellington David Wilson.  Lucinda and Wellington’s son Carl Ozro, was my grandma Blanche Wilson’s father.

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