Diverse, divergent, but yet they were both my 2nd great grandfathers. They were hard workers, had left their mark on their communities, their families and the plat books of their counties.
August Yess was born the 29th of January, 1829 in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. He immigrated to the United States in the 1850s. I have yet to uncover any documentation telling why…why would you leave your family in Germany to move to Peoria county, IL? A fellow genealogist gave me some clues. Maybe he wasn’t the oldest child and was looking at a lifetime of military service. Maybe he had little chance of inheriting any land to live on. Maybe he was a young 23 year old man who was excited about the prospects of what life could offer him in the United States. Whatever the answer is or was, he came with few worldly goods.
He married a fellow immigrant, Theresa Hanlach in Peoria County in 1855. They would have Charles, William, Mary, Amanda, Joseph and John Yess. John, my great grandfather, died before his father. August passed away at age 76. He and Theresa had acquired a lot of land in Peoria county. His name was all over the plat book in Jubilee township. He had left Germany and in little more than 50 years, had prospered to the point of leaving a substantial estate behind for his family.
By contrast, one of my other 2nd great grandfathers, Elias Chenoweth, was born in Washington County, Indiana 21 June 1835. The Chenoweth family had already been in the United States for 125 years by the time Elias was born. In fact, the Chenoweth family was in the United States BEFORE they were the United States! October 30, 1856 he married Permelia Ellis in Fulton County, Illinois. Her family had been in the American Colonies before 1606. Elias and Permelia were the parents to Mary, Emma, James, Adaline, Martha Jane, William Harrison and Elias Milton.Two of their children would die before Elias.
While Elias had moved to Fulton County, Illinois with his parents and five of seven siblings. (Two died prior to moving to Illinois.) Elias would live in the home his father had built near Bernadotte, Illinois, on the farm his father had purchased, but he prospered of his own toil. I discovered how ambitious he was from his papers.
My grandparents and parents are excellent archivists and had saved old checks, deeds, and financial papers throughout the years. Looking at checks dating back to the late 1880’s and early 1900’s as well as reading deeds and loan papers, I figured out he often loaned money to neighbors so they could pay their real estate taxes. Copies of papers signed by those individuals as well as copies of the deeds were buried in the family archives.
As an interesting aside, I once found a paper regarding a loan he had filed with the County Clerk in Fulton County, Illinois . Imagine my surprise when I found these details on the legal paper.
Certificate of Redemption to Elias Chenoweth for 35 acres in Fulton County, Illinois for the sum of $15.08 plus .25 cents for the copy of the certificate. The certificate is signed on March 24, 1911 by Clerk of the County Court, Austin Onion and the fee had been paid in June of 1910.
The interesting twist is my sister is married to a gentleman named Onion and they have a son named, Austin. So, my 2nd great grandfather had been issued a certificate by a gentleman who’s relative would marry Elias Chenoweth’s great-great granddaughter! Small world, eh?
Both 2nd great grandfathers prospered but in different ways. Both had large families and invested wisely so they owned significant land later. However, one was a first generation immigrant and the other was a multi-generation Patriot.