Monday, February 10, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks (3) Geneva Evans, approx 1830-1900

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Ancestor 3

There is nothing like writing about an ancestor to show me how little I really know about them.  I don't know where Geneva Evans came from or where she ended up.  All I have is what I can glean from the few records she left. 

Geneva Evans was born sometime around 1830 somewhere in Virginia.  By 1848 she was in Warrick Couny, Indiana where she married John Nalley on May 7th (as recorded in Warrick County marriage records).  They were my 2nd great grandparents, maternal grandparents of my paternal grandfather George Hampton Harvey.

By the time the census was taken in 1850 Geneva had given birth to her Lourana, the first of several children that she would bear. The Nalley family stayed in Warrick County, Indiana for several years and in 1860 are found in Anderson Township.  Current political boundaries show that township to lie along the Ohio River. John's occupation is listed as being a farmer, but he apparently didn't own his own land since the real estate value was listed as zero.

The Civil War was breaking out.  Geneva's husband John was several years older and I find no record of him fighting.  Their sons were too young.  Southwestern Indiana wasn't in the midst of the fighting, but they didn't escape all the turmoil.  In 1862 the nearby town of Newburgh, Indiana was captured in a Confederate raid.  

For whatever reason, the family moved several miles north into Pike County by 1870.  They are found there in census in Lockhart Township.  By now they have their own land, with a real estate value of $2,000.  John is farming and Geneva is keeping house.  The older daughters have left home, leaving six children ranging in age from six months to 15 years.  John, like in 1860, is noted as not being able to read or write.  Geneva does not have that notation so she may have had more of an opportunity for an education that what John had.

Pike County must not have been satisfactory either, because by 1880 the family is in Carthage, Missouri.  John is noted as having a "tumor of the stomach".  Their 22 and 23 year old sons are in the household listed as "laborers", as well as some remaining younger children.  At some point during their residence in Carthage John died.  There is an 1887 court case filed in Pike County regarding Geneva's dower portion of a 20 acre parcel of land and naming their children as owners of the other two thirds.  I haven't been able to find a death or burial record for John.

John & Geneva's daughter Martha Nalley married a Peter Wright.  In 1900 there is a census record in Cherokee County, Kansas of Peter Wright's household with wife Mary and mother-in-law Geneva Nalley.  It is confusing, though, because this Geneva Nalley was listed as being born in March 1846 and was mother to only 4 children, 2 of whom were still living.   The birth places & parents' birth places are consistent with prior information, but Geneva could not have been born in 1846 and married in 1848.  

That's the last mention I can find of Geneva Evans.  Her daughter Martha Nalley Wright died in 1909 and Peter is found in the 1910 census for Jasper County, Missouri listed as a widower (though from Jasper County marriage records I know he remarried later that year).   Was the 1900 census entry in Kansas the correct family?  Did Geneva die there?  Or maybe back in Missouri?

Without a marriage bond or death record I don't have a clue as to who her parents were.  There were two Evans households in Warrick County in 1850 that could have been her family.  One was headed by Henry Evans and the other by James Evans.  Geneva's first son was named William H., possibly named for her husband John's father William Nalley.  Could the H be for Henry?  But her second son was named James.  Was that for her father?  

As I go through this I realize I need to make a trip to Warrick County to look at land and court records to see what I can find.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing. I love to learn about our family history and now you have made me interested in blogging as well. - Beth

  2. Good! Let me know if you start a blog. I'll be interested in reading it.