Chapter 185

John Gresham and Mary Elizabeth Barnett Had Family of 10 Children

JOHN W. GRESHAM, on November 29, 1849, in Pike county, married Mary Elizabeth Barnett, second daughter of pioneer Joseph Barnett and Rebecca Cannon, who settled in the Bay Creek country near Pleasant Hill in the spring of 1832. Joseph Barnett, a younger brother of red-headed Mary (Barnett) Lewis, wife of Samuel Hardin Lewis of the pioneer Pleasant Hill settlement, married Becky Cannon, daughter of James and Rachel (Stark) Cannon, in Lincoln county, Missouri, September 27, 1827.

The quaint Missouri record of the marriage, among the Lincoln county archives in the court house at Troy, Missouri, recites that Joseph Barnett of Union township married Becky Cannon of Hurricane township "by her father's approbation," indicating that Rebecca was a very young bride. Becky Cannon was a sister of Lydia Cannon Collard (mother of John J. Collard), Margaret Cannon Hubbard (wife of Charles Hubbard, one of the founders of Fairfield, later Pleasant Hill), Keziah Cannon Hubbard (first wife of Eli Hubbard, another of Fairfield's three founders) and Polly Cannon Stubblefield (first wife of Robert Stubblefield, whose second wife was Rachel, sister of John J. Collard and daughter of Polly's eldest sister, Lydia Cannon Collard). Again we run into those mixed relationships common among the families of the early settlement.

The above relationships are further complicated by the fact of the marriage of Mary Barnett Lewis's daughter, Martha Damaris Lewis, to Felix Alver Collard, elder brother of John J. Collard and Rachel Collard Stubblefield. The story of the Felix Alver Collards has been told in other chapters.

John W. Gresham and Mary Elizabeth Barnett were married by Elder Davis Hubbard, pastor of the Pleasant Hill and Martinsburg Baptist churches. Elder Hubbard, one of the shining lights of the early Pike county church, died in Oregon and is buried there.

Mary Elizabeth (Barnett) Gresham was born April 3, 1830 in Lincoln county, Missouri. Her childhood was protected by the walls of a pioneer log fort. Her children remember the stories she told them of her experiences with the Indians, on the Missouri border and on trips between the old Missouri home and the new home in Pike county, Illinois.

Mary Elizabeth, in her childhood, was often in the care of her aunt, Mary Barnett Lewis, heroine of the Indian wars on the Missouri frontier. Mary Barnett Lewis was the beloved "Granny" Lewis of the Pleasant Hill settlement, and is still remembered by a few persons at Pleasant Hill who are very old. She was born in the time of the Revolution and died at Pleasant Hill September 11, 1868, aged 89.

Elsmore Gresham remembers a story his mother told of a wild ride she once had when she was a child and Indians were about. She was riding horseback behind her aunt, Mary Barnett Lewis, when they were set upon by Indians. "Hold tight, we are going to run for it," said Mary to her niece. Mary Elizabeth clung tight and her aunt carried her to safety, outrunning the Indians.

Mrs. Sarah Bybee of Pleasant Hill, 78-year-old daughter of Mary Elizabeth, also remembers stories told by her mother of harrowing Indian encounters when she was a baby on the Missouri frontier. Mary Barnett Lewis sometimes took Baby Mary Elizabeth with her when she rode out on horseback from the fort to round up and milk the cows on the range. She carried a wooden churn in which she put the milk. Sometimes her alert horse would smell Indians before the milking was done. Then, with her churn in front of her containing the precious milk, and Mary Elizabeth clinging behind her, she rode for the fort with a speed that left the Indian ponies far behind. Mary Elizabeth became an able horseback rider, copying the art of her aunt who was reckoned one of the best horsewomen on the Missouri-Illinois frontier.

Mary Elizabeth Barnett was the second in a family of four children, the others of whom were Cordelia, Orville Walker and Rachel Rebecca Barnett. Joseph Barnett, the father, died near Pleasant Hill in 1838, when his oldest child, Cordelia, was only ten. Ephraim Cannon (early Pike county sheriff and brother of Joseph Barnett's wife) was appointed guardian of the children and administrator of the estate.

Cordelia Barnett, on December 17, 1846, married George W. Gresham, a first cousin of John W. Gresham who married her sister, Mary Elizabeth. The Reverend David Hubbard performed the ceremony.

Orville W. Barnett married in Calhoun county and had two children, George and Emma Barnett, Orville died at Pleasant Hill and his widow went to Nevada, where she again married. She resides at Wadsworth, Nevada. Her son, George Gresham, never married. He held public office in the state of Nevada. Her daughter Emma, now Mrs. Emma Trolsom, resides in Nevada. She has two daughters.

Rachel Rebecca Barnett child of Joseph and Rebecca (Cannon) Barnett, on August 19, 1852, in Pike county, married James M. Donovan of Pleasant Hill. A fragment of a stone in the long-abandoned Sapp cemetery on which appears the lettering "wife of James Dunoven," establishes that Rachel is buried in this old cemetery.

John W. Gresham and Mary Elizabeth Barnett were the parents of ten children, three of whom died in infancy. The others were Cordelia, Joseph, Sarah, Obadiah (Obed), Maggie, Orville Elsmore, and John.

Cordelia Gresham married Jacob James Emert October 10, 1872, he a son of Jacob Emert and Eliza Collard, she a daughter of Joseph Collard II, who was a son of Joseph Collard of the Revolution and a brother of John Collard, father of John J. Collard. Cordelia resides in Portland, Oregon. She has five children, the older ones, Viola, James, Mabel and Ross, having been born in Pike county, Illinois. A sister of James Emert, Mrs. Mary Ann (Emert) Mitchell, also resides in Portland, and is 93 years old.

Joseph Gresham married, first, Susie (Sude) Billings, November 18, 1883, and second, Ina Myrtle Bray of Pleasant Hill, April 6, 1898. Joseph died in Idaho. His second wife, Myrtle, lives in Idaho Falls. There were children by the second marriage, amomg them Elza and Sherman Gresham.

Sarah Gresham married Charles Bybee, July 16, 1882, he a son of George and Rhoda Bybee, natives of Kentucky who came to Pleasant Hill in the early 1850s. He is deceased. Mrs. Bybee resides in Pleasant Hill. She will be 78 on November 27, 1939. Children include Clarice, who married Homer Godwin, September 11, 1907, and Russall, who married, first, Lora DeCamp, October 17, 1906, and second, Opal (Eddins) Bybee, whose first husband was Frank E. Bybee. Russell's first wife was a daughter of James E. DeCamp and Minnie L. Galloway, and a granddaughter of A. L. (Dick) Galloway and his first wife, Sarah Brant, the latter a sister of John Hancock Brant.

Obadiah (Obie) Gresham married Leona bray, October 12, 1892, she a sister of Myrtle Bray who was his brother Joseph's second wife. Both are dead. Their sons, Virgil and Cecil Gresham, live at Pleasant Hill.

Maggie Gresham married Joseph H. Taylor September 30, 1888 and they are living in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Their children are Orville, Loyd and Dewey Taylor.

Orville Elsmore and Lucretia (Collard) Gresham have one son, John Wayne Gresham, born March 22, 1899. He is unmarried and resides with his parents on the farm near Pleasant Hill.

John Gresham, youngest of the children of John W. Gresham and Mary Elizabeth Barnett, resides northwest of Pittsfield and is a former road commissioner for Pittsfield township. He was born in 1871, after the murder of his father. He married Nellie Lynch August 25, 1895 and they have two children, Grace, who married Howard E. Roath of Quincy in 1922, and Lyndle.

Mary Elizabeth Gresham, widow of John W., survived her husband 47 years and died at a great age. She died at Pleasant Hill February 18, 1918, aged 87 years, ten months and 15 days. She had come to the Pleasant Hill country with her parents when she was two years old. She was for more than 60 years a member of the Baptist church.

John W. Gresham's brothers included Henry, who was shot to death at a dance at Baytown, pioneer town on Bay Creek, by bushwhackers from Missouri; James, who died at Hamburg, Calhoun county; Obadiah, who died at St. Louis while enroute home on a furlough from the Civil War; and Porter Gresham, who died up Gresham Hollow from Hamburg (Calhoun county). Porter left a son Logan, now deceased. His widow lives at Hamburg.

John W. Gresham and his brothers were sons of that Joe Abner Gresham who married in Kentucky and brought his wife and an old gray mare to Hamburg in Calhoun county in pioneer times, he and his bride taking turns riding the mare on the way up from the Blue Grass State. When they arrived at the site of Hamburg, their worldly possessions consisted of a half bushel of meal, a chopping axe and the aforesaid old gray mare.