Genealogy and Family History
Barb, Barbe, Beckwith, Hadley, McGee,
Mort, Pogue, Way, Weir
and numerous families connected to
Hancock and Fountain Green Townships
Somewhere In Time
(this will open in a separate window)
For this true heart remembers.
A secret spark will burn for thee
Among its dying embers.
In 1933, Doris Evelyn Barb
Pogue wrote a family history
centered on the descendants
of her great-grandparents:
James & Jemima Baker
Barb, Elisha & Elizabeth
Alvis & Martha Barlow Way,
and William & Amanda
Stefler Weir. She included
information available to her
at the time, much of it
oral history passed down
|This website is the culmination of her wish that her grandchildren would continue to add to the history. Had it not been for her abiding interest in family lore, it's doubtful that her stories would have resulted in more than an occasional item of conversation or brief bursts of curiosity. Thanks in part to the vast resources available on the Internet and the explosion of interest in genealogy, I have been able to gather information far beyond her wildest dreams and document almost everyone and everything she included in her original text.
Investigation of my paternal background began turning up a number of links between between Dad's and Mom's families; both lines had been in the area, friends and neighbors for several generations. This inspired me to broaden the scope of my research. The results have included delightful discoveries of double cousins and a family tree that is an elaborate maze.
As each relationship lead to another, I realized I possessed a huge amount of information on an interconnected community, particularly residents of Fountain Green, Hancock and nearby townships, and had become possessed, myself, with a desire to keep working on the best jigsaw puzzle ever. At some delusional point, I decided to document all of the burials in several of the local cemeteries, each of which holds one or more of my ancestors going back as far as fourth great-grandparents. And as if that weren't enough to keep me occupied for years, I'm also tracing the descendants of those buried in the cemeteries.
Feel free to peruse this site for anyone who lived in the general area of the villages of Fountain Green, Webster, Joetta, or the neighborhood that revolved around Majorville Church. There are also connections that range into McDonough County, particularly in Hire and Tennessee Townships.
On the short list of family surnames are the following: Alexander, Barb and Barbe, Beckwith, Hadley, McGee, Mort, Pogue, Powell, Way and Weir. Related lines include: Campbell, Carpenter, Edmunds, Ellefritz, Gipe, Larkin, Latherow, Long, Mesick, Mosley, Munson, Parker, Peck, Robinson, Sammons, Scott, Shields, Siepel, White and Wright.
Significant revisions, additions, etc., are listed in this section.
to McDonough County. Folks slipped over the line from time to time.
Genealogy & Family Album
Several of these pages are filled with pictures and may take a few extra seconds to load.
Elisha Beckwith (1764-1846) and Mary (Polly) Walker (1780-1850+)
lived in Hancock County, Illinois, at one time or another.
Several of these pages are filled with pictures and may take a few extra seconds to load.
will be able to provide names to go along with the faces.
(Last updated May 15, 2002)
Abigail Colleen Nagy
Sign or view the Deep Roots Guestbook
|Bryant Genealogy & WorldConnect Database Ron Bryant maintains these two fine websites which hold a significant amount of genealogical data on Hancock County and hundreds of its residents.
|Hancock County, Illinois, part of the USGenWeb and ILGenWeb Projects.
|Hancock County Historical Society|
|LaHarpe Historical and Genealogical Society|
|McDonough County, Illinois, part of the USGenWeb and ILGenWeb Projects.
|McDonough County Genealogical Society|
|National Genealogy Society|
|Primitive Baptist Library of Carthage, Illinois|
|Now that you have the data presented on this site, and all of the above links to help light your path, please take a moment to read two important essays. Use your browser button to return to this page.
by Barbara A. Brown
by W. Scott Simpson
To echo Ms. Brown's and Mr. Simpson's well-written comments, don't blindly accept as fact anything you find on the web (and that includes this website), written in a family history or a volume of local biographies, written on a marriage or death certificate or even inscribed on a tombstone. We have examples close at hand to clearly illustrate the following points.
Biographies are only as good as the accuracy of the person who provided the information, and in published versions there may be typographical errors, typesetting errors or the misguided hand of an ineffectual editor. Even when someone imparted first person knowledge, memories are fallible or there may be details which he or she embellished or hid. Whether the material was written close to the time of the person's life or many years later, it makes no difference: it's still important to view primary sources whenever possible.
Various sources recounting the life of Jabez Beebe, a founder of the village of Fountain Green, contain a congregation of contradictions. Jabez first married Sophia; she died in 1840; Jabez went to New York and married her sister, Martha, and they returned to Hancock County. But according to a biography of Martha's son, Henry, "Sophia ..... died May 17, 1840. By his second wife, Jabus A. Beebe had two children, one born April 16, 1834, died March 12, 1838....." The autobiography of a daughter said the family traveled in a family boat from New York down the Alleghany River to Louisville, Kentucky, and then by steamboat to Warsaw, Illinois. The obituary of a son stated, "After long and tedious travelling by ox team, they crossed the boundary line of Illinois."
Birth dates and locations, birth and death certificates: Birth dates were sometimes misstated to mask the fact that a baby was born a bit too early. Women understated their ages because they were embarrassed about being older than their husbands. It's common to find a town named as the birthplace for someone who was almost surely born at home, and in Fountain Green and Hancock Townships, home was more likely on a farm located near the named town. (In this locale most births occurred at home well into the 1920s, at a minimum.) On marriage licenses there may be ambiguous entries, e.g., 'married at Hancock' instead of 'Hancock Township'. So when the license reads Fountain Green, was that Fountain Green, the village, or Fountain Green Township? When a parent or spouse died, the survivor could only report to the best of his or her knowledge the deceased person's birth location. Perhaps the individual reporting the death was not an immediate relative, but someone with little or no firsthand knowledge about the deceased person.
Marital status: She said she was a widow in the 1880 Federal Census. His obituary said his first wife died and he then remarried. Uh, no. The stigma of divorce was so great that neither wanted to admit the truth. Don't immediately stop searching when you encounter these 'facts.' At the time of this gentleman's second marriage, his first wife was alive and well in Colorado, raising their daughter. Even our family's bona fide outlaw (who had little regard for social conventions) was recorded as a widower rather than a divorcé, but perhaps it was his more propriety-conscious sister who spoke to the census taker.
Obituaries: Oh, heavens. You've never met such a community of saintly people. Loving husbands and wives, warm and caring parents, dutiful children, helpful neighbors. And for those to whom death did not come quickly, many were 'patient sufferers' or 'great sufferers' who never complained. No doubt many of these reports were true, but our favorite is the obituary that described a man who could be a little difficult to get along with. And, by the way, don't absolutely trust any of the dates shown in obituaries - it's amazing how many errors they contain. In one obituary a first wife and mother of a man's eldest two children was not mentioned at all, and the second wife was specifically named as the mother of all six children.
Tombstones: Among several examples of inscription errors, perhaps the most egregious is the tombstone on which the date of a woman's death is still perfectly legible, but she was listed in the census two years after that date, got married, gave birth and then died, a little over 10 years past the date on her tombstone.
Sources: If you accept statements and sources presented by another author, make a note of where you found the information and be sure to display that reference, especially if you republish. Why?
(1) First and foremost, because if you keep at this for very long, (a) you won't be able to remember where you found every single detail and (b) eventually you will want to know. Ask any seasoned veteran!
(2) Because someone else did the footwork for you. While you're doing the requisite genealogist's happy dance, overjoyed because you finally found reference to a birth date, be grateful that someone pasted a tiny clipping in a scrapbook, and then his daughter saved that scrapbook when it was headed for the garbage dump, and many years later, someone recognized the value of the clipping, transcribed it and put it in a compiled history or on a webpage.
(3) Whenever possible, you should view original records for yourself. Until you have done that, you are relying on someone else to have accurately deciphered handwriting, accurately transcribed news articles or tombstone inscriptions, etc., and that someone is your source, not the census page, Bible page or newspaper item that you have not seen with your own eyes. If you find a bit of information on this website, this website is your source. The URL of the homepage (the page you are viewing at this moment) would be the best choice for a source address, because individual webpages are moved or renamed from time to time. For obituaries and hard to read tombstone inscriptions, verbiage such as "as transcribed by" or "interpreted by" would be appropriate.
(4) When the contributors to these pages identify errors, we correct them; when we uncover new information, we add it. If you don't give your viewers the opportunity to retrace your search path, you have, at best, done nothing more than repeat information already available on the web, and, at worst, added to the glut of misinformation populating many genealogy databases.
(5) Just because something is repeatedly stated does not make it a fact. The next time you search for someone on Rootsweb or Ancestry.Com and find 27 absolutely identical entries for an individual, right down to the notes, ask yourself whether each of the presenters diligently ferreted out those details or simply copied them - perhaps from a flawed initial source. We have contacted a handful of web authors and received reponses like this one, "I had no idea that person was in my database."
A stellar example of a flawed source and, likely, wholesale importation with no thought and no interest in the individuals, is a database that shows a woman (a) born 7 years before her own father (according to dates quoted by the web author), (b) who began giving birth when she was 11 (according to dates quoted by the web author), (c) together with a husband who, in fact, died when he was about 65 and when she was, in fact, about 8 years old.
Regarding conflicting sources, we can only assemble as much information as is available and make a best guess based on the preponderance of evidence - and our best guess might be different from your best guess. We frequently have no choice but to note the possibilities and continually use verbiage such as it appears, it seems, apparently, perhaps, possibly, probably.....
We've corresponded with people who say it's unlikely that anyone else would ever be interested in a particular family, such as in the case of a family who died out. We look at it like this: have you ever said to someone, "Save my place"? That's what we're all doing, in a sense, saving the places of those who have come and gone, sometimes those for whom there is no one alive to remember them, for whom there are no glowing biographies and precious little historical data.
But they were flesh and blood. They lived their lives - long or short. They were buried in unmarked graves or they were buried and then the family moved on, with no one left to put flowers on their graves or pull the weeds. They were the babies who perished after just a few breaths and often weren't even given a name. They were the little ones who succumbed to childhood illnesses, they were the parents who grieved, they were the men and women who in many cases did nothing spectacular, but they lived and, perhaps in some way - a name, a likeness, a habit, a preference, a family saying - their lives made a difference in ours.
As a final note, when was the last time you tracked down someone whose identity has been a mystery or a detail not previously substantiated? Do you contribute to the body of data available about the folks for whom you're searching, or do you simply republish information already on the web without adding any value whatsoever? If you only copy (or import) and republish, what have you accomplished? You've wasted your time and that of your viewers, because they, too, can search the web. Your viewers don't want a rehash - they want substance.
Please, find something to add. Write to a library or historical society. Obtain a copy of a widow's pension file or a probate file. Take pictures of deteriorating tombstones before it's too late. Exhaust all possibilities within your means to find the son who went to Texas, or find out where that first wife was buried. And then make your documentation available through the local historical society, a posting on a surname forum, or send it to the administrator of an appropriate website. You'll be glad you did and someday, somewhere, there might be someone else who will be so very grateful that you took the time to