His name was George Americus Fox, his wife was Mary Ella Sibert. They were married in 1882 in Ridott, Stephenson County, Illinois - today it is just a spot in the road with three streets running one way and three cross streets, about 20 miles or so from here. In 1885, they had their first child in Illinois, Ethel (Dy's great grandmother) and in 1887, they had their next child in Lincoln, Lincoln County, Nebraska - followed by three more children that survived to adult hood. Some where and time they had at least 4 other children that we know of, but all died either as infants or as children and the only record we have of them is their names.
I had gotten my information from one of my first cousins and found some on my own, such as the marriage date and where they were married. Dyana's info came from her mom and her grandmother, as her great-grandmother never, ever discussed or told them hardly anything about her childhood or her parents. They knew Ethel was born in Illinois, and they assumed it was in Byron, and that all the others were born in Byron, as well. Byron, Ogle county, Illinois is another small town ( although no where near as small as Ridott, about 10 miles north of Oreon and also sits on the Rock River, something else Dy's mom knew nothing about until recently). Most of the Burd family since the Civil War had been born in or around Byron, thus leading to the assumption held by Dy and her mom.
Part of my problem was that I couldn't find anything on any of them, birth, deaths, etc. in Lincoln, Nebraska. With being there from about 1886 to a little after 1894 - there was no census record as only a relative few 1890 censuses survived a major fire many years ago. So this wasn't an option, either.
Now to continue the story - sometime after 1894, the family moved to Macomb, Pike County, Mississippi, but after there a short time, George was working with a neighbor putting up a fence. An argument ensued, and the story is that the son of the man he was arguing with went into the house, brought out a gun and shot George. The only witnesses were a black man who was walking past and George's daughter Ethel, who was about 14. So nothing was done by the law, as to them there was no witnesses. His older sister, a lady who lived to be 100, said the reason was because they were all Yankees, having been born in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire. This happened in September, 1898. Within the year, on August 10, 1899, Ella passed away and the children were all put in an orphanage.
By the time the 1900 censuses were taken in northern Illinois - around June, all the children were placed with family members in the Byron area - except my grandmother was placed with a foster family. An uncle of the children who was married to one of Ella's sisters was the one who rescued the children from the orphanage. Ethel and Will Burd were married in 1903, when Ethel was 19. Her younger sister, Florence (my grandmother), was not happy in the foster home, so came to live with them, and thus met Will's younger brother Lee. They were married in 1906.
Ethel, being the oldest had in her possesion a metal box which she kept all of her life. In this box were several tin-types of her father and some of his family, and some of Ella's family. There was also a family Bible and a picture album. Dyana has all of these. She has sent me some copies of some of the tin-types, and some of the obituary clippings she found in the Bible which Ethel had placed in there over the years.
So on our to-do list for both Dy and myself was to find more info on George and Ella - and since I couldn't find anything online, and Dy couldn't either, although my skills at sniffing things online are far advanced to hers, she started calling Pike County. We started this a couple of years ago, and finally had some results, even though it took several calls by her to Pike County.
A bit more background is needed before I get into our results! For one thing, Dy had explained her "Gram", Ethel, to me - she lived to be about 91, so Dy knew her up until about the age of 29. Ethel worshiped her husband, Will Burd and the Burd family. That is all she would talk about. She hated large families and only had two daughters herself. She had no pictures of herself or her own family from over the years of their growing up - could be a couple of reasons. Maybe no money for pictures or a camera, who can tell at this point. In the album are a few pictures and postcard type pictures of other family members, like they were sent to her. The Bible is so old that Dy now uses gloves to handle it, same with the album. I encouraged her to get them both copied, either she do the scanning or have a professional do it so she doesn't lose the information. Once she has a copy, she can have both books secured and handle the copies as much as she would like.
In the album, the other day, she came across a picture on the last page that had anything on it, and it was labeled Ethel - it is a picture of a baby. The preceeding page also has a baby picture on it, labeled Leland. We have no idea who this baby is, as it is not in the list of names we have of those who did not survive, nor have I come across it in either the Fox or Sibert or Burd lines. We are guessing it might have actually been their very first child and that it did not survive into childhood. Another thing held in belief about the rest of the Fox children by her mother and her mother's cousin was that Ethel was born in Byron and the rest were born in Mississippi. They knew nothing of Nebraska. With Dy telling her mother that the other children as they were listed on the censuses over the years, that I had found, almost all were listed on each one as being born in Nebraska, she still didn't fully believe it. However, about a week ago, she casually pointed to two books on the book shelf as being "Gram's" that she had from her father - Dy opened them both up and on the fly was written, "George A. Fox, Lincoln, Nebraska"! They had never opened the books over the years - if Dy's mom had, she doesn't remember. Once when Ethel was asked why they moved to Mississippi, she answered that Dad wanted to paint. So over the years, the story came down that he was an artist who painted murals on buildings and in churches.
This story apparently came about from Dy's mom's cousin - Corky and her mother. In thinking back to the various things they thought they knew, were from stories from Corky and her mother - both who loved to embroider and even make up stories. Dy's mom was devastated when she learned that they were just stories. However, the latest find has cheered her up greatly.
On Friday, Dy checked her mail on her way to the doctor's office - she has some kind of respiratory bug, too! As soon as she opened her mail, she called me, not her mom! She had received a land purchase deed registered to George A. Fox for April, 1896, in Macomb, Pike County, Mississippi! It was for about 142 acres for which he paid cash in the amount of $1400! We were both so excited! Now, Dy plans to call and see if she can now find some more info on their deaths and/or burials. We both have our fingers crossed. Plus she is now going to call Lincoln, Nebraska, and start with a possible land deed, and then continue from there.
A few loose ends, Ethel did say that they were only in Mississippi a few years, and that after her dad died (several days after the shooting) that her mother died and so did a baby/child. The only pictures of Ella that any of us have is two as a young woman, and then one we think is her as the notation on the back says "Mama", written by (we think) my grandmother. The lady is in a wheel chair and looks frail and elderly, until you look closely at her face - it doesn't look "elderly" - just very sad. Ella was only 40 when she passed away. Dy says neither she nor her mom ever remember Gram talking about her mother, but she seemed to also worship her dad. We also have a small slip of paper that states Dad died September 23, 1898; Mama died August 10, 1899 - also in my grandmother's handwriting. My first cousin Sharon has given me copies of so much of the information she has, as she has Gramma's family Bible. I had some questions a couple of weeks ago, but she was so involved with the sales of her two volumes of books on her town's history, that she really couldn't remember anything!
Dy's great grandmother lived the longest of her siblings living to the age of 96, while the others died in order of their births - 40, 57, 75 and 87. My grandmother was the one who was 57 and she died in 1944, four years before I was born. My Mom always told me of all the grandchildren, I looked the most like her. My father also agreed, and he said I was a lot like her otherwise, too. I sure wish I had known her! Dy's mom and her cousin remember "Aunt Florence" very fondly and especially her chocolate cake! Another distant relative that I talked to several years ago, remembered both my grandparents from when she was young, also. She said they were a lovely couple - and Dy's mom said she agreed - it was always fun when they visited.
Ethel and Will lived in Rockford, Illinois, as did their daughters and their families. Sometime in the 1940's, they all basically moved to San Bernadino, California and to various places in Arizona. Dy and her mother live in Prescott, Arizona now. They weren't able to make it to the Burd reunion this year, but Dy's mother has said she will be here next year, and has made Dy promise to attend even if she "croaks"!! I can't wait to meet them both! It is funny to me, that even though when Dy and I met online, she only knew me as Susie, and when we talk on the phone, she calls me Susie, the one day her mom got on the phone to hear my voice, she called me Susan! That told me she was family, as all my first cousins and my aunts and uncles always called me Susan, never by my nicknames of Sue or Susie!
That is all to the story for now, but I will update it as we find more. Recently I have found information on the one brother - those who survived to adulthood were four girls and one boy. I also have found more information on some of the others. The only ones who had any children were the three oldest - Ethel, Pearl and Florence. Pearl's children are all gone and can't find any information on descendents from her two sons. For Florence's descendents - it is only from my generation on that is left. So family information is a bit of a rarity!
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