Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - William Henry Ross

William H. Ross

This is the tombstone of William Henry Ross (1856-1869), located in Mackey Cemetery, Piatt County, Illinois. I took this photo in June 2007, the last time I visited the cemetery. Click to see the image in detail.

William was the son of Henry Ross and Elizabeth (Cowen) Ross. William was the brother of John Franklin Ross (1859-1943), father of Clara Bernice Ross (1897-1994). Clara's daughter married Elvis J. Brassfield.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Vilas D. Parker

Merrill's Marauders insignia
Staff Sergeant Vilas D. Parker served in the Headquarters detachment(1) of the 5307th Composite Unit (provisional), also known as Merrill's Marauders during World War II. Merrill's Marauders was the forerunner of the US Army Rangers of modern times.

Vilas was a passenger on a C-47 transport plane that went down in Burma in May 22, 1944, but the wreckage was not found during the war. He was declared missing in action and following the war, his name was recorded on the Tablets of the Missing, Manila American Cemetery, Philippines. According to the American Battle Monuments Commission, Vilas received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service in World War II. In a coincidence that is hard to believe, the plane went down on May 22 which was also his birthday in 1917.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tough Day

I found this article in the Laurens, Iowa "Laurens Sun" from December 24, 1936:
Tough Day. Bad luck dogged the Frank Fowlie farm near Rockwell City, Calhoun county, the other day when Jesse Barber came to the farm to shell the Fowlie corn crop. First a sprocket wheel broke on the drag of the sheller. It was replaced. Then a helper went to sleep on the truck, the spout filled up and another sprocket wheel broke, this time on the elevator. Barber had to drive to Fort Dodge after another. Finally, Mrs. Fowlie, backing her car out of the garage, crashed into another machine parked nearby. Her car was badly damaged.

Frank Brown Fowlie

Frank Brown Fowlie
Here's a photo of Frank Brown Fowlie (1892-1977). It's cropped to just Frank from a group photo. I'll include the group photo at a later date, but I thought this was a good picture of Frank to add. Frank married Clara Ross in 1920, this photo is from the mid 1920s. Frank was born in Calhoun County, Iowa and lived much of his life in Calhoun and Sac counties. Frank's father Alexander was born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and arrived in the US around 1870, according to the 1900 census. Alexander was listed as Alex on the 1880 and 1900 census forms.

The connection to the Brassfield surname is that Frank's daughter married Elvis J. Brassfield.

Three sisters

Mary, Helen and Clara Ross
This picture is of Mary Ada Ross (1894-1987), Helen Elizabeth Ross (1903-1990) and Clara Bernice Ross (1897-1994) the three daughters of John Franklin Ross and Mary Hay (Stotler) Ross.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


This pre-1920s photo is of Clara Bernice Ross (1897 - 1994). In the photo album it was entitled "Waiting".

Clara was the daughter of John Franklin Ross (1859 - 1934) and Mary Hay (Stotler) Ross (1864 - 1959). John and Mary were both born in Piatt County, Illinois. They married in 1889 and moved to Calhoun County, Iowa between 1890 and 1892.

Clara Ross is connected to Floyd Gipson Brassfield by the marriage of her daughter to Elvis John Brassfield.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Valois Denemore Parker

This photo was scanned from a family album and is dated to the first decade of the twentieth century.

From left to right:
Anna Bell (Wood) Parker (1858-1909)
Glenn Bird Parker (1899-1960)
Valois Denemore Parker (1857-1930)
Lloyd Ira Parker (1895-1961)
Clyde Adelbert Parker (1887-1962)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Henry Ross

Henry Ross
This is the tombstone of Henry Ross (1828-1863) and is located in Mackey Cemetery, Piatt County, Illinois. I took this photo in June 2007, the last time I visited the cemetery. Click to see the image in detail.

I have been discussing Brassfields, but there is no direct genetic link to Floyd Gipson Brassfield. The connection is through the marriage of Floyd's son Elvis. Henry Ross was the father of John Franklin Ross (1859-1943), father of Clara Bernice Ross (1897-1994). Clara's daughter married Elvis J. Brassfield. She is still living, so I won't be mentioning her name online.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

McGinnis Cemetery, Madison County, Iowa

Entrance to McGinnis Cemetery

I found this link today in the Iowa Gravestone Photo project. Sarah R. (Hill) Brasfield (1806 - 1879). Looking at the Brassfield-Brasfield webpage, I believe this is the wife of John Wiley Brasfield. She is the mother of Wiley D. Brassfield, who is the father of Elvis H. Brassfield, who is the father of Floyd Gipson Brassfield. I'll have to put this cemetery on my list to visit. It's Southwest of Des Moines. A map follows the jump.

USGS Geographic Names Information System

The USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) is a good way to locate things like cemeteries and populated places. As an example, John Hunt was born near Downey, Iowa. A search of GNIS shows a historical town of Downey and a historical post office in Downey. Clicking the GNIS in Google maps shows Downey is a small unincorporated village in Springdale township, Cedar County, Iowa. A Zip+4 search shows that Downey is no longer a valid zip code, to use West Branch, IA instead.

An interesting point is that Downey is less than a mile east of the Cedar / Johnson County line. This researcher lists Johnson County, near Downey, Iowa as John's birthplace citing a family Bible. Looking at the 1870 US Census for Cedar County, Springdale township, the Samuel Hunt family was living there 20 August 1870, listing John Hunt as 10 months old. So, apparently they were living in Cedar County, but John was born in Johnson County. I'm not sure what the county the birth certificate lists.

Census extract for the 1870 census after the jump.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

James Harry Brassfield, Korean War casualty

Tonight I stumbled across the name Harry Brassfield (1911-1951), a casualty of the Korean war. His full name was James Harry Brassfield and he was a Master Sergeant in the 8th Cavalry Regiment1st Cavalry Division of the US Army. He was captured in Unsan, probably during the Battle of Unsan, on November 2, 1950. He died in captivity July 31, 1951. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

It turns out that he was a 4th cousin to Floyd Gipson Brassfield. I discovered this using the Relationship Calculator on Brasfield-Brassfield Genealogies website (click the link to see the relationship).They are connected by John Brassfield (1735 - 1790), so it's a distant connection, but they are related. I think it is pretty amazing that a connection can be found so easily using the internet.

Coleridge Public Cemetery, Cedar County, Nebraska

The Coleridge Public Cemetery in Cedar County, Nebraska has a few names that appear to be related to the Brassfield surname. John and Jennie J. (Johnson) Hunt, parents of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) Brassfield, wife of Floyd Gipson Brassfield. Howard Harry Hunt, son of John and Jennie and brother of Thelma is buried there as well. Nathan Johnson Hunt, brother of Thelma and Howard is also buried there.

Blair Nebraska City Cemetery

Block 29 Blair Cemetery
A view of block 29 including Beistline and Hunt tombstones

Blair, Nebraska has an online capability to search Blair City Cemetery Burials. Four names appear to be related to the Brassfield Surname. Samuel and Sarah A. (Beistline) Hunt, Parents of John Hunt, father of Thelma Sarah (Hunt) Brassfield, wife of Floyd Gipson Brassfield. Also buried there is J. R. and Susanah Beistline (or Beistlin). They are the parents of Sarah A. (Beistline) Hunt.

Civil War Veterans

I found some links for a couple of Brassfield's in the 8th Iowa Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. The time frame involved appears to mean they participated in The Battle of Spanish Fort in Alabama.

Friday, August 20, 2010

A photo of Floyd Brassfield

Floyd Gipson Brassfield
Here's a photo of Floyd Gipson Brassfield. It was scanned from a collection of slides and dates to the early 1950s.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Good Morning

This is a scan of a sticker which was based on the bottle caps for milk delivered by Floyd Gipson Brassfield in Lake City. The caps said, "Good Morning Here's your Brassfields Grade A Milk Phone 289" These stickers circulated the family around 1990 in anticipation of a family reunion.

Woodbury Township Cemetery in Sergeant Bluff, Woodbury County, Iowa

View Larger Map

Woodbury Township Cemetery is also known as Hill Cemetery, Holman Cemetery and Sergeant Bluff Cemetery. The USGS GNIS lists it as Woodbury Township Cemetery, Find a Grave lists it as Sergeant Bluff Cemetery and the Iowa WPA grave survey listed it as Holman. Interment.net has no information on this cemetery. US Gen web for Woodbury County, Iowa has a transcription that lists some relatives of Floyd Gipson Brassfield.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Floyd Brassfield census analysis

Census Bureau seal
Floyd Gipson Brassfield was born 4 April 1898 in Sergeant Bluff, Woodbury County, Iowa. I believe his middle name is derived from his mother Nell's father, Gipson Bates. I am unable to locate Floyd in the 1900 and 1910 census, but it seems reasonable to believe he was in Woodbury County,  Iowa. More details after the jump...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Business card

Floyd Gipson Brassfield's (1898-1961) business card. According to the 1930 census for Lake City, Calhoun County, Iowa, on April 4, 1930, Floyd and his family lived on South Street. Update: I have been told this might have been 413 W South Street

Reference:1930 Census, Series: T626  Roll: 645  Page: 197.

View Larger Map

First post

This will be a blog about the Brassfield surname and others. I will be focusing on Iowa and Wisconsin. I am interested in Sac, Calhoun and Benton counties in Iowa, Waushara, Marquette, Jefferson and Dodge counties in Wisconsin and Piatt and Champaign counties in Illinois. I intend to post some items from time to time, including obituaries that I find and old photos.