December 30, 2014

Hiram Meek - Son of James and Anna (Cooper) Meek

The Children of James and Anna (Cooper) Meek

Samuel Meek (great-grandfather) 1824 - 1902
David Cooper Meek (Samuel's twin) 1824 - 1901
Enoch Meek #1 1825 - 1901
                    * Hiram   1826/7 - 1909  (Elizabeth's twin)
Elizabeth  1826/7 -1907 
Seth     1827 - 1845
Sidnah  1830 - 1872
James  1833 - 1865
Ednah  1834 - 1910
John  1836 - ?
Beulah  1837 - 1912
Enoch #2   1840 - 1864
Solomon  1842 - 1917
"You definitely do not descend from a colorless character, " one fellow Meek researcher commented, referring to my husband's great-great uncle, Hiram Meek of Mark Township, Defiance County, Ohio.  Born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, the son of James and Anna Meek, on August 6, 1827, Hiram was one of fourteen children.  The early years of his life were spent with his family in Columbiana County, Ohio.

When Hiram was about 22, he decided to try his luck in the gold fields of California.  One of his obituaries stated, 
"In 1849, he joined an overland party to California in search of gold.  He remained in the west 4 years, returning to Ohio by way of the Isthmus of Panama."
So he was one of the forty-niners, lured out West by the promise of quick wealth in the gold fields. Perhaps he went with David Cooper Meek, his brother.  Even though he was gone during the 1850 census, he was enumerated with his mother and siblings in Unity Township, Columbiana County.  The enumerators were directed to list "...the name of every person whose usual place of abode on the first day of June 1850, was in this family...including names of those temporarily absent on a visit, journey, or a voyage..."

Upon his return, he married Mary Usk Batchelor, an immigrant from England.  They married in Jennings County, Indiana on November 12, 1856.  Eventually, the family settled in Mark Township, Defiance County, Ohio, on a farm in Section 7 that would be 180 acres by 1890.  In the 1860 census, Mary and Hiram had two small children: O'ella, 2, and Seth, 1.  Hiram, 32, and Mary, (who was born at sea), 30, had real estate worth $2000 at that time and personal goods worth $200.

When the Civil War broke out, the young farmer enlisted as part of Company F, 111th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. His pension file held his own account of his troop's movements:

I enlisted in the U. S. Army August 13, 1862, and was mustered into the U. S. service as Second Lieut., Company F, 111th O.V.I. at Toledo, Ohio, September 5, 1862.  We left Toledo on the 7th and arrived at Covington, Ky. the 9th.  Left Covington about the 20th and arrived at Louisville about the 23rd.  Left Louisville about Oct. 1 and went to Shelbyville and from there to Frankfort.  From Frankfort to Crab Orchard by way of Lawrenceburg.  We arrived at Crab Orchard the next morning from the Perryville fight.  We left Crab Orchard for Bowling Green, Ky. and arrived there about the first of November '62.  Remained in Bowling Green doing post duty until near the last of June."

During his time at Bowling Green, Hiram was involved in the capture of three spies that were reported to the Army by some townspeople.  An injury that occurred at the time of this incident became the basis for an appeal for a greater pension later on in his career.  In a pension deposition, Hiram described the event at Bowling Green:

"In the fall of 1862, about the last of November while we were quartered at Fort Baker near Bowling Green, state of Kentucky, I contracted a severe cold and one evening I had taken a sweat and gone to bed expecting to get up in the morning feeling better.  But about midnight, a citizen came in and reported 3 spies located about 8 miles in the country.  The duty fell to me to try and capture them.  I got up all wet with sweat and dressed as warm as I can and made a detail of eight or nine men an went.  It was quite cold and frosty with a light snow on the ground.  I done the best I could to keep warm but was considerably chilled & came back with my prisoners and a worse cold than I had before which settled in my throat and lungs causing me to have a severe cough which I could not control.  I coughed so hard that it produced a hernia on which I claim a pension, at first it did not seem to amount to much although it was very painful..."

Hiram continued with his company, however, from Bowling Green, traveling eventually back to Cincinnati, Ohio, where his company patrolled the Ohio River to prevent Morgan of the Confederates from crossing.  About August 1, 1863, the company was moved to a camp near Lebanon, Kentucky, where they drilled and equipped themselves for a campaign through Tennessee. On August 20, Meek recounted that the group began their march over the mountains and across the Cumberland River, reaching Louden, Tennessee, about September 1, and remaining there until driven back by Longstreet in November.  Eventually, Hiram resigned his Second Lt. position and was discharged from the 111th on June 16, 1864, because of severe diarrhea, a condition shared by many of his company.

Hiram wrote, "It was in January (1864) after the siege of Knoxville, my health became so poor...I tendered my resignation and was sent home."  There he remained until March of 1865 "when I felt I had recovered my health sufficiently to stand another campaign."   So, leaving a wife and now four children behind, he was sent to Toledo to help in recruiting men for Col. Moses R. Brailey. There Meek's patriotism took over again and not satisfied with the recruiting position, he accepted a position as commander of Company D of the 195th O.V.I. as Captain.  He was with this group through Virginia, arriving at Alexandria in July 1865, where they did provost duty until mustered out of service in December 1865.  He was 38 years old and had seen a great deal of life...and death...already.

By the 1870 census, Hiram, 42, was back in Mark Township with his greatly expanded family, including wife, Mary, 39, and children: Oella, 12; Seth, 11; James P., 9; Kate, 6; Maud, 3; Carrie, 2; and Sarah A., 5 months.  The value of his real estate had grown to $4000 and his personal effects to $1650. In 1876, young James P. Meek would die on January 24th at the age of 14 years, 6 months and 28 days.

By the 1880 enumeration, one more son would be added - Ulysses Sidney Grant Meek - born when Hiram was about 52.  This son would be known by "Grant" - what a significant name bestowed on him by Hiram and Mary.  Mary's father, James, a widower and 76, lived with them in 1880, as well.

Hiram's name appeared often in the newspapers of the day as he was an active citizen, serving on county juries, working in the Agricultural Society, and on the township road committee.  In 1882, his father-in-law died, as noted in the Defiance Democrat on April 20, 1882:
"Mr. Bachelor, father of Wesley Bachelor, died at the residence of Hiram Meek, in Mark township, on Monday last, at an advanced age."

In 1885, Hiram lost his beloved wife, Mary Usk Batchelor Meek.  She and later, he, were buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Hicksville, Ohio.  This bit of information about Mary was found on
"Mary Usk Batchelor was the daughter of James and Sarah Cogswell Batchelor. Her middle name stems from the custom of naming any baby born during a voyage to be named after the ship. She was born aboard the USK on the Atlantic Ocean on 1 Oct 1831."

The above article goes on to mention Fred as one of the sons of Hiram and Mary, but I have not come across him in the censuses or birth records.  Hiram's obituary mentioned that he had three sons -James P., Seth, and Grant- and five daughters - O'Ella (Ella), Catherine (Kate), Mary Alice (Carrie), Maud and Sarah Anna.  So Fred remains a mystery.

By the 1900 census, an elderly Hiram lived with his daughter, Maud, and her husband, Thomas D. Hood.  The couple had two young children, John H. and Ella, ages 3 and 2.  With Hiram, listed as a boarder, was Ella Meek, single, 40, a boarder, as well. Was Ella misnamed in the census?  His daughter, Ella, was married and in Nebraska. Could this have been Kate instead?  A mystery.

On October 14, 1909, Hiram Meek passed away at the age of 82 years 2 months and 8 days.  An adventurous, patriotic man came to his rest.

 Another obituary in the Hicksville Tribune, on October 21, 1909

"On Thursday evening at an early hour, Hiram Meek, a pioneer resident of this neighborhood and prominent citizen passed into the great beyond after a lingering illness...
In his young manhood he took to wife Mary Batchelor, and to them were born 8 children, 3 sons and 5 daughters.  Of these one son and the mother preceded him in death, the wife and mother about 27 years ago.  Those surviving are Seth Meek, Anna Meek, Kate Meek, Mrs. Pyle, Mrs. T. D. Hood, Mrs. Carrie Hunton.  
When the Civil War broke out, deceased organized Co. F of the 111th O.V.I. and went out as second Lieutenant in that company.  He afterwards was made a captain and served near Washington until the war closed, leaving the service a brevet Major.
He was a forty-niner, crossing the plains in the search of gold and coming home by way of the Ithmus of Panama.  In addition to the survivors of his immediate family, he leaves a brother, Saml. Meek and two sisters, Mrs. Edna Cannon and Mrs. John Sensabacher.  Funeral services were held Monday afternoon from the Disciple Church.  Interment in Forest Home."


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