February 12, 2015

Where Are You, John 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

I have spent hours and hours and hours, trying to verify that I had located the John Meek, noted on the 1850 census of Columbiana County, Ohio with his widowed mother and all his siblings.  Twice, I thought I had him!  In each case, an obituary or other record dashed my hopes by listing different parents than James and Anna Meek.  

I'm going to write about at least one John Meek, as I have gathered so much research on him.  I thought, for sure, John W. Meek, who settled in Hicksville Township, Defiance County, Ohio, was my man.  The birth years matched, the birthplace matched, his daughter stayed with one of the above siblings and was listed as a cousin (but it meant cousin to the head of household), and he settled near all the other siblings. But his obituary listed different parents, so he was a cousin to the generation I was researching.  I can't find a death record or even a tombstone for him.   
F R U S T R A T E D ...

Here in the obituary that dashed my hopes...
Hicksville Tribune, Thursday, November 9, 1911

John Wesley Meek was born on a farm near East Palestine, Columbiana county, Ohio, October 24, 1836, and died at Hicksville, Ohio, November 4,1911, aged 75 years and 11 days.  He was of a family of seven children born to Samuel and Sydney Welch Meek, pioneer settlers of south-eastern Ohio, and spent his early years before the war in that part of the state, having learned the trade of blacksmithing in early manhood.
He was married to Elizabeth Mummert at Canton, Ohio, March 1, 1866, and this union was broken by her death which occurred September 2, 1890  

To them were born three daughters and one son, of whom the son, Phillip Clyde Meek and one daughter, Flora May Meek, still survive.  Shortly after their marriage in 1867, they removed to Defiance county, settling on a farm about two miles east of Hicksville, where they continued to live until the death of Mrs. Meek, except about two years in which they lived in Hicksville. 

After the death of Mrs. Meek, the deceased and his children moved to Hicksville, where they continued to live until his death.  He had no church affliation but his parents being devout Methodists, had him baptized in infancy.  He was a man of a very quiet and retiring disposition and possessed of a fine sense of honor and a high degree of integrity.  Mr. Meek belonged to that rapidly disappearing class of citizens and patriots known as the 'old soldiers,' whose deeds of self sacrifice and valor have endeared them to their countrymen, and whose merits and praises will be extolled in history and song so long as our united coutnry and its beloved institutions shall survive.

Few men had a more honorable army record than deceased.  He enlisted in Co A., 19 O. V. I., April 24, 1861, for three months service and received his discharge August 27 of same year.  He re-enlisted in Co. D. of the same regiment September 10, 1861, for three years or until the close of the war, and received his discharge December 31, 1863.  The following day, January 1, 1864, he re-enlisted in the same company as a veteran volunteer and served until the close of the war, receiving his discharge at San Antonio, Texas, October 24, 1865, having had a military service of four years and 6 months.

The company and regiment of which Mr. Meek was a member participated in 28 battles, some of which were the most sanguiinary engagements of the entire war, and included the battles of Rich Mountain, Shiloh, Perrysville, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, Kenesaw Mountain, Franklin and Nashville.  At the Battle of Chickamauga, the impact of the heavy artillery firing was so severe that his hearing was effected, and this interfered with his intercourse amount his fellows in later life.

The greatest comfort of the declining years of the deceased was in his association with his old comrades in arms, and in recounting with them and living over the experiences, hardships and incidents of army life, and in the ministrations of the G. A. R. of which he was an active member, and at one time, Commander. 

His was a simple, quiet and unostentatious life, but it is to he and such as he that a thankful and devoted country abscribe the salvation and upon whose brows is placed the laurels of victory.

Funeral services were conducted from the Lutheran Church Monday afternoon, under the auspices of the G. A. R., Rev. Albert officiated.  Interment in Forest Home."

To follow him in the records:

1860 - John W. Meek, Unity Township, Columbiana County, 23 years old, a blacksmith living with Amos and Sidney Keeler, farmer and twin girls, Louisa and Alvina.  I think now that Sidney Keeler might have been his mother.

Marriage record found on familysearch.org for John W. Meek and Elizabeth Memert, Stark County, Ohio, 01 March 1866

1870 - Hicksville Twp, Defiance County, Ohio - John W. Meek, 33, blacksmith, and his wife, Elizabeth, 28, keeping house with Flora M., age 2.

1877 - Birth record in Defiance County for Maud G. Meek, born 14 June 1877, to John W. Meek and Elizabeth Munnert.

1880 - Birth record in Defiance County for Philip Clyde Meek, born 24 Jan 1880, to John W. Meek and Elizabeth Mumnert

1880 - Hicksville Twp, Defiance County, Ohio - John W. Meek, 43, Farmer, and Elisibeth, his wife, 39 and children, Flora May, 12; Otta O., 8, both daughters and Phillip C., 4 months old.  Maud must have died by this time.

Death Record - Defiance County, Elizabeth Meek, born c. 1842, Stark County, Ohio, died 24 September 1890, Hicksville Twp, age 48 years, 9 months, 10 days, of typhoid fever.
Also in 1890, John appeared on the Veterans Census of Defiance County, although it only showed part of his service as compared to the obituary.

In 1896, Flora had a baby out of wedlock and there was a huge scandal.  
Fort Wayne Weekly Journal, 26 November 1896
 Birth Record, Defiance County, OH - Male Bly, Parents - Flora M. Meek and Charles Bly, born 27 December 1896, Tiffin Twp, Defiance County, Ohio.  I believe that Flora was in the Defiance County Home at that time and she is enumerated there later, in 1920.  In 1900, she was living with John and  Beulah Sensenbaugh, according to the census, and is listed as a cousin, possibly of Beulah, but I could not find her in 1910.  Otta also disappeared from all records.

1900 Census - Hicksville - John Meeks, head, born October 1836, 63, widowed, landlord, owns his home. Living with him was only Clyde (Philip Clyde), his son, born May 1879, 21, single.  In 1900, Clyde P. Meek was also enumerated at the Ohio Institution for the Blind, Columbus, Ohio, age 20, single, a pupil, born Jan. 1880, which is the date that matches the 1880 census.  Possibly John reported incorrectly to the enumerator in 1900. 

1910 Census - Maple Street, Hicksville, OH - John Meeks,widowed, 78, has his own income, and Clyde, 30, single, owns a retail confectionary.

In 1911, John W. Meek died.

Clyde was blind, and in 1908, received a stipend from the county Blind Commission, one of seven in the county to get this.  He received $100 a year, but he was quite an entrepeneur, according to the papers of the times.  Known in Hicksville as the "blind boy," even when mature, he was often chosen to pick the winning tickets in raffles and lotteries, as then there could be no question of any cheating.  He ran a "peanut emporium," a cigar store, a shooting gallery in Butler, Indiana, a restaurant, and a bowling alley, first in Hicksville, then in Sherwood.

Clyde registered for the draft on September 12, 1918, at the age of 38, giving his birthday as January 24, 1880, and his address as 126 North Main, Bryan, OH.  His occupation was a self-employed owner of a pool room and bowling alley.  He described himself as of medium height,stout build with light brown hair and blind.  Someone noted, "Eyes gone."

The newspapers noted that he sold his Hicksville businesses in 1914 and 1915, and moved to Bryan. In 1920, he was enumerated in the Pulaski, Williams County, OH census.  Clyde Meek, head, 39, single, owned a bowling alley and lived with Pete Psars, partner, 28, single, immigrated 1907, alien from Turkey, spoke Greek, occupation, shoe shiner, working for wages.

This is where the trail ended...this is where I learned that I had the wrong man...
In genealogy, one travels many roads sometimes that do not follow a straight line.
So this is a cold case right now!


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