The thing that made my Lemon-Knapp family tree end up containing almost 28,000 souls (and growing daily, I might add) is that I can’t stop researching when I latch on to someone who married into my tree. I find I’m doing the same thing to the tree I created for just Knapper’s ancestors to help me find his DNA matches. The main reason I find myself unable to stop adding people is because I can’t stand not knowing the answer to a puzzle or a mystery. I’m doing it again.
While trying to document all the members of Knapper’s White side of the family, I’ve stumbled across a puzzle that I just had to solve. Believe it or not, this one has taken me to Australia, as well as Michigan, Missouri, Idaho, New York, Massachusetts, and Washington.
Mattie Vera Cantrill married John Franklin Mathews, the son of George Mathews and Amy Sophia White. Amy was the daughter of James White and Elizabeth Turner. James White was either the brother or the uncle of Edward White, Knapper’s mother’s grandfather on her mother’s side. (Edward White and Mary Jane Lyons to Anna May White and George Knapp to Louise Knapp and Donald Purcell to Phyllis Knapp Wheeler Knapp, Knapper’s mother.)
Mattie Cantrill’s mother was Mary E Thompson who was married twice: 1st to a man named Martin Thayer in about 1864-65, and 2nd to Robert Cantrill in 1881. Mary had children with both men, and both men left her widowed. With Robert Cantrill, she had a son named Robert Ezra Cantrill. The first thing that’s significant with Robert Ezra is that his middle name is the name of Robert Cantrill Sr.’s first wife’s father. She was Harriet Smead and astonishingly (at least to me) she lived with her parents in Pierrepont, St Lawrence County, New York. That’s where Knapper’s Knapp line came from; well, his 2nd great-grandfather came from there, Orlando James Knapp. Isn’t it a small world after all? (Yes, it’s a song. Don’t judge me.) Sometimes in the course of my genealogy research, I’m reminded of the belief of some religions that we are reincarnated and we come back over and over with all of the same people we knew in other lives, though with different relationships. It is entirely possible that the Smeads knew the Knapps of Pierrepont, New York. Then Ezra Smeads’ daughter ends up tangentially related to the Knapp family through not Knapper’s father’s family, but through his mother’s. But not on his mother’s Knapp side, but on her White side.
But I digress. Back to the reason I got started with the research that found me following this train of thought.
Robert Ezra Cantrill, Mattie Cantrill Mathews brother, married a woman named Anna Whalen. Anna Whalen was the daughter of John Whalen and Henrietta Markham (a name that figures prominently in my own family.) who was born, in all places, Australia in 1861. Etta, as Henrietta was called, was the daughter of Theron Markham, born in Massachusetts, and Anna Donahue, born in Ireland. Theron and Anna are first found in 1870 in Missouri with 3 children, all of whom give Australia as their place of birth. Remarkable! How did their Massachusetts born father find his way to Australia, marry an Irish lass, and sire children there, then move to Missouri? And I thought my own father had itchy feet! Then in 1880 the family is found in Kent County, Michigan, which is where Mattie and John Mathews met and married. After their marriage, they had two daughters; the eldest born in Michigan and the youngest in….wait for it…Idaho. The little Mathews family then moved to Washington state where John died in 1941. Anna, Mattie’s mother, whose father was born in Ireland and mother in Australia, died in Washington in 1965. Anna herself was born in Michigan, where her parents, John and Etta, may have married as all of their children were born there, starting with Anna in 1879. The family is found in Walker, Kent County, Michigan, in the 1894 Michigan census with 5 children, Anna being the oldest at 14.
Maybe you can understand why researching direct lines leads me to the allied lines, or maybe not. Some people think my sort of research and documentation of every single individual who connects in any way with members of my own family is stupid and pointless, as well as being confusing. I’m half tempted to believe that I was a detective in a previous life and that is why the puzzles, brick walls, and hunt for family members fascinates me so.