Category Archives: Newspapers

Newspapers, Newspapers and More Newspapers

As I was preparing all my family documents for scanning earlier this year, I came across a photocopy of the obituary of my husband’s black sheep ancestor, Isaac Sturgell. It was taken off a roll of microfilm a number of years ago and I was lamenting the fact that the photocopy hadn’t held up too well. The scan is actually an improvement over the photocopy.

Obituary for Isaac “Sturgle”

I found this while reading old issues of the Cassville Republican newspaper out of Barry County, Missouri. I also wished that I could find a better digital image since there is no death certificate for Isaac and he was buried in an unmarked grave.

This is a reminder to keep checking the ever-growing online collections of digitized historical newspapers. Here are some links, which are also in my Research Toolbox found in the top right area under the blog title header.

California Digital Newspaper Collection

Digital Library of Georgia

Google Newspaper Archive

Historical U.S. Newspapers On Line

Historical Worldwide Newspapers on Line

Library of Congress: Chronicling America

Old New York State Historical Newspapers

Online Historical Newspapers

Why am I bringing this up now? Because it turns out that the Cassville Republican wasn’t the only newspaper to publish Isaac’s obituary. A slightly differently worded obituary appears in The Monett Times. The town of Monett sits on the county lines of Barry and Lawrence Counties, Missouri.

I took some time to browse Chronicling America for some of the less common surnames in the family tree and “Sturgell” was one of them. What came up, but Isaac’s second obituary in the Monett Times:

Second Obituary

It appears that two different people wrote these obituaries. The first tells me that Isaac died of consumption, or tuberculosis. The second obituary calls him “Reverend,” which I find hard to believe as I’ve never found any evidence that he even knew how to read or write. That is apart from the generally un-Christian type of life he led! However, there is one bit in the second one that I wished I had known when I traipsed all over Oak Hill Cemetery – which is quite large with over 2700 graves – hoping to find where he was buried. The second obit says he was buried in the Baptist Church lot. Even if he is in an unmarked grave, I could have taken a photo of the Baptist section.

However, I am thrilled that I now have not one, but two, obituaries for Isaac.

Take the time to revisit the sites that feature digitized newspapers. They are being updated all the time – I’ve featured links to updated collections several times in my Recommended Reads. Each update is worth checking out.

Newspapers Solve Family Mystery – Lewis M. Stufflebean, 1837-1937

The family of John Stufflebean and Matilda Peavler of Linn County, Missouri was fractured by the Civil War when John died in Nashville, Tennessee in 1864. Their children were enumerated in their own household with teenage sister Mary as the head of their household in 1870.

Lewis Michael Stufflebean was the fifth of the eight children born to John and Matilda. I had collected basic information about the family. Lewis was born on 22 August 1857 in North Salem, Linn County, Missouri. He died on 14 March 1937, also in North Salem and he is thought to be buried in North Salem Cemetery, although there is no gravestone for him there.

Lewis is likely the “L. Stufflebeam” in the household of Jno. G. Peavler in the 1880 census of Colusa County, California. Lewis’s mother was a Peavler and he apparently lived with an aunt and uncle for a while.

Lewis apparently returned to Linn County, Missouri to  marry Elizabeth J. Cornett there on 29 March 1883. She was the daughter of Jefferson Cornett and Nancy Ann Bennett. He may only have returned to Missouri to marry, as their first two children were born in California.

Lewis and Elizabeth had eight children, although only five of them survived to be listed in any census.

1. Allie Edith, born 17 December 1884, Colusa Co., CA; died 4 March 1936, Brookfield, Linn, MO. She married John Jimmerson.
2. Bertha May, born 21 June 1886, Colusa Co., CA; died 1954, Pueblo, CO. She married Marion Douglas Robison on 4 January 1905, Linn County, MO.

There may be a family Bible record around somewhere because several online trees include these three children. Census data does support the death of three children before 1900.

3. Lawrence Fredrick, born 30 April 1888; died 31 August 1890
4. Florence R., born and died on 6 April 1890
5. Truman Jefferson, born 8 February 1893; died 30 September 1899

Next, from census records:

6. Amy Belle, born 17 February 1896, Linn County, MO; died 19 July 1923, Visalia, Tulare, CA. She married George Dunkle, 21 June 1914, Laclede, Linn, MO.
7. Ethel Ada, born 22 September 1900, Linn County, MO; died 30 January 1990, Brookfield, Linn, MO. She married Frank Ambrose King, 10 April 1917, Laclede, Linn, MO.
8. Elsie Hope, born 19 October 1904, Linn Co., MO; died 30 October 1989. She married Wardie L. Wilson, on 4 June 1921, Chillicothe, Livingston, MO.

Okay, so where is the mystery here? I have Lewis with birth and death date, marriage record and quite complete information for his children. Well, the mystery was with Lewis’s wife, Elizabeth J. Cornett. Since Lewis isn’t my line, I never delved too deeply into this family and while I had a birth year of about 1861 for Elizabeth, I had no death date or burial place for her.

I last have the family in the 1910 census in Laclede. The family is split onto two pages and Elizabeth’s father, Jefferson Cornett, is living with them:

LewisMStufflebean1910Pg1 LewisMStufflebean1910Pg2
Lewis Stufflebean Family, 1910, Laclede, Linn, MO

By 1920, L.M. Stufflebean was a gardener living in Noble, Cleveland, Oklahoma. He may have gone there because his brother, John Henry, lived there with his family. He is listed as a widower.

I mentioned a few days ago that I have been checking Chronicling America for newspaper tidbits for various family names. I was checking Missouri newspapers for “Stufflebean” and “Stufflebeam” and up came a 1909 article in The Laclede Blade for L.M. Stufflebean. This article was the push to make me look deeper for Elizabeth Cornett Stufflebean. Instead of looking for her death record, I looked in a totally new direction.

L.M. Stufflebean Notice of Separation

With this new information, although the family was intact in the 1910 census, Lewis and Elizabeth were having marital difficulties. I have seen more than once where divorced couples report on the census that they are married or widowed, when they are neither.

Now, I was searching for a marriage record for Elizabeth Cornett Stufflebean between 1910-1920. (I didn’t look for a divorce record because those aren’t readily available online.)

Elizabeth Stufflebean Marriage, 1913

Lewis and Elizabeth had divorced sometime after the 1910 census. On 3 September 1913, in Chillicothe, Livingston County, Missouri, Elizabeth Stufflebean and George Moran, both of Laclede, MO, were married.

A check in Missouri Digital Heritage brought up her death certificate:

Elizabeth J. Cornett Stufflebean Moran
Death Certificate, 1935

Elizabeth died in Blue Mound, Livingston County, Missouri. So, not only was the mystery of her death date and place solved, but the newspaper “Notice of Separation” painted a much more personal picture of the life of this family in the early 1900’s.

You never know what you might find in the newspaper.

Lost Newspaper Records

Four generations of my family lived in Passaic, New Jersey and there were numerous mentions of them in the Passaic Herald News, the city newspaper. I found this clipping among my Nana’s pictures and papers:

Newspaper Picture of George and Job Forum
Undated News Clipping

The young man on the left is my dad, George Sabo. I wish the top edge of the clipping included a date, but I am guessing this was published about 1945-1946 and it most likely appeared in the Passaic Herald News.

I have been on the hunt for digitized images of the Passaic Herald News. Not only have I not found any, but I discovered, much to my horror, that when the newspaper was sold to a modern media company, they disposed of the archived stacks of old issues, which dated back to 1932. Other incarnations of the newspaper stretch all the way back to 1872! My heart sank.

I have continued the hunt, though, and learned that the Passaic Public Library has a microfilmed set of the paper. They won’t allow the films to go out on interlibrary loan. Hmm. I might have to make a trip back to New Jersey and visit the city where I grew up!