Saturday, January 9, 2010

Westbound Day 6 Springfield, OH to Springfield, IL 375 miles

The temperature in Springfield OH this morning is 16.  I have several places to visit around here and then I am off west hoping to get to Springfield IL by dark.

I made it to Springfield IL and was able to explore Springfield, OH as well as Richmond IN  and Centerville IN.

The Springfield OH Clark County Historical Society has an excellent museum in downtown Springfield which I had all to myself this frigid cold, snowy morning.  As I was explaining to one of the volunteers working at the front desk my genealogical road trip west I handed him my card and he immediately told me that one of his card playing buddies is Don Grove.  Of course he assured me he would pass my card to him, who knows he's probably a distant cousin.  Springfield has some fine old 19th century homes and is a prosperous community today.  Two of Sarah and Williams children were born in this area.  But something drew them about 50 miles west from Springfield along the National Road to Richmond IN.

Richmond IN is the county seat of Wayne county and is significant to me as the birthplace in 1866 of William and Sarah's final child, Charles Miller Grove, my great grandfather.  The National Road Visitor Center sells an audio CD driving tour of Richmond which is really excellent and gives you a comprehensive historical tour of this small city.  As with most of the towns and cities along the National Road in the 19th century Richmond was a manufacturing center surrounded by fertile farmland.  Some of the items manufactured here were cars, lawnmowers, pianos, and even phonograph records at the Gennette recording studios.   Hoagy Carmichael recorded there. The Wayne County Historical Museum is excellent. There are both indoor and outdoor exhibits that show the town in the 19th century so I was able to imagine what the area must have looked like in 1866.

About 6 miles further west on the National Road is Centerville IN.  This is important to my story as this is where William enlisted in the Union Army in November, 1862.  William's enlistment papers indicate he was 40 years old, 5' 9 inches with dark hair and eyes.  He was enrolled in Co. B 24th Regiment of Indiana Infantry Veteran Volunteers.
 In 1862 Centerville was the Wayne County seat which may be the reason the army was enlisting men there instead of in the larger city of Richmond.  In 1873 Richmond convinced the courts to move the county seat to Richmond from Centerville.
William served in the Army and saw action at the Siege of Vicksburg but was frequently in hospital with dysentery.  He was discharged in 1865 in Galveston TX and returned to Indiana.

After Centerville IN the next documented records of William and Sarah's presence is in Liberty Township KS in 1873.  So I am headed to Liberty Township which is just west of Parker KS which is about 11 miles from Osawatomie KS which is about 40 miles south of Kansas City.  It should be obvious that William and Sarah settled in the heart of rural Kansas.  More on Parker later.

So why am I in Springfield IL?  There are two reasons.  As I indicated in my December 13, post researching only one surname is showing a very thin slice of one's ancestry.  My great grandfather Charles Miller Grove married my great grandmother Kate Short in 1892.  Other genealogists have supplied me with documentation on my Short family line and they have their roots in Roodhouse, IL in Greene County.  Most of them are buried in the Short Cemetery in Greene County.  Since I have already logged almost 1600 miles in my journey I thought it appropriate that I visit these ancestors' graves also.  So as I leave here I will angle off toward Roodhouse.

Reason  #2.  I recently found my father, John Virgil Grove's birth certificate and discovered the address where my grandparents were living when he was born in November, 1925.  So in addition to a side trip to Roodhouse I am also going to get a picture of 1205 S. Eighth St in Springfield.

Of course since the last time I visited the Abraham Lincoln sites I was about 12 I thought I owe it another visit.  My FBLS book club members will appreciate this since we read the Doris Kearns Goodwin book last year which revived my interest.

Good to hear from you Michelle Lafleur.  Thanks for the New Salem info Chris.  Hi Emma the BFCCPS sign is enjoying the trip.  Andrew I saw some kids playing hockey in Indiana today.  They were skating on a frozen farm pond. It's -2 in Springfield as I write this.  As I scan the weather I have been in it seems I left the more moderate temperatures in Boston and headed in to the frozen plains.  I hope I get some normal  January temperatures soon.