In a place like Perry County, Ohio—where everyone seems to be related—it doesn’t take much time to realize that a lot of the same surnames keep showing up in many different families. Genealogists have always contended that “If you go back far enough, we’re all related.” It’s just that the genealogists studying Perry County have arrived at the proof of that conclusion far earlier than anyone else might have anticipated.
Take the family of Norma Flowers Stevens. I mentioned yesterday that both her parents came from sizable families. Her mother, Bertha Genevieve Metzger Flowers, grew up with nine brothers and sisters. Depending on the records used for the tally, Norma’s dad had at least three brothers and five sisters.
John Ambrose Flowers was the youngest son in that family. The oldest, born in 1870, began a long line of children that ended with the birth of the youngest in 1893. Once each of these children reached adult age, the surnames of those intermarried produced a set of names familiar to those in the New Lexington vicinity. Two daughters married Bennett men. Another daughter married into the Hammond family. A Flowers son married a Harris daughter, while her brother married a Flowers daughter. And John Ambrose Flowers himself married a Metzger, providing himself with a mother-in-law from the area’s extensive Gordon family.
The connections did not end with that generation. John’s parents introduced another whole generation of community relationships. John’s mother was the former Anna Maria Snider, daughter of James Jacob and Elizabeth Ann Stine Snider. Both the Snider family and the Stine family were also well known in the area, with bygone generations’ businesses carrying the name of various Snider relatives.
John’s father, however, is the one we’ll need to concentrate on for my current goal of attaining recognition for this Flowers line as a First Family of Ohio. Joseph E. Flowers, born in 1843 in Perry County, was a lifelong farmer in Clayton Township there. While I know very little else about the man—and though I need do no more than verify the pertinent facts of his life for the First Families program—I do want to revisit his generation once I finish this required paperwork, if only to learn more about his life and times. For now, and for the Ohio Genealogical Society lineage program, suffice it to say he married fairly young, had many children, and died near his home at the age of eighty.
With the preponderance of Perry County residents of the time bearing the surname Flowers, given time, I’ll have the freedom to explore the many online editions of local Perry County newspapers as well as the neighboring Zanesville Times Recorder for more information on the day-to-day life of these ancestors of my mother-in-law.