Sunday, August 9, 2015

Which William—and Which War?

If one approach to a research question doesn't yield results, the best tack is to switch tracks and try a different approach. Thus, in seeking to find the smoking gun which would demonstrate how John Jay Jackson in Missouri Territory managed to meet—and ultimately marry—Sarah Howard Ijams from central Ohio, I've jumped from trailing the path of Jackson's military service to exploring any possible military service of Sarah's own father, William Ijams.

I know very little about William Ijams—mostly, the fact that he was buried in a small cemetery in Fairfield County, and that his sons were known in nearby Perry County, Ohio. That, of course, provides me very little information to intuit how his daughter became smitten with a soldier stationed nearly five hundred miles away.

Now, however, is just as good a time as any to find out more.

My theory is that William Ijams must also have been a military person. After all, what were the chances, given that time period, the relatively small number of settlers, and the opportunity for land grants in the northwestern territory, based on prior military service?

Since his Find A Grave entry pegged his year of birth as 1748, it seemed unlikely that William would have served in the War of 1812. By then, he would have been in his sixties. But the Revolutionary War was a more reasonable possibility. He would have been a young, vigorous man in his late twenties at that point.

So, first stop on this Ijams foray must be the repository for all resources Revolutionary: the website of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Indeed, there was an entry for a William Ijams, handily matching the dates I had found at Find A Grave. According to the D.A.R. Ancestor Search, William Ijams was born "circa" 1848 and died "ante" March 9, 1816. There is no explanation given for the reasoning behind the estimation that he died precisely before March 9 of 1816, though seeing that, I wonder if that is the date when his widowed wife remarried.

The D.A.R. record shows the place of his passing to be Fairfield County, Ohio, so that entry agrees with the burial record. The D.A.R. file also showed his place of birth to be Anne Arundel County in Maryland. In addition, it confirms that William's wife was the former Elizabeth Howard, likely also from Maryland.

Did he serve in the Continental Army? While I haven't yet found any record for Ijams' service, the D.A.R. records show his status as Patriot was owing to his having taken an oath of allegiance in 1778.

Still, that patriotic moment wouldn't necessarily have led to a lifelong military commitment—the type that would have ended up permitting his daughter Sarah to have met a young soldier by the name of John Jay Jackson.

Perhaps there was another connection.

Above: 1897 lithograph published by G. H. Buek & Co, New York, showing the Infantry of the Continental Army, 1779-1783 as depicted by artist Henry Alexander Ogden; courtesy United States Library of Congress via Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. You are inching closer to a connection:)

    1. I'm certainly glad for the research resources available through D.A.R.

  2. I looked at the DAR database, too. The member # in the 800K range is someone who likely joined in the 1990s or early 2000's. She is the only member who joined under him so she likely did a lot of digging to document her line. William probably did not have any kind of military service or this member would have cited that, not the oath.Good news, though, is that with a number that recent, the line was very well documented.

    1. Linda, I have that member's file :)

      I'm working my way through it, as well as other supporting documentation.

  3. So you will be going to be trying to figure out just who this William dude is?

    1. Oh, yes! And he apparently had a son by that same name, so I will be tracing that one, as well. Somehow, some way, there must have been a connection. At least, that's the only explanation I can figure...


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