Monday, April 3, 2023

About Elizabeth


Now that we've ushered in our March research project, the Tilson line, like a lion and out—unfortunately—like a wimpering lamb, it's time to hope for some April research showers to nurture a different goal. That goal hinges on the identity of my mother-in-law's fourth great-grandmother, Elizabeth Howard Ijams.

What can be said for a woman who was born in the mid-1700s? There are precious few documents to uncover the details of a woman's life during that time period. Most of what I already know about Elizabeth Howard comes from later years of her life. Her early years are, to me at least, a mystery. 

What can be presumed, following documentation of her husband, William Ijams, is that the couple originated somewhere in Maryland, but moved to Fairfield County, Ohio. Tax records as early as 1810 in that Ohio county include William's name. Marriages of two of Elizabeth's children—William in 1805 and Comfort in 1811—show further links to Fairfield County.


It was, however, those much later dates in Elizabeth's life which led me to possible usable references related to her history. After her husband William's death, in what must have turned out to be an unusual story, Elizabeth married Major John Whistler who, at the time of this second marriage, was stationed far to the west of Ohio at Fort Belle Fontaine, near present-day Saint Louis, Missouri. Her 1826 passing was noted in newspapers as far distant as Washington, D. C., and Boston, Massachusetts, though only as "Mrs. Whistler."

As to the early years of this woman's life, though, it may be thanks to family historians in the Whistler family that I've gleaned a few genealogical references. Whether those turn out to be correct or simply family legends, we'll take some time this month to check them out.

Image above: January 20, 1811, marriage record of Edward Stephenson and Comfort Ijams in Fairfield County, Ohio; courtesy

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...