Wednesday, August 15, 2018

From Chicago . . .

James Brown was the seventh child of Timothy and Hannah Kelly Brown and is the only one of their eight children where no baptismal record was located in Ireland.  From other documentation we learn that he was born about 1846.  An earlier post, Instant Gratification, explained why not all baptisms were recorded - perhaps because the baptism of a sickly child took place at home, or it was just not recorded by the priest or staff at the church.   Even though James sometimes listed his place of birth as
1860 US Census, Chicago, IL
Boston, it is certain that James was born in Ireland since both the next oldest sibling, Johanna, and the next youngest sibling, Thomas, had baptisms recorded at Patrickswell Church in County Limerick.  James is shown in the 1849 passenger list on the John Murray with the rest of the family during the journey from Ireland to Boston, (see Arriving in America); and, like his siblings, lived for awhile in Boston, and Vermont before traveling to Chicago where he is first listed as residing with his sisters Mary Brown Gray and Johanna Brown Roach in the 1860 census on Wolcott Street in the North Division1.  (See 1860 US Census right.) 

Two nieces of James Brown – Sarah Taylor, (daughter of Patrick Brown and Anne Burns), and Nellie Brown, (daughter of John
Chicago Address list for James Brown
Brown and Ellen Burns), provided David Brown with additional information about James.  In his 1943 letter2, David stated that both Sarah and Nellie were “. . . very certain that he [James] was always connected with the tobacco business” – a piece of information vital in tracing James
1857 Chicago looking west from Lake Michigan.  Location of tobacco
manufacturers along the Chicago River are circled.  Streets where James
lived at various times are shown in blue rectangles.
Chicago, Braunhold & Sonne, 1857   (click to enlarge)
Brown.   Because of his more unique occupation, I was able to follow James in Chicago for several years. Until the Great Chicago
Fire of 1871, James was most often found at the same address as his mother, Hannah Kelly Brown; and, was definitely living with the extended family on Jackson Street when the fire occurred.  (See blog post on F I R E !)  After the fire, James and his brother, Thomas, lived on Sherman Street at the edge of the fire zone.  Later, James lived on Kinzie Street and Michigan Street on the north side of the Chicago River near the tobacco warehouses where he worked.  (Map from the Library of Congress )

Tobacco was a rapidly growing business in Chicago in the 1870s exceeding production in both Detroit and St. Louis3; and, in fact, by 1877, Spaulding and Merrick of Chicago, was the second largest tobacco factory in the United States employing over350 men and women in producing chewing, smoking and plug tobacco4.  In 1867 James was working for the Chicago Tobacco Works on North Water Street.  Later he worked for Merrick, Allen & Co. (which became Spaulding & Merrick) on River Road.  (They had other locations on South Water Street.)  All of these buildings were destroyed in the 1871 fire.  Spaulding and Merrick rebuilt a six-story building on River Road.  On June 1, 1877, this building too experienced a fire.  The night watchman discovered some tobacco smoldering on the top floor which eventually burned through the roof.  Considering the flammable nature of the product, the fire was rather quickly extinguished due to the efficiency of the Chicago Fire Department, the design of the new building, and their location on the Chicago River from which water was pumped to fight the flames.  Despite heavy fire, smoke, and water damage to the upper three floors, Levi Merrick, owner of the company, stated there would be little delay in re-starting operations5.     

Sarah Taylor and Nellie Brown also knew that James had been married twice and had children from both marriages.  (See clip of David Brown letter below.)   James and Louise (sometime shown as Louisa) Primrose were married in Chicago on March 21, 18756.  Louise was the oldest child of Benjamin and Mary Benz Primrose.  She was born near Buffalo, New York around 1857.  Younger brothers, Charles and Benjamin Franklin were also born in New York.  Louise is first shown in Chicago in the 1870 US Census with her brothers and widowed mother, Mary Primrose, who ran a boarding house at 55 S. Curtis7.  Also shown at that address in the 1870 US Census is Joseph Rainville whom Mary would later marry and have three additional children, Joseph, William Van Buren, and Walter8.
Clip from the David Brown letter   (click to enlarge)

While they were married, James and Louise lived at 795 West Harrison in the same building as Joseph and Mary Benz Primrose Rainville.   In January, 1881, Louise filed for divorce from James citing physical abuse9.  James did not appear at the March hearing10; however; additional information can be gleaned from the documents in the file and in the transcript of the hearing which took place March 2, 1881.  James and Louise did, indeed, have two children, Milton, born May 1875, and Sophia, born in the fall of 1878.  James and Louise seem to have separated several times before the final split in July, 1879.  The 1880 US Census shows James living at a hotel at 155 West Madison between Union and Halstead11.  The 1880 census for the children lists them as
1880 US Census   (click to enlarge)
boarders” with their grandmother, Mary Primrose Rainville, on West Harrison.  While Louise is enumerated at this address, she is shown as “not home.”  Does that mean she was just not at the home when the enumerator arrived; or, does that mean she was away for some extended time12?  The transcript of the divorce proceedings specifically states that Louise had lived in Chicago for the past year, and, indeed, for sixteen years.  The transcript also states that Mary Rainville sued James Brown for support of the child a "few months earlier" which would have been the around the 1879-1880 time frame.  Where was Louise that her mother did not know, or would not say where she was? (See the 1880 US Census for the Rainville household.)     The divorce was finalized March 21, 1881. 

At some point, around 1883-4, Joseph Rainville left the Chicago household and moved to San Francisco where he lived until about 1900 when he moved to the Veterans Home of California in Yountville.   Joseph was a veteran of the Civil War13 (1st Illinois Light Artillery) and died January 23, 1926 in Yountville, Napa County, California14.  (Joseph was a carpet layer making it easier to follow his movements.)  Mary Primrose Rainville remained in Chicago and alternately used the name Mary Primrose and Mary Rainville (sometimes as a widow) until her death in Chicago on October 15, 190815.  Mary identified four children in her obituary – Charlie Primrose, Joseph, William, and Walter Rainville.  There was no mention of Benjamin Franklin and Louise who, perhaps, had both died by this date.   

After the divorce, Louise is not shown in the Chicago city directory again until 1885, (four years later), when she is shown as Miss Louisa Primrose, vocalist at 473 Washington Boulevard.  This is the same address as her mother, Mary and brothers, Charles and Benjamin F. Primrose.    In 1886 she is using her married name, Brown, and then is not listed again until the 1889 edition when she is living with relatives on West Madison16.  She does not appear in any other directory in Chicago.  Coincidentally, there is a marriage record in Chicago on August 11, 1889 for Louise Primrose and Alfred Conoly17  - the same year that Louise drops from the city directory.  I suspect this is the first wife of James but cannot confirm that since I have not found additional records for this couple (Louise and Alfred) anywhere.

I have not uncovered any records for Sophia, the daughter of James and Louise; however, their son, Milton J. Brown, appears in the Chicago directory from 1896, when he turned 21, until 1904.  Most records show Milton living with his grandmother, Mary Primrose18.  Since Milton does not appear in Chicago after that time, it is assumed he left the Chicago area.  There is a listing in the 1920 US Census in San Francisco for a Milton Brown that was born in Illinois and is the correct age19.  Additional research is needed to determine whether this person could be the son of James and Louise Brown and where Milton was between 1904 and 1920.  

The 1881 divorce records show that Louise asked for custody of
Chicago Court Document
(click to enlarge)
the children, support for herself and the children, and a reasonable amount of money to pay for her counsel.  File documents show that in March 1881, James was ordered to pay $50.00 for “solicitors” fees20.  (See copy of court doc)  No other support payments are mentioned.  From the file, we cannot tell whether the amount, or any money, was paid or not; but, by December 1881, records show James in Cleveland and that is where we will go next.

1.       1860 US Census; Chicago Ward 8, Cook, Illinois; Roll: M653_168; Page 114; Family History Library Film: 803168.  Available online at

2.       Brown, David, Kewanee, IL., 11 May 1943.  Letter to Esther ________, Columbus, OH, page 8.  Information in the letter has been used to further research the Brown family.

3.       “TOBACCO – SPAULDING & MERRICK,” Chicago Daily Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, March 20, 1875, page 9.

4.       “FIRES – CHICAGO,” Chicago Daily Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, June 1, 1877, page 1.

5.       Ibid.  “The goods upon the upper floor were such as would be easily destroyed by both elements [fire and water]; seasoned leaf tobacco hanging upon the walls and manufactured tobacco stored in hogsheads.  The goods on the third and fourth floors were also damaged to a slight extent, a great portion on those and the two lower floors being saved by the oil covers of he Fire Patrol.” 

6.       "Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920," database, FamilySearch( : 10 March 2018), James Brown and Louise Primrose, 21 Mar 1875; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,030,091.

7.       1870  US Census; Chicago Ward 12, Cook, Illinois; Roll M593_206; Page 300B; Family History Library Film: 545705.  Available online at

Edwards’ Thirteenth Annual Directory of the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, and Manufacturing Establishments of the City of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Richard Edwards, Publisher, No. 164 South Clark Street, 1870, page 669.  Available online at

8.       Death records for Joseph, William VanBuren and Walter Rainville show the date of birth for each.  Joseph was born 9 Apr 1871; William was born 8 Apr 1873; and Walter was born 12 Aug 1877.  Cook County Courthouse, Chicago, “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1994,”database online at  Record for Joseph: (  Record for William: (  Record for Walter: (  No marriage record was located for Mary Benz Primrose and Joseph Rainville.  This probably took place before the 1871 Chicago fire.  Many of these records were destroyed.  

9.       Cook County, Illinois, Superior Court, Chancery, divorce file S-78106 (1881), Louise Brown v. James F. Brown, Circuit Court of Cook County.

10.   Ibid.  Transcript of trial 12 March 1881.  Witnesses who testified at the trial were Louise Brown, Mary Rainville (mother of Louise), Mr. Primrose (brother of Louise).  James Brown received a “Summons in Chancery” on February 19, 1881 to appear at court on the first Monday of March.  There is no record of his testimony at the trial and it assumed that he did not show up for the hearing.  There is a statement in the complaint filed against James; “For as much therefore, as your oratrix, is without remedy in the premises, except in a Court of equity, and to the end that the said James F. Brown may be required to make full and direct answer to the same, but not under oath, the same being waived according to the Statute.”  It appears that James was not required to attend the trial.  No additional documentation

11.   1880 US Census; Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 192; Page 264A; Enumeration District: 094.  Available online at
The actual census record is shown on two consecutive pages.  I modified the image to display all information as one.

12.   1880 US Census; Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: 194; Page 342A; Enumeration District: 123.  Available online at

13. Web: Illinois, Databases of Illinois Veterans Index, 1775-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc, 2015.  Original Data: Databases of Illinois Veterans: Illinois State Archive.  Record is until spelling “Reinville.”

14. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.  Directories for Chicago 1869 – 1883.  Directories for San Francisco 1884 – 1900. California, Death Index 1905-1939 [database on-line].  Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2013

Find-A-Grave – Joseph Reinville; Veterans Memorial Grove Cemetery, Yountville, Napa County, California; Sec. E, Row 4, Grave 10; Memorial ID 22401366

15. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2011.  Directories for Chicago 1869 – 1908.
Obituaries, Rainville, Mary, Chicago Daily Tribune, 18 Oct 1908, Chicago, Illinois, page A3.  “RAINVILLE-Mary M. Rainville, nee Benz, ages 70, beloved mother of Charlie Primrose, Joseph, William, and Walter Rainville, at her residence, 620 Carroll av., Oct. 16, 1908.  Funeral Sunday, Oct. 18 2 p.m. by carriages to Rosehill.  Boston and New York papers please copy.”

16. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2011.  Directories for Chicago 1869 – 1908.

17.   "Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920," database, FamilySearch( : 10 March 2018), Alfred Conoly and Louise Primrose, 11 Aug 1889; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,030,183.

18. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc., 2011. Directories for Chicago 1896 – 1904.

19.   1920 US Census, San Francisco Assembly District30, San Francisco, California; Roll T625_138; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 215

20.   Cook County, Illinois, Superior Court, Chancery, divorce file S-78106 (1881), Louise Brown v. James F. Brown, Circuit Court of Cook County, “Bill.”

Monday, June 25, 2018

Found Family Images

I have been working on the next installment of the blog which covers James Brown, the third surviving son of Timothy and Hannah Kelly Brown; however, I have been stalled waiting on additional information.  In the meantime, I had a visit from another cousin who found a box of old photos, (many of them identified), which I quickly scanned.  I thought I would share a couple of them with you.

The first photo is of David Brown, the sixth child of John and Ellen
Younger David Brown
Burns Brown.  We looked at David in the post for Steam and Saloons. (Steam and Saloons)  He was just seven years old when his father, John, was killed by a train in 1873.  David homesteaded in Nebraska before 1889 probably with his uncle, Patrick Brown, and some of Patrick’s sons.  David was also an engineer for the railroad until 1900 when he and his family returned to Columbus, Ohio where he was first a fireman for the city, then ran the Brown Bros saloon until his death in 1914.  A purported photo of David was included with the original blog, but, this photo, a much younger David, is definitely identified as him. 

The next photo is of Ellen, Ellie, Ella, Nellie Brown, eighth child of John and Ellen Burns Brown.   Ellie was only eight years old when
Ellen Brown, early 1880s
she was orphaned and went to live with her mother’s sister, Martha Burns.  She never married and worked at the state asylum until she was seventy years old.  Ellie died in 1960 at the age of 91 in Columbus, Ohio.  She bears a striking resemblance to the photo of David above.  More information about Ellie can be found on the blog post for More Brown Children.  (More Brown Children)

The final photo I will share was something of a surprise.  It is of Martha Burns who
Martha Burns, early 1880s
took in John and Ellen Brown’s children, (except for William), when they both died.  The photo was probably taken in the early 1880s as well as the photo of Ellie above.  (Both were taken at the same studio and have the same stamp on the back.)  Martha and her husband, Peter Burns, were evidently very close to John and Ellen Brown.  Peter and John were in business together and their families even lived next door to one another.  Martha is a sister of both Ann Burns who married Patrick Brown and Ellen Burns who married John Brown.  (Patrick and John were brothers.)  From this photo, we can get a very good idea of what all three sisters looked like.  Information about Martha has been given in several previous blogs.   (See Brown-Burns ConnectionsJohn and Peter, John and Ellen, and John Edward Brown.)   

Hopefully, you will find these photos as interesting as I did.  Until the next post . . .

Monday, April 23, 2018

Children of Johanna and Thomas

As we learned in the last two posts, Johanna Brown and Thomas Roche/Roach had at least six children.  From the 1860 and 1870 census records, we know the names of three of them – Emma,
Excerpt from David Brown latter, 1943
James and George.  Emma was baptized at St. Patrick’s church in Janesville, Wisconsin on December 20, 1859.  She is the only child shown in the 1860 U.S. census.  Emma is not accounted for in the 1865 Illinois State census or the 1870 U.S. census.  It is assumed she died between 1860 and 1865 and is one of the four children buried with her mother, Johanna, in Calvary Cemetery in Chicago in 1872.  (See blog post on I Remember Mama.) 

The 1870 U.S. Chicago census shows two children, George, age 8, and James, age 61.  (See previous blog on Where are you Thomas Roche)  No other children are listed.  A coordinated systematic
St Mary's, Chicago
destroyed in Chicago Fire
search of all relevant Chicago Catholic Church records was conducted by descendants of Johanna and Thomas.  A baptismal

record was found for George David.  He was born January 24, 1865 and was baptized at St. Mary’s church on February 11, 18652.  No additional baptisms were found for any other children including James. It could be that the other children were stillborn, in which case there may not be a baptismal record; or, the baptism was done at home and not recorded.  More likely, the records were burned in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 including those for Holy Name church, the closest church to the family when they were living north of the Chicago River in the early 1860s. 
Baptismal Record for George David Roach from St. Mary's - 1865 (click to enlarge)

By 1880, both boys and their grandmother, Hannah Kelly Brown, were living with Hannah’s oldest son, Patrick, in Bellflower
1880 U.S. Census - McLean County, Illinois
(click to enlarge)
Township, McLean County, Illinois as shown in the U.S. Census in June of that year
3.  Patrick lived on a farm near Saybrook, Illinois.  (See previous blog on Illinois Prairie Years.)  We don’t know when James and George moved to McLean County.  It may have been after their mother, Johanna, died in 1872; but probably after the death of their father, Thomas, in 1875.  They were certainly there when Patrick’s wife, and caregiver of the orphaned boys, died at Christmas time in 1878.  What a sad holiday that must have been!  These boys had now survived so many tragedies in their short lives – the Great Chicago Fire, the deaths of their mother and father and several siblings, an accident that nearly took the life of their Uncle Patrick4, and now the death of their Aunt Anne5.  And earlier in the year, in April 1878, a cousin, William Henry Brown, came to live with Patrick and Anne because, he too, was orphaned.  Although James and George were not in Ohio when William’s parents died, they would have been affected by these deaths as well6.  

James and George probably lived with Uncle Patrick on the farm in McLean County until late 1883 or early 1884, some five or six years after the death of Aunt Anne.  Patrick’s daughters were getting married, and his sons were leaving to establish their own homes.  Patrick, too, left Illinois before December 1885 to homestead in Nebraska.  (See previous blogs on Homesteading, and " . . . and he leaves a large family to mourn his death".)   Perhaps more important to James and George was the news that the health of their grandmother, who had always been with them, was failing.   The Bloomington newspaper, The Pantagraph, included a notice on May 23, 1883 that, “Old Mrs. Brown, Patrick Brown’s mother, is sick with dropsy, but is some better7.”  We also know the city directory for Chicago in 1885 shows Mrs. Hannah Brown living with her daughter, Mary Gray, at 175 S Jefferson.  (See previous blog on Butcher-Baker . . .)   It would make sense, with Patrick leaving the area, and Hannah Brown moving back to Chicago to be with her daughter (where she probably died a short time later), that the boys – at least George David - would have returned to Chicago with their grandmother.  

The whereabouts of James is less certain.  In 1885, James would have been about 238.   He is not shown in the household of his Aunt Mary Gray, but, would have been old enough to have his own residence.  There are many entries for James Roach/Roche in the Chicago city directories from that era, but none that can specifically be identified as him.  He may have lived elsewhere, perhaps even with Patrick Brown and his sons in Nebraska; however, it is believed that James lived in the Chicago area - at least he was there at the time of his death in 1905.  A family story says that James visited his brother, George, in Salt Lake City on his return trip to Chicago from Los Angeles where he had been treated for tuberculosis; and, perhaps also received treatment for his illness while there.

Tuberculosis was the scourge of the 1800s.  While the disease had been known since ancient times, industrialization and people flocking to cities for work increased their exposure to the disease.  Densely populated housing and crowded sweat shops of the late 1800s accelerated the spread of consumption, phthisis, scrofula, Pott’s disease, and the White Plague – all names for what we now call tuberculosis – to epidemic proportions.  While we now know the highly contagious disease is caused by germs, specifically the bacillus mycobacterium tuberculosis9, people of the time thought the disease to be hereditary.  It did seem to run in families but no one knew why.  Victims could die in a very short time or linger for ten, twenty or even thirty years.  The best known treatment was dry, fresh air - mountain air, desert air, sea air – anywhere away from populated areas.  Many communities, especially in the west,
Los Angeles Herald - 19 Aug 1903, page 10, column 5
sprang-up as treatment centers for the disease.  California was an area that actually advertised for people to come for “the cure.”   (See ad right)  By the mid 1890s, the medical community began to recognize that tuberculosis was contagious and established programs to halt the spread of the disease.  One measure was the development of sanitariums: clean, spacious environments for the wealthy; tent cities or more crowded facilities for the poor.  Where an inflicted person was once lovingly cared for at home, they were now isolated from others in institutions.  While everyone was doing what they could to curb the disease, it was not until the late 1940s that drugs were developed to treat tuberculosis no longer making the diagnosis a death sentence10.   

The date of James’ trip to California is not known, nor is the exact location where he was treated, or how long he had the disease. 
1905 death certificate for Jas Roache  (click to enlarge)
His death certificate shows that he died from pulmonary tuberculosis at the Cook County Hospital on February 13, 190511 at age 42.  (See death record left)  His usual address was 2436 State St., he was single, had lived in Chicago for forty-two years, and his occupation was given as “driver12.”   James was buried in Calvary Cemetery in Chicago, but, not in the plot with his mother and father.  He was buried with other members of the Brown family in a separate plot13.   

George David Roach enlisted in the U.S. Army in Chicago on January 24, 1884 for a period of five years.  He gave his age as 22 making 1862 his year of birth.  We know from his baptismal record,
Enlistment document for George D; Roach
from Compiled Military Record
(click to enlarge)
that George was born in 1865.  Why he would have given an incorrect age is not known, since at age 19, he would have been eligible to enlist anyway.  A description of George is given on his enlistment document. (See attached enlistment record right)   He was five feet five inches tall, with black hair, dark complexion, and hazel eyes.  It is interesting to note that he had a vaccination scar on his left arm, probably for small pox.  His residence was given as Chicago14.

George was attached to Company G of the Sixth Infantry.  By March 1, 1884, he was at his first post, Fort Douglas, just northeast
Camp [Fort] Douglas, Utah
of Salt Lake City, Utah.  The primary purpose of the fort was to protect the overland mail route and telegraph lines along the Central Overland Route15.    Utah was not admitted into the United States until 1896.  Salt Lake City, the largest city in the territory, had a population of approximately 30,000 in 1885; very difference from Chicago where the population was nearly a half million people16.  George continued at Fort Douglas until June 1886 when he was temporarily assigned to Company D of the Sixth Infantry.  This assignment took him to the North Fork of Montezuma Creek in southeastern Utah to explore and map the country and protect the settlers in the area17.   In October 1886, the troop returned to Fort Douglas and remained there until June 1888 when the Sixth Infantry was posted to Fort
Fort Lewis, Colorado
Lewis, Colorado.  Fort Lewis was located in the southwest corner of Colorado near Durango and the silver mines in the San Juan Mountains18.  The post provided protection for settlers working the mines.  George continued at Fort Lewis until January 23, 1889 when he received an honorable discharge.  Because of the harsh winters in the area, it may have taken George some time to return to Salt Lake City where he made his permanent home.

While George was stationed at Fort Douglas he met Emily Hepworth Balmforth.  Emily was born November 14, 1867 in
Emily Roach with daughters
Mildred, Elizabeth, and Edna - c. 1902
Drighlington, Yorkshire, England19.  She was the daughter of Hannah Hepworth.  Hannah and her children immigrated to the United Stated in 1869.  George and Emily were married in early 1888 and eventually had eight children:  Lawrence Chester, Grace 
Hannah, Mildred Irene, Bessie Josephine, Annis Edna, Elizabeth QV, James, and Nellie Mae.  Lawrence was born while George was stationed at Fort Lewis. Tragedy struck the family when, in a ten day period in late June and early July 1902, George and Emily lost two of their daughters, Mildred, age 10, and Elizabeth, age 2, to diphtheria20.  According to the family, the photo, above left, was taken because Emily had a premonition that the two children would die soon.  Six children lived to adulthood, married and had families of their own.

George in Salt Lake City
late 1930 to early 1940
George worked various jobs as a laborer until the early 1900s when the city directory for Salt Lake City gives his occupation as a painter.  In 1907 the directory suggests that he was self-employed; and, in later editions also shows him as a paper-hanger and plasterer.  Like George’s parents, Johanna Brown and Thomas Roche/Roach, George and Emily lived at many different addresses – most often at a different address every year21.  Emily
George David Roach
Balmforth Roach died at St. Marks Hospital in Salt Lake City of shock following surgery for cancer on May 13, 191722 leaving two minor children, Nellie and James.  She is buried in City Cemetery in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Sometime in the mid 1920s, George married a second time to Eliza Jane Brown Stone, the widow of Henry Joseph Stone.  This marriage ended in divorce by September 193023. 

1955 death certificate for George David Roach
(click to enlarge)
House Rule 12532 of the Sixty-Ninth U.S. Congress, dated March 3, 1927, provided a pension for any person with active military service of thirty days or more in any Indian War, hostility or campaign between 1817 and 1898 based on disability and age24.  George’s service at Montezuma Creek in 1886 made him eligible for a pension.  George applied for his pension in November 1931 and was approved in April 1932 with payments retroactive to the date of filing25.   George also collected Social Security Benefits from, at least, 194626.   At about that time, due to failing health, George moved in with his daughter, Grace, until she too became ill.  After that, George lived with another daughter, Nellie, until his death on January 28, 1955 of pneumonia at age 9027.  George is buried in Salt Lake City Cemetery with his wife Emily.

One final note about the Roche/Roach family – From letters saved by descendants, the family knows that a grandson of George David and Emily Roach visited relatives in Chicago in the late 1970s; however, just who he visited is not known.  There were still descendants of Hannah Kelly Brown’s sister living in Chicago in those years; but, it cannot be determined if they visited the Brown side or the Roach side (or both).  That part of the story has been lost.

Special thanks go to the descendants of George for their diligent work in uncovering George’s baptismal record and providing the information for this blog post.

The next post will be about another of the original immigrants – James Brown.

1.       While the census record shows that George is older than James, subsequent records (1880 US census, and the death certificate for James) identify that James is actually the older brother and that the ages of the boys were reversed incorrectly in 1870.

2.       Illinois, Chicago, Catholic Church Records, 1833-1925.  Database with images.  FamilySearch,; 8 February 2017. Catholic church parishes, Chicago Diocese, Chicago.  St. Mary Parish (Chicago: Old, Michigan Ave), Baptisms 1859-1906, page 120-121, image 69 of 289.  This document was discovered before Find My Past indexed births, marriages, and deaths from the Chicago records.  They are now available online.

From the history of Old St. Mary’s church, Chicago,  “The original Saint Mary’s Church was built in 1833 on the south side of Lake Street, west of State Street.  The building was moved to the northwest corner of Michigan at Madison in 1836 where it was enlarged and an open belfry added.  In 1843, . . . St. Mary’s Cathedral was built on the southwest corner of Madison at Wabash.  The original wooden structure was cut in half and moved to the grounds of the cathedral [and used as a grammar school] . . . the Cathedral was destroyed in The Great Fire In 1871 . . .” 
First St. Mary's 1833 - 1843

Holy Name was originally established in 1846 on the northeast corner of Superior and State in the north section of Chicago.  It was also destroyed in the fire of 1871.  Baptismal records for 1872 and later are available at Family Search.  Earlier records are not available.
3.        "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 15 September 2017), Patrick Brown, Bell Flower, McLean, Illinois, United States; citing enumeration district ED 184, sheet 625D, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0231; FHL microfilm 1,254,231.

4.       The County – Bellflower, The Pantagraph, Bloomington, IL, electronic newspaper, Newspapers,com, 10 Feb, 1876, p. 3, col. 5, para. 1.  “A man named Patrick Brown was struck by the pilot [what we call a cow catcher] of an engine on a train bound south, on Tuesday morning, on the Gilman, Clinton & Springfield road, near Belleflower, as he sat on the ties.  He was probably drunk.  His skull was fractured and he was injured internally, and will doubtless die.”

5.       Anne, wife of Patrick Brown, died 24 Dec 1878, just eight months after her sister, Ellen Burns Brown.  See image in previous blog post on Illinois Prairie Years.

6.       John and Ellen Burns Brown died in Columbus, Franklin, Ohio - John on June 3, 1873 due to a train accident, and Ellen on April 11, 1878 of cancer.  William Henry was the only child to come to Illinois.  See previous blog posts on Brown-Burns Connections, John and Peter, John and Ellen.

7.       The County – Belleflower,  The Pantagraph, Bloomington, IL, electronic newspaper,, 23 May 1883, p. 3, col. 5, bottom.  Dropsy, the retention of water, can be indicative of congestive heart failure.

8.       While the 1870 U.S. Census shows James (about 1865) to be younger than George (about 1862), we know from George’s baptismal record (see above) that George was born in January 1865.  The 1880 U.S. Census shows James’ birth about 1862, as does his death certificate.  The enumerator probably switched the year of birth for both boys in the 1870 census.

9.       Wikipedia, Tuberculosis,  Experiments in 1882 by Robert Koch, a German scientist, determined that germs (bacteria) caused tuberculosis. He found the disease was spread by coughing and was contagious.  The medical community largely ignored his findings, even though other scientists had confirmed the discovery, until the mid-1890s.  Robert Koch went on to receive the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine in 1905.  

10.   Barrett, Andrea, Hotaling, Mary, Rothman, Sheila, Tomes, Nancy, The Forgotten Plague, a documentary by American Experience Films, a Public Broadcasting Service film produced for television, 10 Feb 2015, Senior Producer Sharon Grimberg, Executive Producer Mark Samels.  Also available on YouTube at:

11.   Certificate of Death: Jas Roache. Filed 17 Feb 1905, Department of Health: City of Chicago, available at Family Search   

12.   The occupation for James at his death is given as “driver.”  William Roche/Roach, an assumed close relative of Thomas (see last post on Thomas Roche), was also a driver or teamster.  It is possible that they worked together.    

13.   James Roach is buried in Lot 35, Block 3, Section F of Calvary Cemetery.  Others buried in this plot are: Ellen Brown, sister of Hannah Kelly Brown; David Brown, Michael Brown, Hanora Brown (records show the first name as “Aurora”), and Mary O’Brien, all children of Ellen Kelly Brown.  The remaining graves are descendents of Mary O’Brien.  (See a list of burials in this lot in the previous blog post on Chicago.)  Descendants of some of these people may be the individuals visited by a grandson of George David Roach in the late 1970s.

14.   Compiled service record, George D. Roach, private, Company G, Sixth U.S. Infantry,  Pre-1917 Military Service Records, National Archives, Washington, D.C. 

15.   The Central Overland Route ran from Salt Lake City, Utah to Carson City, Nevada.

16.   Population of Salt Lake City from the 1880 U.S. Census was 20,768: from the 1890 U.S. Census was 44,843: from the 1884 City Directory for Salt Lake City for the entire county was 41,522.  An average of the data given is about 30,000. 

17.   Report of the Secretary of War being part of Message and Documents communicated to the Two Houses of Congress at the beginning of the second session of the forty-ninth congress, Volume 1, 1886, Report of Brigadier-General Crook, Headquarters Department of the Platte, Omaha, Nebraska, dated 4 Sep 1886, page 123, Washington Government Printing Office.  Available online at:

18.   Smith, Duane A., A Time for Peace: Fort Lewis, Colorad0, 1878-1891, Boulder: University Pressof Colorado, 2006. ISBN 0-87081-832-5.  Reviewed by John H. Monnett.  Excerpt available online at:

19.   Civil Registers, Bradford, Yorkshire, England, Dec 1867, Volume 9b, page 17.  "About England & Wales births 1837-2006." About England & Wales births 1837-2006. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Jun. 2016.

20.   Address information for 1890 through 1953 for George Roach was obtained from the Salt Lake City Directories available on

21.   The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Jul 1902, page 8, Salt Lake City, Utah.  “Mr. and Mrs. George Roach, who reside at 36 South Sixth West street have lost two of their children from diphtheria during the past ten days.  The first, a little girl of 10 years, died on June 23rd, and the second little daughter, Elizabeth died on Wednesday.  The remains of the latter little girl were interred on Wednesday afternoon.”

22.    "Utah Death Certificates, 1904-1964", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 11 September 2015), Emily Balmforth Roach, 1917.     

23.   Salt Lake Telegram, Divorces Granted, 20 Sep 1930, page 11, Salt Lake City, Utah

Salt Lake Telegram, Obituary, Eliza J.B.S. Wilkinson, 12 Feb 1951, page 16, Salt Lake City, Utah

24.   United States Sixty-Ninth Congress, Session II,  H.R. 12532, Chap. 320, pages 1361-3, Washington, D.C., 3 Mar 1927.   Subsequent house rulings, such as H.R. 85 from 1944, provided for an increase in monthly payments.  Information available online at:

25.   The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; NAI Title: General Index to Civil War and Later Pension Files, ca. 1949 - ca. 1949; NAI Number: 563268; Record Group Title: Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, 1773 - 2007; Record Group Number: 15; Series Title: U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934; Series Number: T288; Roll: 397.  Application number for George D. Roach is: 1704880.  The record has been requested (November 2017) from the Bureau of Veterans Affairs where the file is located.  To date the file has not been received so the actual amount of George’s monthly pension payment is not known.   The pension was based on age.  The 1927 version provided a payment of $20 per month for persons sixty-two and older; $30 per month for ages sixty-eight and older; $40 per month for seventy and older; and, $50 per month for those ages seventy-five and older.  The date of birth given by George at his enlistment would have affected the amount of his pension.

26. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.  Records under George David Roach.

27.   "Utah Death Certificates, 1904-1964", database with images, FamilySearch( : 9 March 2018), George David Roach, 1955.  Available online at: