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:

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