Locating the family of Erastus Moses Eggleston has been one of the most challenging things I've ever attempted. Countless searches on the internet yielded nothing except suppositions. One search did put me in touch with a cousin through Sarah Elizabeth Nichols, and she provided information on Sarah's family, but knew nothing of Erastus. Census records stated he was born in Connecticut, but I could find nothing more concrete. I found evidence of him in various parts of the country, and parts of Ohio, but could find nothing more. I knew Erastus and Sarah had lived for a time in Geneva, Ashtabula County, Ohio, and wrote that internet site for help. A kind woman remembered me and that I was looking for the Eggleston family, and sent me the following article:
"From The Geneva Times, dated July 6, 1892
THE EGGLESTON FAMILY RE-UNION
The Eggleston family will hold the first re-union for some time, Thursday at Sturgeon Pt. About 50 relatives will be present including Hon. F. Thorp, wife, daughter, and son-in-law, W. W. Rowland, of Findlay; F. W. Eggleston and wife, Jackson, Michigan; P. E. Eggleston and wife, Erie, Pennsylvania; and H. C. Eggleston, wife and child, of Canton.
The founder of the family in Geneva was the late E. M. Eggleston, who was prominently identified with the early years of the Geneva Tool Works. He was born in Connecticut, March 24, 1813, and made clocks at Bristol from his thirteenth year. After a few years in Alabama he came to Geneva January 1, 1842, and married Miss Sarah E. Nichols, of Huntsburg, June 1, 1843. He died at the home of Mr. Thorp, in Findlay, September 17, 1888."
Thankfully, I made my way to Findlay, Ohio, confident I would find the information I needed there. No such luck! I found obituaries for both Sarah and Erastus, the death records for them, records where they were supposedly buried (couldn't find the headstones!), but nothing more. I did learn a little about my GGgrandmother through her obituary. It said:
"From the Findlay, Ohio, newspaper - Findlay Weekly Jefferson, dated August 29, 1889, page 1
DEATH OF AN ESTIMABLE LADY
Sarah E. Eggleston (nee Nichols) died of apoplexy at the home of her daughter, Mrs. O. A. Thorp, in this city, Thursday evening, August 22d, aged 61 years, 11 months and 22 days. The funeral took place this morning at 10 o'clock from the residence of Col. Freeman Thorp, at West Park.
Mrs. Eggleston was born in Genesee county, New York, Aug. 30th, 1827. She came to Ohio at an early age with her father, where she grew to womanhood and married E. M. Eggleston, June 18, 1843. This union was blessed by three sons and four daughters, six of whom are living: Five of them were with her in her last hours. It continued a happy union past the 45th anniversary of their wedding, each being devoted to the other and their family of affectionate children, none of whom ever caused the mother's cheek to blush with but an honest pride in their arts and accomplishments."
Needless to say, I cried.
I also found the obituary for Erastus, which read:
From the Hancock Courier, Roll 11, dated September 20, 1888 - page 3 (a Findlay, Ohio, newspaper:
Erastus M. Eggleston died Monday at the home of his father-in-law (should be son-in-law), Col. Freeman Thorp, at the ripe old age of 74 years. His funeral will take place Thursday afternoon, in charge of the I. O. O. F. lodge, the interment taking place in Maple Grove Cemetery.
I drove to the cemetery, looking for the graves. I thought it was going to be an impossible task locating the plot, because the cemetery was huge. I didn't see a caretaker's office, so I just started driving up and down the isles. Just when I was going to quit, I stopped the car. Much to my surprise, I had stopped right next to the headstone for Lottie Eggleston, who I believe was their daughter who died very young in Ashtabula County. I think she might have been moved there when her parents moved to Findlay, so she wouldn't be alone. There, all by itself, was this tiny headstone, the only marking in a large family plot. How strange that I would have stopped right there!
I located the caretaker's office, and after checking the records, learned the plot belonged to the Freeman Thorpe family. There was no record of any other burial in the plot other than Lottie. I do feel certain they are both there, and that the records of their burial have just been lost.
So...........I was back to square one. I knew quite a bit about the family, their marriage and their children, but still nothing about Erastus. Then one day I received an email from another Eggleston researcher. We had been in touch about a year earlier, he and I trying to sort out our Eggleston's and connect them somehow, but we had had no luck. He, somehow, remembered a year later that I had been looking for Erastus. He had found the only link we have ever found. In a library in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a book called The Ambrose Eggleston Papers. Ambrose Eggleston had been writing to any Eggleston he could find in the 1850's, trying to prove his lineage to Bygod. The book is a collection of the replies to those letters.
In one letter was the family of Erastus Moses Eggleston. Here is the letter, retyped:
From the Ambrose Eggleston Papers, located in Clements Library, University of Michigan:
West Winsted, Ct., Nov. 26, 1859
Rev. Mr. Eggleston,
Sir, at the request of some of the members of our family, who have been at considerable pains to ascertain the facts in regard to the genealogy of the parties to whom you referred in your letter of July 30. I will give them to you as far as they have been successful in doing so. To commence with your first interrogation.
Bennett Palmer was born, March, 1807, and married Marrilla Eggleston, who was born, October 1804, in 1830. The _____ children, Anson, Oscar and Charles whom you mentioned comprise all. Anson was born in February 1832, and died in June, 1857. Oscar was born in September, 1835, and is a teacher by occupation. Charles was born in February, 1839, and is a printer.
Marcus Eggleston was born in March, 1809, and married Rhoda Bushell, 1830, age unknown. His children are:
Mason A., born 1833, occupation, farmer
Adelia A., born 1836 - remains single
Hubert N., born 1838, occupation farmer
Roxana Eggleston was born May, 1811, and married Anson, (not Oscar) Barber in 1829. She died June, 1840. They had two children; Elihu, born September, 1831, and died, May, 1839, and Louisa born May 1840.
Erastus M. Eggleston was born March, 1813, and married Sarah E. Nichols in 1843. His residence is Geneva, Ashtabula County, Ohio. They have 5 children, Foster W., born January, 1845, Orlena A., Born August, 1847, Charlotte A., born April, 1849, Viola A., March, 1852, Anson P., born February, 1858.
Joseph B. Eggleston was born September, 1821. His residence is Huntsburg, Geauga County, Ohio. Occupation, Farmer. He was married in the fall of 1845 to Polly Ann Knapp. They have three children, namely: Emma R., born April, 1848. Everett J., born April 1855, Son born Oct. 1859.
Ann S. Eggleston was born April, 1827, and married Russell Dixon, in 1846. His occupation is Farmer and raising of stock. They have four children, Celestia, born 1846, Arthur, born 1853, Finette, born 1855. Minerva E., born 1858.
Charlotte Eggleston was born June 1829, and married Auston Adams, July, 1852. Adams is a farmer by occupation. They have two children whose names and ages are unknown to us. This comprises all of the children of Joseph Eggleston, Sr. In regard to your further inquiries concerning those of Alma etc., we have found out as follows. The children of Aurinda Eggleston of Harwinton, are Ezra, born February 1821, Mary, June 1822; George born Dec. 1824; Cyrus, Oct. 1826; David born Aug. 1828; Hiram born Nov. 1830 died Nov. 1856; Thomas born Nov. 1834; Emma, born April 1837.
The children of Alma are - Lucina R., born Feb. 1833, married to Julius Blakeslee May 1851, and died February 1858. They have four children; Frank P., born January 1852, Harriet E., born Oct. 1853, Carrie L., born February 1855. Ruth W., February 1858. The 2 child of Alma is Lucy W. Born July 1835, and married Hudson Burr December 1854. They had three children, Louis H., born November 1855 died August 1856, Lillie Born May, 1857; Emma, June 1858. The 3 child of Alma is Ellen M., born August 1837, died December 1854; Laura born February, 1844; Mary G., born Dec. 1846.
Barbarina Eggleston of Pontiac, Michigan, was born in 1799 and married (Mary Dean???) 1826; and had two sons, Jerusiah, born 1828, married Abigail Palmer in 1848. They have one child Ida, born in 1855. William, the 2 son of Barbarina was born 1831, and married Euphelia (Webster??) 1852. He has one child, William born 1855. Mary, wife of Barbarina died 1831.
The wife of Alijah Munn of Wolcottville was the daughter of James Eggleston. Her name was Roxy.
John C.(?) Eggleston of Waterbury, and Frederick, of New Britain, do not come under the list of acquaintance. As to whether the people above mentioned are professors of religion or not, we have not had sufficient impudence to ask them. We give you the names, and if it is a matter of great moment to you; you must prosecute your inquiries for yourself. If you wish any further information as to the genealogy of the family, not herein given, we shall be happy to furnish it as far as lies in our power. Hoping the above will be of service to you.
I remain yours,
Chas. E. Palmer
(Original is property of Clements Library, University of Michigan) © University of Michigan)
Last Fall, armed with this letter, I visited my uncle in Connecticut. For two frantic weeks, we ran all over the countryside, trying to find some paperwork on Erastus. We had a wonderful time and learned a great deal, but unfortunately, nothing about Erastus or his siblings that would tie him to Joseph. We found the graves of another brother, Rufus, which hadn't been mentioned in the letter, the graves of Roxy Ann and her husband and child, and most importantly, the graves of Marilla Eggleston and Bennett Palmer, with their son, Charles E. Palmer, buried with them. He had been a young man when he wrote to Ambrose Eggleston, and was killed two short years later in the Civil War. The American Legion post in Torrington or Winsted was named "The Palmer Post" after Charles. We found where they all lived; we connected them to Joseph and Sally Moses, who were also buried with Marilla and Bennett and their grandchildren. Surely this would be enough proof to tie this family together!! So, while we were elated that we had found so much information and seen so much history, we were still disappointed not to have found papers on this family. The first two children, Marilla and Rufus, were born in Burke, Caledonia County, Vermont, where Joseph and Lucina Mason Eggleston are buried. We found a tremendous number of Eggleston's in Burke, much to my amazement. For more records of Eggleston's in Burke, Vermont, click here. Evidently, the family went to Vermont, with the younger Joseph returning to Torrington, Winsted, or Winchester, which are all very close to each other. We found census records with a family that would match this family of Joseph and Sally, but nothing more concrete.
Click here to see the pictures from our trip to Burke, Vermont in the year 2000.
Erastus and Sarah were married in 1843 in Huntsburg, Geauga County, Ohio, where his brother, Joseph B. resided. For a time, the father, Joseph, lived there with his son. He also lived for a time with his son, Marcus, who is mentioned in the Pioneer History of Geauga County, 1888:
"Reference to Willard Hale, on page 463 of Pioneer History of Geauga County, 1888: Willard Hale and his wife, formerly Harriet Merriman, came to Burton, in 1834, and bought parts of lots 9 and 19, and moved into a log house, but a few years after, built a frame house. He was an expert chopper, and took jobs of clearing and fencing land, at ten dollars an acre. He was a great hunter, and he and MARCUS EGGLESTON once agreed that they would do no more work, until they had killed a certain deer they had often seen. After following him two days, they gave up the chase. But, about a year afterwards, Mr. Hale saw him in the midst of a herd of steers, and shot, wounding him only. He ran into a wheat field, and trampled down one-fourth of an acre before he was secured. This was the last deer killed in that section.
I have posted a descendancy report of Edward Eggleston and Esther Eggleston, the line from Bygod. I have also posted an outline of the family of Joseph B. Eggleston and Sally Moses. However, I want to caution that this one connection is not proven yet! You may use this information to help you sort your Egg's out, but please don't take the information as absolute proof. I will continue trying to find proof of the family of Erastus Moses Eggleston, and when I do, I will post that proof. Over time, I will be posting copies of the actual documents I have. If anyone can help me in my search, I'd love to hear from you.
Please email me with your questions or comments.