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John Marion Cavitt

Photo taken June 4, 1888, Mount Sterling, Van Buren County, Iowa. Seated, John Marion and Amanda Kiplinger Cavitt; standing from left: Maude, John William, Marcia, Ora and Vorhees.

John Marion Cavitt, son of William C. and Judicy Cavitt, was born November 30, 1839 in Rush County, Indiana, and died June 30 or July 1, 1916 in Grandview, Galata County, Montana. Buried East Hill Cemetery, Rushville, Indiana.. He married Amanda Jane Kiplinger January 24, 1871 in Rushville, Rush County, Indiana, daughter of David Kiplinger and Harriet Dill. She was born April 4, 1850 in Rush County, Indiana, and died October 16, 1894 in Rushville, Indiana. Buried East Hill Cemetery, Rushville, Indiana.

When John was 5 years old, his family moved to Van Buren County, Iowa, where he grew to adulthood.

John joined Co. D, 10th Missouri Regiment July 27, 1861 at Big Mound, Iowa, as a Corporal. He mustered in August 22, 1861at the St. Lois Arsenal. He partcipated in the Civil War battles of Pittsburgh Landing (Shiloh, Tenn.) and Corinth, Mississippi. He was discharged because of a disability June 10, 1862 at age 22.

He traveled to Lake County, California with his family in 1864 by wagon train, the wagons led by ox team. Sister, Lizzie had married and remained at Mount Sterling. John, his brother James Henry Cavitt, and about 20 others left California on horseback in April, 1865, to try their luck in the gold fields near Helena, Montana.

They reached Last Chance Gulch (today's Helena) June 20, 1865. Gold mining was not profitable, so after about a year, John and his brother Jim, bought a team of oxen and freighted between Fort Benton, Omaha, Milk River and Helena for a few years.

About 1868, the brothers took a flatboat down the Missouri River to Omaha, then returned to Van Buren County, Iowa to farm. During this time, he met Amanda Jane Kiplinger who was visiting relatives in nearby Clark County, Missouri. In 1870, John returned to California to visit his sisters, then went back to Indiana where he married Amanda.

He farmed with brother Jim in Iowa for two years, then returned to Rush County, Indiana, where they farmed with Amanda's father for three years. They later rented a nearby farm.

About 1881, John and Jim tried farming for about six moths near Pierce City, Missouri, then moved on to Sedwick, Kansas. About 1885 John again returned to Rush County, Indiana, buying the farm on what became known as Cavittt's Hill.

In 1892 John and daughter Marcia traveled by wagon to Texas. John's son Ora Chester met them in Dallas after traveling from California. John took the train to Rushville so he could vote, while Marcia journeyed on to Truckee, California by train to visit her aunts and uncles. Ora Chester returned to Rushville with the team and wagon alone.

Amanda died October 16, 1894. John Marion moved to California about 1897 for a couple of years and returned to Indiana by way of Canada. He would spend a few years there, then a few years in California, then back to Indiana.

About 1910, he homesteaded at Grandview, Hill County, Montana. John Marion Cavitt returned once more to Indiana before finally settling in Montana. His last years were spent on his homestead in Toole County. Several of his Cavitt relatives also settled there.

He was described in his obituary as a cheerful man, good husband and kind father.

In January 1912 he deeded two acres to the Hill County School District. His home, built in 1910, became the first classroom. A marker noting the donation and honoring John Cavitt is embedded in a huge stone located 16 1/2 miles north of Galata. It was placed by American Legion Post No. 69 of Galata.

He and Amanda were buried at East Hill Cemetery, Rushville, Rush County, Indiana.

Children of John Cavitt and Amanda Kiplinger are:

i. Marcia Harriet Cavitt, born November 19, 1871 in Van Buren County, Iowa; died March 10, 1910 in Rushville, Rush County, Indiana of Bright's Disease. She married John "Jack" O'Neal in April 1895; he died 1912 in Rush County, Indiana of tuberculosis. At 22, Marcia traveled by team and wagon to Texas, leaving Rushville with her father August 16, 1892. She then continued alone by train to California to visit relatives. Letters she wrote back to Rushville describing the country were published in the local newspaper the Jacksovian.No children.

ii. John William Cavitt, born June 20, 1873 in Rush County, Indiana; died February 24, 1927 in Galata, Montana. He married Elnora Matilda "Ella" Widau January 31, 1900 in Rush County, Indiana, daughter of John Widau and Mary Schager. She was born July 7, 1878 in New Trenton, Franklin County, Indiana, and died May 9, 1931 in Seattle, Washington.

John joined the Main Street Christian Church when he was 15. He became a Mason in Rushville in 1894, transferring his membership to the Galata, Montana lodge in 1916. The family moved to Chico, California about 1902 and in 1910, took up a homestead near Galata, Montana.

John William Cavitt ran for assemblyman in Chico in 1908. In 1914, he was elected to the Montana House of Representatives. He was the first representative from Toole County.
John William Cavitt when he ran for assemblyman of Chico, Calif in 1908.

John died at his Montana home. His funeral was held in the Rushville home of son Vorhees. John and Ella were buried at East Hill Cemetery, Rushville, Indiana.

Children of John Cavitt and Elnora Widau are John Widau Cavitt, born November 24, 1900 in Rush County, Indiana; died October 5, 1961. He married (1) Ann Thompson and married (2) Norma Campell; Marion Clark Cavitt, born April 16, 1902 in Rush County, Indiana; died April 5, 1985 in Shelby, Montana. He married Grace Stroble 1927; Mary Amanda Cavitt, born September 3, 1904 in Chico, California; died March 8, 1986 in Dallas, Oregon. She married Michael Neary 1941; Helen Margaret Cavitt, born January 26, 1908 in Chico, California. She married (1) Edmund Arthur "Art" Smith October 29, 1945; died in Dallas, Oregon. She married (2) Carroll Marchand June 8, 1991; he died about 1998. Helen attended the Intermountain Union College in Helena. She gathered much genealogy data on the Cavitt family.

iii. Ora Chester Cavitt, born June 24, 1875 in Rushville, Rush County, Indiana; died May  or June 18, 1900 in Rush County, Indiana. He married Lillie Mae Butler July 28, 1898 in Rushville, Rush County, Indiana, daughter of Richard Butler and Ida Cavitt. She was born September 13, 1879 in Sacramento, California, and died May 5 or 31, 1959 in Kalispell, Flathead County, Montana.

Ora joined relatives in California where he found work in the area of Roseville and Truckee. He returned to Indiana in 1892. After his mother's death, he returned to California where he married Lilllie Mae Butler. They were married in California, then they returned to Indiana where they built a new home on his grandfather Kiplinger's farm. Lillie Mae "Lil" Butler was Ora Cavitt's first cousin once removed. After Ora's death, Lil returned to California with her two children and her parents.

Children of Ora Cavitt and Lillie Butler are Wilbur Marion Cavitt, born June 3, 1899 in Rushville, Rush County, Indiana; died March 7, 1985 in Kalispell, Flathead County, Montana and Ora "Virgil" Cavitt, born August 9, 1900 in Rush County, Indiana; died May 11, 1971 in Tacoma, Pierce County, Washington.

iv. Maude Dicia Cavitt, born November 10, 1877 in Rush County, Indiana; died October 24, 1960 in Rush County, Indiana. She married Thomas Samuel Mills March 13, 1896. He died in Rush County, Indiana. Maude met Tom Mills during an 1895 visit to cousins Lizzie Cavitt Miller and Bill Cavitt in Iowa. The young couple lived for a couple of years in Clark County, Missouri before moving to Indiana where they bought Grandfather Kiplinger's farm.

Children of Maude Cavitt and Thomas Mills are: Mae M. Mills, born July 3, 1897, married Gilbert B. Ricketts; John Roger Mills, born October 4, 1898,married Elaine G. Wannick about 1936. John and Elaine adopted a son about 1938; Murl Edith Mills, born 1903, married Robert A. Duncan; James "Bert" Mills, born 1905; died September 27, 1942. He married Alta Alsop.
Front, John and Bert; back, Mae and Murl

v. Vorhees Cavitt, born December 7, 1879 in Rush County, Indiana; died February 20, 1936 in Rush County, Indiana. He married Nora Nash 1902 in Rush County, Indiana. Vorhees fought in the Spanish American War. He was Rush County Sheriff 1912-1916.