August 2, 2000
Dear Mr. Burgess
Here's the copy of The Comegys Connection segment of the family history I published, "Four Trails to Texas".
As you likely can tell, I've included the first several pages of the complete book just so you will have a feel for what all the book included.
As I mentioned in my previous note, this deals only with my wife's direct descendancy from Cornelius Comegys I. Perhaps it will offer a clue as to the common ancestor of your family's and Janice's.
We wish you well in your ancestor hunting.
To My Many Comegys Cousins And Othoer Readers Of Our Comegys Family History:
This is a "computerized" version of the original book by Walter L. Robertson. I have attemped to catch all my errors, but beware there may be more. In the process of conversion from the original typewritten version to this version I have attempted to be as close to the original as reasonable, but due to many factors there are minor differences.
It is my hope that Mr. Robertson will be very proud of this version. Without his efforts our effort to compile the Comegys family history would not only have been much less accurate, a lot of family information would not be available.
Raymond Mohler Burgess, an 8th Great Grandson of Cornelius Comegys I
July 9, 2001
Last Update: July 9, 2001
NOTE - This is set up with an INTERACTIVE INDEX. Click on the name (or page number) COMEGYS INDEX - and you will go directly to that page.
PLEASE NOTE - This book, as with all genealogy books, have corrections. I been discovered after the original book was published.
Within reason, this web version is meant to be HISTORICALLY CORRECT. With few exceptions, it reads the same as the original.
KNOWN UPDATES / CORRECTIONS ARE POSTED IN THE UPDATES SECTION.
Four Trails To Texas
Our direct descendants from:
Lawson Robertson (1774-1848)
David Russell I (1745-1797)
Wilhelm Heinrich Pellman (1827-1901)
Cornelius Comegys I (1630-1708)
With glances at some of the "In-Law Families":
Carson, Dixon, Dunn, Gore and Stevens.
By Walter Robertson
Introduction v Four Trails: A Map viii The Robertson Connection P 1-P 44 The Russell Connection P 45-P 70 The Pellman Connection P 70A-P 85 The Comegys Connection P 86-P 106 Some of the In-Laws: Carson P 106-P 109 Dixon P 110-P 120 Dunn P 121-P 123 Gore P 124-P 131 Stevens P 132-P 134
Indexes follow each family chapter except for Carson, Dunn and Stevens families, which require no indexes.
Photographs and copies of documents and data follow appropriate generations of most families.
Italic face type indicates our direct descendancy throughout.
When God made man,
He seemed to think it best
To make him in the East,
And let him travel west.
Legend has it that a pioneer woman bone-weary from a day of ordeal along the Oregon Trail scribbled the above epithet to her fellow trail-blazers in her diary about the middle of the 19th Century.
How remarkable that it took 200 years for pioneer Americans to paraphrase, especially in such catchy verse, the compelling urge to move westward, more frequently than not only to find that life to the west was not nearly as comfortable, or even as rewarding or sustaining, as the life they had left behind.
For example, who knows what wealth I might have married into if Cornelius Comegys I had not almost given away his new digs acquired from the Dutch West India Co. about 1655. His first home in America, you see, was located where a small brook called Old Wreck emptied into the East River. That site today is smack in the middle of probably the most valuable real estate in the world, 34th St. at the East River on Manhattan Island. Cornelius moved off Manhattan when Lord Baltimore made land offers, even to non-Brits, on Maryland's Eastern Shore that Cornelius and many of his comrades from The Netherlands could not resist.
There's also the deal that Lawson Robertson swung in Kentucky's virgin Blue Grass country just a few years after Daniel Boone forged the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Pass to open up "The West" to colonial Americans from Tidewater Virginia and surrounding Atlantic Coast lands.
even a half-century later, when Jacob Comegys packed up and moved his family from near Peoria, Illinois onto the sprawling plains of Iowa, the trail already had been blazed but certainly not paved. Jacob and his family followed the route Brigham Young and his Mormon followers had forged barely more than a decade earlier, from the Mississippi River just below present-day Ft. Madison, Iowa onto the Midwestern plains heading west.
That Mormon Trail today roughly parallels Interstate 80 all the way to Salt Lake City. Young and the Mormons, of course, had ntended to stay the course all the way to California but found their "promised land" at the Great Salt Lake.
Jacob Comegys and his family found theirs much sooner, in what is now Jefferson County, Iowa, barely 100 miles from where they started at Peoria.
How all of these trails ultimately led our families to Texas, of course, is the reason for this undertaking. The rhyme comes in putting oneself in the footsteps, and in the mindsets, of those who travelled the trails. A long time ago. And only yesterday.
Our Lineage of 365 Years
From Cornelius Comegys I
Cornelius Comegys I 1630-1706 William Comegys I 1665-1735 Cornelius 1704-1757 Jacob 1736-1805 William 1772-1829 Jacob 1802-1881 William Henry 1832-1899 Charles Wesley 1869-1952 William Carson 1901-1974 Jerry Carson 1939-
From Holland to Manhattan Island, to the Chesapeake's Eastern Shore, to Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, to Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado, the roads to Texas covered much of America.
Most Comegys families in America are descended from Cornelius Comegys I, who was born in 1630 in Lexmont, The Netherlands and died in Kent County, Maryland in 1708.
A fascinating picture of this immigrant patriarch of the Comegys clan in America is drawn from the amazingly complete and obviously painstaking work of Nancy Moler Poeter, "The Comegys Family", which was published in 1981 by Gateway Press of Baltimore, MD.
The book describes how Cornelius I coined the surname Comegys after he arrived in New Amsterdam, New Netherlands (later renamed New York by the British) about 1658. He adapted the name to fit the English, and therefore the American custom of preserving the family surname from one generation to another. That was not the custom in Holland at the time. Generally in the immigrant's home country, a son would use his father's given name as his last name and add "sen" to it. Cornelius Corneliusen, then, identified the Comegys patriarch as the son of Cornelius his father in Lexmont. Cornelius I created the new surname Comegys from his father's calling in old Holland, Cornelius Comen Ghysen, which translated to Cornelius the trader Ghysbert. Cornelius then took it one Americanized step further by shortening Comen Ghysen to Comegys.
Mrs. Poeter's marvelous Comegys handbook proceeds to list what certainly must have been a great majority of all the Comegys families in the United States at the time the book was published in 1981.
WHAT THE BOOK could not do, of course, was to trace the individual lineages of each of the many branches from immigrant Cornelius I to our own families. It is the purpose here, therefore, to merge the exhaustive data from "The Comegys Family" to the information and recollections of my wife Janice Comegys Robertson and her brother Jerry Comegys along with my own research. The result allows our own branch of the family to "fill in the blanks" between Cornelius the immigrant and us. It is hoped that it also will allow an easier future tracing of the Comegys to the Robertsons, the Russells, the Pellmans and other families of our ancestry.
The numerical designations of the various descendants are those assigned by Mrs. Poeter so as to allow better identification with ancestors enshrined in "The Comegys Family". Italic text type identifies our direct ancestor among the children listed of each forefather.
CORNELIUS COMEGYS I
#1 Cornelius Comegys I b. 1630 at Lexmont, The Netherlands; m. 1st Willimentze Gysbert March 29, 1658 in New Amsterdam(New York), U.S.; m. 2d Rebecca (unknown) in Kent Co., MD ca. 1670; d. 1708 in Kent Co., MD. Children of Cornelius I and Willimentze(Gysbert) Comegys: 2 I. Cornelius b 1659, m. Mary Kennedy, a widow. II. Elizabeth b.1662, in Maryland (no further information). #3 III. William I b. 1665, m. 1st Elizabeth Tiler, m. 2nd Mary Vinett. IV. Hannah b. 1667 no further information). Children of Cornelius I and Rebecca (unknown) Comegys: 4 V. Nathaniel b. 1671, m. Jane Seth of Talbot Co., Maryland. VI. Rebecca b. 1673 m. John Tyler. 5 VII. Edward b. 1675, m. Mary Harwood, a widow. 6 VIII. Gias Bartus b. 1677, wife unknown. IX. Martha b. 1679, m. James Piner(or Pinder). X. Mary Ann b. ca. 1681, m. Thomas Wilkins, 7-4-1716. XI. Sarah b. ca. 1683, m. George Shriver 1735, Kent Co. Md.
WILLIAM COMEGYS I #3 William Comegys I b. 1665 in Kent Co., Md.; m. 1st Elizabeth Tiler, daughter of Robert and Joane Tiler of Calvert, MD in 1685; m. 2d Mary Vinett June 12, 1709; d. 1735 in Kent Co., MD. Children of William I and Elizabeth (Tiler) Comegys: 20 I. William II b 1695 m. Ann Cosden. II. Elizabeth b. 1697, m. (unknown) III. Nathaniel b. 5-4-1699, d. 4-2-1709. IV. Ann b. 10-30-1700, m. Isaac Spencer. #21 V. Cornelius b. 7-28-1704, wife Charity (unknown). Children of William I and his 2d wife, Mary (Vinett Comegys: VI. Hannah b. 2-13-1711, d. 1761, M. Isaac Freeman. 22 VII. Edward b. 10-18-1712, m. Ist Ann (unknown), m. 2nd Jessie Cosden. VIII. Margaret b. 11-4-1706, d. 12-28-1706. IX. Isaac b. ca. 1708, d. 1763 (no further information) .
WILLIAM COMEGYS I settled on 600 acres of land deeded by his father Cornelius I and his 2d wife Rebecca on May 30, 1690. The land, called Viann after his father's home in Holland, was near that of his father an the upper Chester River in Kent Co., Md. William I built a fine brick home on the land for his 2nd wife Mary Vinnet Comegys in 1708. Located on the Chester River opposite the present town of Crumpton, the home is of Dutch Colonial architecture and was still occupied at the time we visited the Crumpton area in May of 1995. We visited for some time with the present owner, Mr. Frank Peabody, whose mailing address at the time was 9849 Crumpton Road, Millington, Md. 21651. Mr. Peabody pointed out a crack in the bricks down the east side of the home which marked the back wall of the 1708 structure. The home of course has been expanded and remodeled several times during its almost 300-year history.
William Comegys I was prominent in the church and social structures of early-day Eastern Shore life. He was a vestryman of Shrewsbury Parish for 16 consecutive years beginning in 1704. He was a commissioner of the court and a petitioner to his "Sacred Majesty" according to a court entry dated 12-2-1696. He was appointed to a committee which established the boundary between Kent and Cecil Counties shortly thereafter. He served as a Kent Co. commissioner from 1707-1725.
WILLIAM I BEGAN a long history of service by various Comegys families to the Shrewsbury Church, one of 30 laid out by the Church of England in the Province of Maryland in 1692. The original wooden building stood for almost 100 years before a brick structure replaced it in 1792 on the same site. This brick church was torn down in 1829 and the present church was built in 1832. This building, although undergoing some restoration several times, still stands today near Galena in northeast Kent County.
"A History of Shrewsbury Parish Church", published in 1988 by Chesapeake College Press, shows that William Comegys I played a leading role in an addition to the original church begun in 1710. He "was asked to lay out and make a plat of the two acres of land belonging to the church for four hundred pounds of tobacco. This was finished by the next meeting, when Comegys was paid five hundred pounds of tobacco for this work, and for making a table of marriages. The Act of 1702 had directed that a copy of the table of marriages, which determined the legality of marriages according to the Church of England, be placed in every church in Maryland. The Shrewsbury vestry apparently took eight years to get this done.
"After Comegys laid out and platted the church yard, the vestry decided to enclose it with pailing. From the description in January, 1710 of the pail fence, a detailed picture of the size and directional orientation of the original church emerges."
THE CHURCH HISTORY also relates a dispute between William I and James Campbell, a former warden of the church. "According to vestry minutes of July 5, 1713, Campbell came to the Communion table and asked pardon of William Comegys and Col. Edward Blay for calling them 'murderers of the parish.' At the same place and time the aforesaid Campbell did condescend to pay what charges should increw upon the writ that was served upon him for the above fault whereupon the said James Campbell was discharged. "The Shrewsbury History says "it is unclear who Blay and Comegys were supposed to have murdered, but the vestry, acting as a legislative body, fined Campbell as the law empowered it to do, simply for making the accusation."
William Comegys II, oldest son of William I and brother of our ancestor Cornelius (1704-1757), likewise was active in the Shrewsbury Parish. According to the Church History, he solicited subscriptions from individual parishioners during the summer of 1750 for a planned addition to the church.
During our 1995 visit we met Rev. Tom Hughes, the 58th pastor of the famed church, and Mrs. Hughes, who helped us locate grave stones of a number of Comegys, including Nathaniel(1825-1899), Samuel(1802-1879) and his wife Anna(1812-1883) and their daughter Milliminty (1844-1919).
Comegys family members still were active in the Shrewsbury Parish when the Church History was published in 1988. Three, Woodland Comegys, Elizabeth C. Comegys and Helen Comegys Lee, are listed among those parishioners who helped fund the publication.
CORNELIUS COMEGYS (Grandson of Cornelius Comegys I) #21 Cornelius Comegys b. July 28, 1704; m. Charity (unknown) Comegys ca. 1724 in Kent Co., MD; d. 1757 in Kent Co., MD (will probated 9-30-1757, sons William and Bartus executors) . Charity m. Phillip Pratt after Cornelius' death. Children of Cornelius and Charity Comegys 101 I. Henry b. 1725, d. 1784, m. 1st Martha (unknown) m. 2d Elizabeth Allen.0 102 II. Bartus b. ca. 1733, d 1775, m. Sophia Blackiston 103 III. William b. ca. 1735, d.1832, m. 1st widow of Mayor Harrington, m. 2d Martha Hooper. #104 IV. Jacob b. 1736, d. 1805, m. Hannah Falconer ca. 1771. V. Edward (no further information). VI. Margaret (no further information) JACOB COMEGYS #104 B. 1736 in Kent Co., MD; m. Hannah Falconer (daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth Falconer) ca. 1771 in Kent Co., MD; d. 1805 in Berkeley Co., Virginia (now West Virginia). Children of Jacob and Hannah (Falconer) Comegys: #110 I. William, eldest son b. 1772, d. 1844, m. 1st Sara Morgan, m. 2d Sara Rawlings. 111 II. Benjamin b. ca. 1774, d. 1856, m. Demarius V. Thompson. III. Charlotte m. Wilson Athey 1797. IV. Nancy m. Joseph Cross 8-3-1803. V. Hannah m. William Warner 8-23-1810. VI. Deborleigh m. John Cross 2-12-1807. 112 VII. John b. 12-29-1784, m. Elizabeth Marshall.
JACOB APPARENTLY was well on his way to becoming a confirmed bachelor when he married Hannah at the age of 35 years. The Shrewsbury Parish Church had invoked a bachelor tax of 300 pounds on him on July 14, 1761. Jacob was 25 at the time and still a full decade away from marriage. Records indicate that a William Comegys, apparently Jacob's older brother, was charged a similar tax at the same time. Brother William must have married well, if belatedly. Records show that his first wife was the widow of Mayor Harrington, presumably wife of the mayor of the town in Caroline Co., Md. where William settled. William had no children by the mayor's widow but according to the mathematics of the record was 64 years old when he fathered his only child, Cornelius, by 2d wife Martha Hooper on January 2, 1798.
JACOB'S WIFE Hannah Falconer Comegys died ca. 1793 at about the age of 38. Records show that two years later Jacob sold his land in Kent Co., Md. to a Collin Ferguson and the same year moved his remaining family to Berkeley Co., Virginia (now West Virginia). They located near Shepherdstown on the Potomac River just a few miles from historically-famed Harper's Ferry.
this line of descendants of immigrant Cornelius Comegys I.
There is no trace of Jacob's burial in Shepherdstown but we did find the stone of Elizabeth Marshall Comegys, wife of Jacob's youngest son, John, who was born in 1784. John's stone was not located and his death date is not known. Elizabeth Marshall Comegys died in 1871 at the age of 82 years, 10 months. She is buried in old Shepherdstown Cemetery and her stone identifies her as the wife of John Comegys.
WILLIAM COMEGYS #110 William Comegys b. 1772 in Kent Co., MD; m. 1st Sara Morgan June 21, 1800, prob. in Berkeley Co., VA (WV) ; m. 2d Sara Rawlings June 24, 1830, prob. in Champaign Co., OH; d. 1844 at Kings Creek, Champaign Co., OH. Sara Morgan b. 1780, d. 1829. Sara Rawlings d. 1853). Children of William and Sara (Morgan) Comegys: 120 I. Cornelius M. b. 1801, d. 1865, m. 1st Jemina Dunlap, m. 2d Anibel (Dunlap) McCune. #121 II. Jacob, b. 1802, m. Sara Hicks ca. 1829. III. Jane, b. ca 1804, m. Milton Pierce 12-26-1827. No issue. 122 IV. William b. 6-6-1812, m. Elizabeth Markley. 123 V. Levi b. 1807, d. 1881, Indianapolis, IN, m. 1st Nancy Lowman; m. 2d Olivia Hume. 124 VI. Presley b. Berkeley Co., Virginia ca. 1810, m. Rebecca McIntire. VII. Elizabeth b. 1819, m. Hamilton Williams 3-12-1837. VIII. Maria b. ca. 1820, m. John Snyder 8-10-1840. 125 IX. Martha b. 7-5-1825, d. 1900, m. William Wierman 10- 29-1845. Children of William and Sara (Rawlings) Comegys X. Charlotte b. 1831 (no further information). XI. Benjamin Franklin b. 1832(no further information) XII. Samuel b. 1836, m. Maude Duncan. XIII. Daniel Webster b. 1838 (no further information). XIV. Elizabeth b. 1840, m. William Stewart 11-1-1870. XV. Henry Clay b. 1842 (no further information). XVI. Nancy b. 1844 (no further information).
WILLIAM COMEGYS grew up in the years immediately following the Revolutionary War when "Westward, Ho!" became the password for so many families of the infant nation of the United States of America. He left the Shepherdstown, West Virginia area with Abraham Comegys, apparently a cousin, and a friend named Felix Scott. The three men and their families lived for a few years in Monongalia Co., West Virginia near the southern Pennsylvania border, then continued their westward march, along and sometimes on the Ohio River into central Ohio, probably shortly after William's service during the War of 1812.
ABRAHAM COMEGYS and Felix Scott shortly moved on again, into Missouri and beyond. But William Comegys had wandered enough. He settled his family in what is now Champaign Co., Ohio near a small, frontier town called Kings Creek, where he buried his first wife Sara (Morgan) Comegys in 1829, and fathered seven more children by his second wife Sara (Rawlings) Comegys. The last of his 16 children Nancy, was born in 1844, the year he died at the age of 72 years.
William and first wife Sarah Morgan Comegys are buried in a small fenced cemetery near Kings Creek. The beautifully-kept cemetery is surrounded by the rich farm land that apparently caused William to settle here after moving from West Virginia. Kings Creek is located less than 10 miles north of Urbana, Ohio, a town of amazingly-preserved Victorian homes which reflect the obviously abundant lifestyles of many families here during much of the 19th century.
JACOB COMEGYS #121 Jacob Comegys b. 1802 in Berkeley Co., VA (WV) ; m. Sara Hicks in Ohio (prob. Champaign Co.) July 18, 1831; d. Jan. 10, 1881 in Henry Co., Iowa. Sara Hicks b. 1799, d. April 4, 1866 in Jefferson Co., Iowa, bd. in Peoria, Ill. Children of Jacob and Sara (Hicks) Comegys: I. Sara Ann b. 1830, m. David McKee 8-15-1883, d. 9-8- 1911 at Bondurant, IA. #141 II. William Henry b. 12-11-1832, Champaign Co., Ohio; m. Elizabeth Rhoads 3-2-1853 in Marion Co., IN; d. 10-22-1899 at Agency, IA. 140 III. Cornelius Milton b. 8-22-1833, d. 11-20-1911 at Bondurant, la; m. Elizabeth Vaught 7-18-1861 at Jefferson Co., Ia.; she d. 4-2-1929 at Chillicothe, Ohio. Cornelius Milton and Elizabeth Vaught Comegys had 14 children including Joseph Ellis, William Randall, Edward Franklin, Susan (Susy) Lillya May, Ida Ellen, Margaret Jane and Sarah Elizabeth. IV. John b. unknown (no further information). V. Joseph Ellis b. unknown (no further information). 142 VI. David Franklin b. 1837, Champaign Co., Ohio; d. 5- 10-1901; m. Anna E. Parke 1-14-1869. Their three children were Edith May (12-6-1869), Ella Viola (9- 15-1874) and Sara Elizabeth (1-22-1884) 143 VII. Daniel Randal b. 2-28-1841, Champaign Co., Ohio, d. 8-12-1918, Sioux City, Ia.; m. 1st Sara Ann Beck, 1868, she died 1-8-1873 at age 22, buried at old Fairfield Cem; m. 2d Lotta E. Towne, 9-16-1875; m. 3d Mary Elizabeth (Norris) Sallada, 1900. Children of Daniel Randall and Sara Ann (Beck) Comegys were John E. 10-12-1869, d. 1871 and William (died in infancy). Children of Daniel Randall Comegys and Lottie (Towne) Comegys were Estella (9-8-1876), Elijah (8-15-1878) and Daniel C. (7-20-1883).
THE RECORD is not clear as to why Jacob and his family pushed on to Iowa. Most of the children were grown, or nearly so. William Henry already was married to Elizabeth Rhoads, whom he apparently had met while working in Indianapolis. Sara, the oldest child, was in her mid-twenties but still single. Cornelius Milton was about 22 and still single and David Franklin nearing 20. Daniel Randal was about 14. Two other children, John and Joseph Ellis apparently died at young ages. But only David Franklin chose to stay in Peoria, later moving back to Ohio where he was born.
The lure of rich farmland available by grants for just a few dollars an acre obviously was the greatest attraction to Jacob and his family as they moved on toward Iowa. But the fearsome clouds of the slavery issue already had begun to envelop a young nation barely 80 years old. Perhaps Jacob and Sara, like many parents of the time, felt they could escape the looming conflict by moving westward. It was not to be. All four of their living sons, according to family records and recollections, were dragged into the Civil War. Fortunately, unlike so many families where brother was to fight brother, Jacob's four sons served in the Union Army. And all four survived. Records indicate that Cornelius Milton and Daniel Randal both served with Iowa's 19th Regiment while David Franklin served with Ohio's 95th Regiment. William Henry's specific unit has not yet been determined.
SARAH HICKS COMEGYS lived to know that her four sons had survived the Civil War, but just barely. She died on April 6, 1866, less than a year after the terrible war ended. The record is not clear why she is buried at Peoria., Ill. where the family had lived for a number of years before moving to Iowa.
Jacob Comegys lived another 14 years but apparently many of them as a cripple, both physically and mentally. He died on January 10, 1880 at an institution for the insane in Mt. Pleasant, Henry Co., Iowa. His obituary in the Fairfield Ledger stated that he had been cared for many of those years by his daughter Sara, still single at the time. She married for the first time three years after her father's death. An article in The Ledger on Aug. 15, 1883, read. "David McKee has taken unto himself a wife, in the person of Miss Sara A. Comegys, one of Fairfield's daughters. The marriage took place in Centerville on Aug. 2 .... Mr. McKee was 80 years old last May and the bride is 43 (she was actually 53) .... The grandchildren of his youngest child were present at the wedding." Obviously Sara Ann Comegys spent much of her adult life caring for her elderly father and husband.
WILLIAM HENRY COMEGYS #141 William Henry Comegys b. Dec. 11, 1832 in Champaign Co., OH; m. Elizabeth Rhoads March 2, 1853 in Marion Co., IN; d. Oct. 22, 1899 at Agency, Iowa. Elizabeth Rhoads, daughter of Hiram and Mary Byrkit Rhoads, b. Oct. 12, 1835 in Indiana, d. Jan. 10, 1927 at Pleasant Plain, Iowa. Children of William Henry and Elizabeth (Rhoads) Comegys: I. Mary Belle b. 2-15-1854 at Indianapolis, IN; m. James (unknown). II. Presley Marmaduke b. 12-4-1857 in Jefferson Co. IA; d. 7-21-1861 in Jefferson Co. at age 3 years, 7 months; buried at Old Fairfield Cemetery, Fairfield, IA. #160 III. David Franklin b. 5-21-1862 in Jefferson Co., IA; d. 2-26-1906 at Agency, IA; buried Agency Cemetery; m. Alberta Newell 2-14-1889 near Agency, Wapello Co., IA. She d. 6-9-1899 at Agency; buried Agency Cemetery. Children of David Franklin and Alberta (Newell) Comegys: Jessie Maud, Helen Fern, Clarence Newell (3-13-1895). IV. Jessie b. ca. 1863, near Osceola, Nebraska; m. (unknown) Smith (one of twin girls). #161 V. Hiram M. b. 8-23-1866 near Agency, Wapello Co., IA; moved to Boise, Idaho. Children of Hiram M. and Ida (unknown) b. 1876: William (no further information; Verne b. 1897 (no further information); Edna b. 1899(lived in Pocatello, Idaho). #162 VI. Charles Wesley b. 4-20-1869 near Agency, Wapello Co.; d. 6-23-1952 at Dallas, TX. m. Harriet (Hattie) Rachel Carson 6-26-1894 at Osceola, Nebraska. She d. October, 1950 at Los Angeles, CA. VII. Helen b. 9-16-1872, apparently Wapello Co. (no further information). VIII. Maude b. 5-20-1874, apparently Wapello Co. (no further information). IX. Clarence b. ca. 1875, apparently Wapello Co. (no further information). X. Peter b. 7-1-1880 at Agency, Wapello Co.; d. 1972 at Winter Haven, FL. m. Helen C. Walsh, b. Peoria, IL, d. apparently at Winter Haven, FL.
WILLIAM HENRY COMEGYS obviously never enjoyed life as a farmer. He had left his parents' small farm near Peoria, Ill. to try his hand at carpentry in booming Indianapolis, Ind., 170 miles "back East" about 1852, when he was 20 years old. It was there he met and married Elizabeth Rhoads, daughter of Hiram and Mary Rhoads. Their first child, Mary Belle, was born in Indianapolis. But William Henry grew restless with the building business, too, and decided to head for Iowa with his father Jacob and the rest of the family in the spring of 1854. Only David Franklin stayed behind and soon moved back to Ohio near Urbana where he was born.
THE JOURNEY by wagon and horseback from Peoria to what is now Jefferson Co., Iowa, of course was long, often muddy and perilous. So it is not surprising that the first record of the Comegys family in Jefferson Co. is almost a year later. William Henry and Elizabeth's first son, Presley Marmaduke was not born for almost two years after that, on May 21, 1862. But Presley lived less than four years. He died from unknown causes on July 21, 1861.
Although family legend has insisted that William Henry as well as his three brothers all served in the Union Army, no record has been found of William Henry's service. The fact that son David Franklin was born May 21, 1862 and son Hiram M. was born August 23, 1864 leaves little time for William Henry to have been away at war. He would have been more than 30 years old when most Civil War conscriptions began in the summer of 1862 so may have avoided service.
WILLIAM HENRY apparently had returned to carpentry when he and Elizabeth's last of 10 children, Peter, was born in 1880. The 1880 census lists his occupation as a carpenter. Peter was born in July after the census had been taken. But William Henry still was restless during the decade that followed. Word reached Jefferson Co. that the promised land was now a little farther west, this time in the beautiful but rather barren San Luis Valley about 200 miles west of Walsenburg, Colorado.
A letter from William Henry's son Charles Wesley, Janice Comegys Robertson's grandfather, best describes the unyielding lure of the west to our pioneer forefathers in a letter to his niece Helen Comegys Hardin dated Oct. 4, 1951:
"Your father (David Franklin) and my father (William Henry) in the spring of 1888 and a neighbor east of Agency, whose name I can't recall, loaded two box cars at Agency with household goods, farm tools, horses, cows and I think even some pigs and chickens, etc. The cars were billed to Walsenburg, Colo. The shipper of each car was entitled to a pass permitting them to ride in the caboose. My father and the neighbor had the passes and your father had none so he had to bum his way. They turned a wagon box upside down in one of the cars,
covered it with furniture, etc. and left the end gate of the wagon so it could be taken out and put back. So that was where your father rode from Aqency to Walsenburg. "At that time the government had thrown open for homesteading a large tract of land in the San Luis Valley. This was the destination of your father and my father. This valley was practically desert land but lacked only water to make it very productive. The government had started a vast irrigation project in this valley. A large irrigation ditch was started at the north end of the valley leading off from the river (the San Luis) and circling the valley on the east side. Then laterals were to be run from the main ditch to the farmers along the way.... Your father and my father each filed on a 160-acre homestead and on a 160-acre timber claim. So each of them had 320 acres of this valley land. The climate in this valley is very mild and wonderful but they spent quite a rugged summer and winter there. They lived mostly in their wagons. Monte Vista was their post office and this was a full day's ride from their claim so that meant a 2-day trip each time they went to get the mail. And your Dad had a sweetheart in Agency waiting for mail.
"They became homesick and discouraged. Especially my father who never was a farmer anyway. Father finally left for Iowa, giving up his claim. Your father stayed on 'til about the first of the year and succeeded in selling his homestead rights, getting back at least his investment. He then returned to Iowa and he and your mother were married at the Newell home on Feb. 14, 1889. (The Newell home was that of Demosthenes and Gorvina Newell, parents of Alberta June Newell, who married David Franklin Comegys).
"On March 1 your father and his new bride and my father and family moved to Nebraska. But that is another story.
Uncle Chart, Charles Wesley Comegys, was not quite 20 years old at the time and what his letter of 1951 did not explain is that the family's journey into Nebraska, although brief, was to bring him a wife. He married Harriet Rachel Carson on June 26, 1894 at Osceola, Nebraska. Another Comegys generation was in the making, the ninth since Cornelius I forged the family name in New Amsterdam on Manhattan Island 236 years before.
CHARLES WESLEY COMEGYS #162 b. April 20, 1869 near Agency, Wapello Co., Iowa; m. Harriet (Hattie) Rachel Carson June 26, 1894 at Osceola, Nebraska; d. June 23, 1952 at Dallas, TX. Harriet Carson Comegys, daughter of Charles and Lillie Carson, b. ca. 1874 prob. at Osceola, Neb., d. Oct., 1950 at Los Angeles, CA. Children of Charles Wesley and Harriet Carson Comegys: I. Neva Ella b. 5-15-1895 at Osceola, Nebraska; d. 12- 28-1924 at Denver, Colorado. M. Larry Scanlon at Denver, 6-26-1919. No children. #181 II. William Carson b. 5-22-1901 at Ottumwa, Iowa; d. 1- 22-1974 at Dallas, Texas; m. Odessa Pellman 7-24- 1923 at Denver, CO. m.2d Rilla Griffith ca. 1966 at Dallas.
CHARLES WESLEY COMEGYS, grandfather of Janice Comegys Robertson and Jerry Comegys and fondly recalled as "Uncle Chart" by most other members of the family, spent only a few years in Nebraska after his marriage to Harriet, or Hattie as she was called most of her life. But their first child, Neva, was born near Osceola in Nebraska in May of 1895. The family was back in Iowa in time for the 1900 federal census, which shows them renting their home at 1602 West Main St. in Ottumwa, Wapello County.
That's where their only other child, William Carson, was born on May 22, 1901. There was no house standing at that address during a visit in 1994, only some concrete remains of the foundation which indicated that entry to the house was at street level on a lot that fell sharply toward the rear where much of the living quarters apparently was actually a basement. The 1900 census shows that Hattie's mother, Ellin (or Lillie) Carson, at age 65, was living with the family at the time. /p>
CHARLES WESLEY had even less interest in farming than his father. After the family moved to Nebraska, he taught school for two or three years, beginning when he was not yet 18-years-old and without any college or teacher training, as was permissible in those days. Apparently he began a lifetime occupation of bookkeeping and office managing shortly after his marriage in Nebraska. The 1900 census lists his occupation as a bookkeeper and the 1901 Ottumwa city directory shows him to be employed by an auditing firm called Morrell's. The 1905 directory lists him as an accountant for Hutchisson Co. and the 1912 directory as president and treasurer of Ottumwa Queensware, 104 South Market St.
Charles Wesley and his family disappear from the Ottumwa City Directory and other Wappelo County and Iowa records the following year, 1913. Family records offer no confirmation, but a better job and the attraction of a more urban lifestyle likely lured Charles Wesley and his family to Des Moines that year. Bud Comegys was graduated from North High School in Des Moines in 1919. It was probably the following year that the family moved once more, this time to an even more urban environment, Denver, Colorado. Another reason for the move may have been Neva's poor health. She had suffered from acute asthma almost since birth and the dry Colorado climate seems to have been a factor in the move. Neva married Larry Scanlon shortly after but her health gradually grew worse. She died of complications from her asthmatic condition on Dec. 28, 1924. She is buried in Denver with her mother and father.
NEVA DID live long enough to see her brother married, however. William Carson and Odessa Marie Pellman were married at Denver on July 24, 1923. Charles Wesley and Hattie moved to Portland, Oregon about that time or shortly after. They lived most of the remaining years of their lives on the West Coast, more than 20 years in Los Angeles. Hattie died in Los Angeles in October of 1950. The following year, Charles Wesley, lovingly called Papa by grandchildren Janice and Jerry, at the age of 81 drove his beloved 1932 Studebaker touring car all the way from Los Angeles to son Carson's home in Dallas. Just a few months later he drove the old Studebaker more than 3,000 miles for one last visit with brothers and other family members in Iowa, Nebraska and even to Winter Haven, Florida before returning to Carson's home in late spring of 1952.
He had completed his final challenge. At the age of 83, he appeared not a lonely man to Carson and Dess and Janice and Jerry, but a man who firmly felt he had nothing else to live for. He was at peace with his soul and his God. After an unsuccessful attempt to end his own life, he died of heart failure on June 23, 1952. He is buried in Denver alongside wife Hattie and daughter Neva.
WILLIAM CARSON COMEGYS #181 William Carson Comegys b. May 22, 1901 at Ottumwa, Iowa; m. Odessa Pellman July 24, 1923 at Denver, CO; m. 2d Rilla Griffith ca. 1966; d. Jan. 22, 1974 at Dallas, TX. Dess Pellman Comegys, daughter of John and Emma Pellman, b. Jan. 12, 1902 in Kay Co., OK; d. Nov. 5, 1963 at Dallas, TX. Children of William Carson and Odessa Pellman Comegys: I. Janice Darolyn b. 7-22-1930 at Seattle, WA; m. Walter Robertson 7-29-1950 at Dallas. Five children: Louis Alan b. 8-8-1951; Rebecca Eileen b. 7-13-1954; Russell Carson b. 10-15-1955; Lisa Beth b. 6-10-1963; Lauri Gail b. 6-2-1967. #181A II. Jerry Carson Comegys b. 8-6-1939 at Fort Worth, TX.; m. 1st Charlotte Klozeck ca. 1965; m. 2d Vicki Derrington ca. 1969; m. 3d Nancy Burgeson ca. 1974, m. 4th Lynn Davis ca. 1985.
THE FATEFUL twists and turns that bring families together was very much in evidence when Bud Comegys was beginning his teen years in Ottumwa. Carson's mother Hattie had innocently hung the nickname "Bud" on her only son about the time he was learning to walk. "Whatever is my buddy-boy up to now?" she would call to him from another room at the sound of something crashing to the floor. Naturally family members and then friends picked up the expression and soon Carson became "Bud" almost everywhere he went.
World War I was about to erupt in Europe when his father decided to accept a job offer in Des Moines. Bud, like most any boy his age, was not happy about leaving his friends, uncles, aunts and cousins in Ottumwa and Wapello County. But like most boys his age, he adjusted quickly in Des Moines and soon rather enjoyed the "big city" life. He was graduated from North High School in Des Moines in early June of 1919. The war in Europe had ended and life was beginning to return to normal. So were the calls of the West. Reports of big-paying jobs in Denver, Colorado were too much to resist for Charles Wesley and Bud, who were eager to join Neva and her husband Larry "out West".
ABOUT THE SAME time things were not going too well for John and Emma Pellman and their family at their farm in Kay County, Oklahoma overlooking the Arkansas River. A series of crop failures had put a severe dent in the family budget. And besides, teenagers Dess, Nonie and Louie and even 5-year-old Carl argued, it might do the whole family good to get away from farming for awhile. Try a more urban lifestyle. Surely there would be many more opportunities for
their Dad to find work as a butcher, his backup trade when farming was barely keeping food on the table. Stories from friends and relatives about booming Denver, Colorado were very appealing. John and Emma rented the farm and the family headed toward the Rockies.
So when the Pellmans moved in next door in the middle-class Denver neighborhood that late autumn day of 1921, Bud Comegys was convinced life was "looking up". That, of course, was a judgment he made about the time he discovered that the Pellman family included a beautiful dark-haired 19-year-old daughter called Dess. Courtships did not blossom overnight in those days, of course, even at next-door range. So it was probably just as well that the relationship didn't reach the engagement stage until after Bud had snared himself a "dream" job with Dayton Scales a year or so later. Dayton Scales was a subsidiary of International Business Machines, which already was making the sounds of a national corporate giant. So when the company decided to send Bud to Endicott, New York for training in early summer of 1923, the courtship with Dess did indeed reach another stage. They were married on July 24. And the wedding invitation read "After August 1, at home in Endicott, N.Y". Naturally the honeymoon was spent at Niagara Falls, while they were in the neighborhood.
SHORTLY AFTER his training period, Bud was transferred to Seattle, Washington, which worked out well since his mother and father were living in Portland, Oregon by that time. Bud and Dess' first child, Janice Darolyn, was born at their home on Mercer Island in Seattle on July 22, 1930, just as the nation's "Roaring 20s" decade was ending and the greatest depression it ever knew was beginning. Bud was laid off by IBM three years later, putting in motion the family's long and frequently stressful journey to Texas, with stops along the way back at the Pellman farm in Oklahoma, Tulsa and Shreveport.
Just keeping food on the table was monumental for many American families during those Depression days, of course. Bud scraped together a few dollars a week selling music lessons along the route after leaving the West Coast. He did odd jobs and unfamiliar farm work while living with Mom and Dad Pellman, who by that time had moved back to the Oklahoma farm to try to ride out the depression. Dess finally landed a clerical job in Ponca City. Janice spent her first year of school in a 1-room schoolhouse at Pleasant Valley, a single teacher alternately trying to teach the first and second graders to read and the 19-year-olds enough total "learning" to earn a diploma.
IT WAS NOT until 1937 that the nation's economy began to right itself. IBM finally began rehiring. Bud was offered a job at Wichita, Kansas. Of course he took it. Shortly after he was transferred to Tulsa. Janice spent the second grade there and the third grade in Shreveport after another transfer the following year. In the spring of 1939 the family moved to Fort Worth where
Bud was transferred by IBM to train in its time clock division. Jerry Carson was born there on August 6, 1939. Less than a year later Bud was moved to Dallas where he was to buy the small frame home at 3224 Brandon Avenue in Oak Cliff where Janice and Jerry were to grow up and where both Dess and Bud, as well as grandfather Charles Wesley, were to die.
Dess died after a long and painful struggle with cancer on November 5, 1963, just 17 days before John F. Kennedy was assassinated in downtown Dallas. Bud remarried a few years later, to Rilla Griffith, a longtime friend of the Comegys family who had lost her husband to cancer shortly after Dess died. After suffering a stroke that left both his body and his will to live crippled, William Carson (Bud) Comegys died on January 22, 1974. He and Dess are buried at Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas.
JERRY CARSON COMEGYS #181A b. Aug. 6, 1939 at Fort Worth, TX; m. 1st Charlotte Klozeck ca. 1965; m. 2d Vicki Derrington ca. 1969; m. 3d Nancy Burgeson ca. 1974; m. 4th Lynn Davis ca. 1985. Children of Jerry Carson Comegys and Vicki Derrington I. Erika, b. March 1, 1971 at Austin, TX. Children of Jerry Carson Comegys and Nancy Burgeson: I. Kelly, b. October 24, 1974 at Austin, TX.
JERRY COMEGYS is nine years younger than his sister Janice. And as is the case in most families with such an age gap between siblings, Janice frequently felt as much like a mother as a sister to Jerry. Although their mother Dess already was gravely ill with cancer at the time, Dess lived long enough to see Jerry graduated from North Texas State University in January of 1962. Dess died in November of the following year.
After his graduation, Jerry decided to put his military obligation behind him immediately. He enlisted in the Navy Air Corps but had barely arrived at flight school when a physical determined that he was color-blind. So he was transferred to the Marine Corps, where he fulfilled his 6-month active-duty enlistment.
JERRY RETURNED to Dallas following his discharge from the Marines and not too surprisingly landed his first job with IBM, where his Dad had worked for much of his life. After four years with IBM in the Dallas office he decided to give the insurance business a try. It proved a very successful career move. He first went to work for Allstate Insurance Co. in Jackson, Mississippi and later came "back home" to Texas in State Farm Insurance Co's Austin office. In a relatively short time he obtained his underwriter license and soon opened his own agency in Austin. For more than 20 years he has owned one of that city's most successful agencies.
Both of Jerry's daughters were born in Austin and are now grown. Erika was graduated from the University of Missouri in 1995. At the time of this writing Kelly is a senior education major at Texas Tech University.
Since Jerry, now 56, has not fathered a son, the direct line of descendancy from immigrant patriarch Cornelius Comegys I would seem imperilled after more than 350 years. But such a conclusion could prove premature. After all, the forgoing Comegys family history did indeed name one ancestor who fathered his only child at 64, and another who fathered the last of 16 children at the age of 72.
As Yogi Berra so wisely put it, "It ain't over 'til it's over."
Charlotte Comegys Athey (Wilson) P 92 Yogi Berra P 106 Edward Blay P 90 Nancy Burgeson P 106 James Campbell P 90 Charles and Ellin (or Lillie) Carson P 102 Deborleigh Comegys Cross (John) P 92 Abraham Comegys P 95 Alberta June Newell Comegys P 98 100 Ann Spencer Comegys P 89 Ann Cosden Comegys P 89 Anna Comegys P 91 Anna Parke Comegys P 96 Bartus Comegys P 92 Benjamin Comegys - 1774 P 92 Benjamin Franklin Comegys -1832 P 94 Charlotte Comegys P 94 Charity Comegys P 89 Charles Wesley Comegys P 98 104 106 Clarence Newell Comegys P 98 Clarence Comegys P 98 Cornelius Comegys I P 86-89 92 93 101 106 (Cornelius Comen Ghysen) Cornelius Comegys II P 87 88 Cornelius Comegys - 1704 (Grandson of Cornelius I) P 89 92 Cornelius Comegys - 1798 (Son of William Comegys and Martha Hooper) P 93 Cornelius Comegys - 1801 P 94 Cornelius Milton Comegys - 1802 P 96 97 Daniel C. Comegys P 96 Daniel Randal Comegys P 96 97 Daniel Webster Comegys P 94 David Franklin Comegys - 1837 P 96 97 David Franklin Comegys - 1862 P 98-101 Edith May Comegys P 96 Edna Comegys P 98 Edward Comegys- 1675 P 87 Edward Comegys P 92 Elijah Comegys P 96 Ella Viola Comegys P 96 Elizabeth Comegys - 1662 P 87 88 Elizabeth Comegys -1697 P 89 Elizabeth C. Comegys P 91 Elizabeth Marshall Comegys P 92 93 Elizabeth Rhodes Comegys P 96 99 Elizabeth Tiler Comegys P 89 Elizabeth Vaught Comegys P 96 Erika Comegys P 106 Estella Comegys P 96 Gias Bartus Comegys P 87 Hannah Comegys P 87 88 Hannah Falconer Comegys (Isaac) P 92 93 Harriet Carson Comegys P 98 101-103 Helen Comegys P 98 Henry Comegys - 1725 P 92 Henry Clay Comegys P 94 Hiram M. Comegys P 98 99 Isaac Comegys - 1712 P 89 Jacob Comegys - 1736 P 92 93 Jacob Comegys - 1802 P 94 95 97 99 Jane Seth Comegys P 87 Janice Darolyn Comegys P 86 101-106 Jerry Carson Comegys P 86 102-106 Jessie Comegys - 1863 P 98 Jessie Maud Comegys - 1895 P 98 John Comegys - 1784 P 92 93 John Comegys - 18?? P 96 97 John E. Comegys - 1869 P 96 Joseph Ellis Comegys P 96 97 Kelly Comegys P 106 Levi Comegys P 94 Lotta E. Towne Comegys P 96 Margaret Comegys - 1706 P 89 Martha Hooper Comegys P 92 93 Mary Belle Comegys P 98 99 Mary Elizabeth Sallada Comegys P 96 Mary Harwood Comegys P 87 Mary Kennedy Comegys P 87 Mary Vinett Comegys P 89 Maud Comegys P 98 Milliminty Comegys P 91 Nancy Lowman Comegys P 94 Nancy Comegys - 1844 P 94 Nathaniel Comegys -1671 P 87 Nathaniel Comegys -1699 P 89 Nathaniel Comegys -1825 P 91 Neva Ella Comegys P 101 Odessa Marie Pellman Comegys P 102-106 Olivia Hume Comegys P 94 Presley Comegys P 94 Peter Comegys P 98 99 Presley Marmaduke Comegys P 98 99 Rebecca McIntire Comegys P 94 Rilla Griffith Comegys P 103 105 Samuel Comegys - 1802 P 91 Samuel Comegys - 1836 P 94 Sara Ann Beck Comegys P 96 Sara Elizabeth Comegys P 96 Sara Morgan Comegys P 92 94 95 Sara Rawlings Comegys P 92 94 95 Sophia Blackiston Comegys P 92 William Comegys I -1665 P 87-91 William Comegys II-1695 P 89 91 William Comegys - 1735 (brother of Jacob) P 92 93 William Comegys - 1772 (Son of Jacob & Hannah Falconer) P 92 94 95 William Comegys - 1812 (Son of William and Sara Morgan) P 94 William Henry Comegys - 1832 P 96-101 William Carson Comegys P 101-105 Willimentze (Millimenty) Gysbert Comegys P 87 88 Col. Woodland Comegys P 9 Nancy Comegys Cross (Joseph) P 92 Lynn Davis P 106 Collin Ferguson P 93 Hannah Comegys Freeman P 89 Helen Fern Comegys Hardin (Fletcher) P 98 99 Rev. Tom Hughes P 91 Charlotte Klozeck P 106 Helen Comegys Lee P 91 Sara Ann Comegys McKee (David) P 96 97 Peter Minuit P 87 Demosthenes and Gorvina Newell P 100 Frank Peabody P 89 John and Emma Pellman P 103 104 Louis (Louie) N. Pellman P 103 Wynona (Nonie) Pellman P 103 Carl Stevens Pellman P 103 Jane Comegys Pierce (Milton) P 94 Martha Comegys Piner (Pinder) P 87 Nancy Moler Poeter P 86 Phillip Pratt P 92 Larry Scanlon P 101-103 Neva Ella Comegys Scanlon (Larry) P 101-103 Felix Scott P 95 Sarah Comegys Shriver P 87 Capt. John Smith P 88 Maria Comegys Snyder (John) P 94 Elizabeth Comegys Stewart (William) P 94 Robert and Joane Tiler P 89 Rebecca Comegys Tyler P 87 88 89 Hannah Comegys Warner (William) P 92 Martha Comegys Wierman (William) P 94 Elizabeth Comegys Williams (Hamilton) P 94 Mary Ann Comegys Wilkins P 87
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