|Page content last modified:||January 10, 2007, added tombstone photos, revised text.
March 14, 2006, amended spelling of the surname from Oaks to Oakes.
December 30, 2005, added complete obituary for Mary Berthena Oakes; several text changes.
August 16, 2004, expanded text, family links, census transcriptions.
McDONOUGH COUNTY, ILLINOIS
|Author - Marcia Farina|
Laban Oakes was born March 01, 1802 (calculated from the tombstone inscription) in Tennessee, died December 1, 1888. Mary Berthena Oakes, maiden name undetermined, was born in North Carolina on January 9, 1796, died December 26, 1883, in Hire Township, McDonough County, at the home of her only surviving child - out of eleven.
January 3, 1884
At the residence of her daughter, Mary A. Nelson, in Hire township, McDonough co., Ill., died on Dec. 26 1883, Mrs. Bethena Oakes, aged 87 yrs., 11 mos., and 14 days. Deceased was born in North Carolina, January 9, 1796. She has been a cripple for the past four years, although her general health has been good until within the past month, she has suffered extreme pain; she bore her sufferings with a christian fortitude, always declaring herself willing to meet her Savior at any time. She with her husband, have resided with her daughter above named for the last four years. She made a profession of religion 60 years ago, and united with the M. E. church; since that time until her death she has lived a faithful christian. The funeral took place from the M. E. church at 2 o'clock. Rev. Car conducting the funeral service, after which the remains were buried in Friendship Cemetery. She leaves a husband and one daughter, ten children having preceded her to the grave.
M. E. Fundenberger
The SOUVENIR and Historical Sketch Of The MAJORVILLE CHURCH compiled by Fay Day circa 1935, contains several references to Mr. and Mrs. Laban "Oaks", one of the young married couples who settled in the 1830s in Hancock County, in what eventually became known as the Majorville neighborhood. They were charter members of Majorville Church, and Laban was named as being instrumental in the founding and construction of the church.
He is also mentioned in an article regarding the founding of the Majorville Cemetery Association, written by E. W. Huston in the early 1920s.
The 1830 census listing, below, may or may not be for the same family group although it seems highly likely; the lack of documentation and the early deaths of so many of the Oakes children makes irrefutable identification problematic. There's also a likely connection between Laban Oakes and Rebecca Oakes Trowell, wife of Charles Washington Parker. Rebecca, whose middle name is found as both Oakes and Oaks (as is Laban's surname), was also born in Tennessee and the Parker and Oakes families were enumerated one after the other in 1850, with but one household between them in 1860. In addition, the name of Charles and Rebecca's sixth son was Laban Oakes (or Oaks) Parker; their second daughter was named Ada Bethena; Mary Berthena's name appears in her obituary and two census years as Bethina. This could indicate a family relationship or perhaps Charles and Rebecca were simply following the custom of naming children after friends or good neighbors.
There is a question regarding the identity of one individual who lived for many years with Laban and Berthena. In 1850 he was named as "Vinson Terrell". Note that the name of James Oaks, who followed "Vinson" in the listing, was written in full, which usually would indicate that his surname was different than the surname on the preceding line.
In 1860 we see Vincen Oakes; in 1870, the name John V. Farrell appears; in 1880 we find Vintcent and Vcnt Oaks. Based on age and description, it seems that these listings were for the same individual.
Perhaps his full name was John Vincent (Terrell or Farrell) Oakes, but our -hunch- is that his name was John Vincent Terrell or John Vincent Farrell and that he was Berthena's son by a previous marriage. (Perhaps the name Vincent is a link to Berthina's family.) To support this, in 1880 he was identified as a brother-in-law to Enos Nelson (husband of Laban and Berthina's daughter, Mary Ann), although we hasten to acknowledge that the term inlaw was used more loosely in that era.
A pitiable fate awaited Laban and Mary Berthena's male children. It seems they were all stricken by the age of 30 with - what? An insidious, genetically borne weakness? It was passed on to Mary Ann Oakes Nelson's male children. John Vincent was also, apparently, afflicted.
Of Berthena Oakes' eleven children, we offer the following:
Household of Laban Oaks
Also on the same census page, line #1
Household of Isaac Oaks
Household of Laban Okes
enumerated September 19, 1850, dwelling #413
[immediately preceding the household of
Charles Washington Parker and wife Rebecca Oakes Trowell]
Laban Oaks, 48, male, farmer, value of real estate 500, born TN
enumerated July 24, 1860, dwelling #3272
[in proximity to Charles Washington Parker and wife Rebecca Oakes Trowell]
Labon Oakes, 58, male, farmer, born TN
enumerated June 25, 1870, dwelling #120
Oaks, Laban, 68, male, white, farmer, value of real estate 2500, value of personal estate 500, born TN, male citizen of the U.S. aged 21 or more
enumerated June 15, 1880, dwelling #221
Nelson, Enos, white, male, 55, married, farmer, could not read or write, born KY, both parents born NC
Both of the following entries are crossed out with the notations, respectively:
Nolan, white, male, 48, brother-in-law, single, at poor house, born IL, father born TN, mother
The entries transcribed below appeared on a census page that was hand numbered 11, which was superceded by the stamped page number placed upon completion of the enumeration of all townships.
enumerated June 22, 1880, dwelling #102 County Poor House
line #38: Oakes, Nolen, white, male, 43, pauper, single, idiotic, could not read or write, born TN, both parents born TN