|FOUNTAIN GREEN CEMETERY|
HANCOCK COUNTY, ILLINOIS
KATHERINE MILLER FORDHAM
Apr. 1, 1838
Jan. 26, 1920
|Author - Marcia Farina|
|After half a lifetime of spinsterhood, Kate Miller married Byron Fordham on July 20, 1880. Marriage Documents
Kate joined a ready-made family with three young children and probably thought she'd spend the rest of her life as a wife, stepmother and stepgrandmother. It didn't turn out that way. By 1900 Byron and his children were in Chariton County, Missouri, and Kate was left to the sympathy of relatives and the community. Her listing in the census of that year conveys a sense of loss: she was shown to be the mother of 6 children. Did they divorce? Both she and Byron reported themselves widowed in 1900.
The Gregg biography of Kate's father said she was a milliner, but that occupation was never recorded in census records. In 1910 she was shown to have her own income. Money she earned? Money inherited after Byron Fordham died? At least she was not completely without resources.
Kate was buried at Fountain Green Cemetery near her parents, Thomas Miller and Margaret Meredith, her grandmother, two brothers, one sister, several nieces and a nephew.
Mrs. Kate Miller Fordham entered life eternal January 26, 1920, aged 81 years, 9 months and 25 days.
The memory of this dear, saintly woman will live long in the hearts of her legion of friends in whose affection she holds a sure abiding place. They have noted with sorrow the increasing fraility [sic] which gave token that the life voyage was nearing its close. After a short illness the journey ended and her passing was but the touching of the weather-beaten "keel on the shores of glory."
Among our earliest pioneers were Thomas Miller and Margaret, his wife, who in 1836 left their native dwelling place in southeastern Pennsylvania. Reaching this county after a long and weary overland journey they located upon a farm one mile north of Fountain Green where for many years they lived and labored.
Upon this homestead were carefully reared their four sons and four daughters who became prominently identified in the upbuilding of this community to whose best interests they were devoted. Their honorable upright lives make their names stand today for that which is good and that which is true.
Of this family, the passing of Mrs. Fordham leaves but two remaining. Rebecca died in childhood; Ellen Sibert in 1890; William in 1905; James in 1912 and Robert in 1913. Those who survive are John Miller of Warsaw and Mrs. Wallace W. McCullough of LaHarpe. Beside this brother and sister there are those bound to her by close family ties and a large circle of nieces and nephews to whom she was devotedly attached and who returned in abundant measure the deep affection she lavished upon them.
The subject of this sketch was born April 1, 1838. The greater part of her life has been spent in and near the place of her birth.
She was married to Byron Fordham in 1881, then residing near LaCrosse. Mr. Fordham died some time ago, and the people of Fountain Green claim her as their own. She moved among them many years and has endeared herself to each and all. "Aunt Kate" was everybodys [sic] friend. While especially devoted to the families of her kindred, her affection went out to her old time friends and to the acquaintances of later years--for all of whom she had words of love and praise.
Surely no one was ever harmed in the least degree by this gentle kindly woman who included in her tender ministries the dumb animals who were also the objects of her solicitude and her care.
She lived her loyal helpful life with a heart full of good will for all. A heart at peace with God and man. In the home and social life all who came in contact with Mrs. Fordham were impressed with her honesty of purpose and nobility of soul. She was faithful to her convictions of right and duty and dependable to the last degree--uniformly generous and kind. In all life's varied relations she bore her part, well and worthily.
In 1861 during the pastorate of Rev. T. M. Walker, she with other members of her family, united with the Presbyterian church in Fountain Green where she has ever since been numbered among its most loyal adherents. From the faith thus early expoused [sic] there has been no shadow of turning. Deepening trust and implicit confidence in the One in whom she has believed, have been followed by long years of active earnest service for the Master whose word has been her guide and comfort, which she daily read and studied until the failing vision could no long follow the sacred pages, but with heart and mind well stored with its truths, it still continued her staff and stay. Deprived these later years from attending public service, there was no waning of her interest in the varied activities of the church, all of which received her generous support and earnest prayers.
Mrs. Fordham's large endowment of mental and physical strength was long continued in marked degree. Her constant reading kept her well improved on current events in which she retained and intelligent and unabated interest. In this later years she has been a welcome member in th [sic] homes of her people. Unfailing love and devotion have ministered to her at all tmies [sic]. With the one remaining sister, Mrs. McCullough, she has lately made her home. A perceptible decline was followed by a brief illness from which the best of skill and care could not restore. She was ready for her coronation and passed on to enjoy a rich reward and the glad reunion with many loved ones waiting to welcome her at the gates of the celestial city.
Cora R. Swift
Household of Thomas "Mills"
Males 0 through 4 - 1 [William]
enumerated November 4, 1850, dwelling #1150
Thomas Miller, 55, male, farmer, value of real estate 2526, born PA
enumerated July 26, 1860, dwelling #3414
Thomas Miller, 64, male, farmer, value of real estate 6000, value of personal estate 2000,
enumerated June 7, 1870, dwelling #156
Miller, Thomas, 74, male, white, retired farmer, value of real estate 5000, value of personal estate 4000, born PA, male citizen of the U.S. aged 21 or more
enumerated June 16, 1880, dwelling #129
Seibert, John Jr, white, male, 39, married, farmer, born VA, both parents born Hessen Cassel
numerated June 11, 1900, dwelling #122
Household of William Aherr or Aberr
Fordham, Kate M, boarder, white, female, Apr 1838 ?, 62, widow; mother of [written over multiple times, illegible] children, 6 living; born IL, boarder, could read, write and speak English
enumerated April 18, 1910, dwelling #62
Miller, John, head, male, white, 60, widower, born IL, both parents born PA, spoke English, farmer, truck farm, working on own account, could read and write, owned his farm home free of mortgage, farm schedule 50
Gayle C, daughter, female, white, 19, single, born IL, both parents born IL, spoke English, could read and write, had not attended school after Sept. 1, 1909
Fordham, Kate, sister, female, white, 71, widow, born IL, both parents born PA, spoke English, own income, could read and write
enumerated January 12, 1920, dwelling #181, Center Street
McCulloch, William W, head, owned his home free of mortgage, male, white, 74, married, year of immigration to the U.S. - 18??, naturalized, [no date for naturalization], could read and write, born IL ?; father born Scotland, mother tongue English; mother born England, mother tongue English; spoke English
Anna M, wife, female, white, 65, married, could read and write, born IL, both parents born PA, spoke English
Fordham, Catherine, roomer, female, white, 80, widow, could read and write, born IL, both parents born PA, spoke English