Francis Washington Eikenbary, son of Zachariah
Frank Washington Eikenbary
Photo (courtesy Juanita Noonan)
Francis Washington Eikenbary was born in November 1855, in Union County, Indiana. His name is given in the 1870 census as Francis G. W. Eikenbary, and on a grant deed in 1873 as Francis B. W. Eikenbary. The grant deed was from Francis’ uncle, Goerge Washington Honeyman. It seems clear he had three given names and we suspect his full name was Francis George Washington Eikenbary, perhaps named for his uncle, and that the B. W. in the deed was a clerical error.
Francis was known as Frank, and was the third son of Zachariah and Sarah Honeyman Eikenbary (see Eikenbary/Eikenberry link above). His eldest brother was our ancestor George Monroe Eikenbary, and the second son was Alfred Pierce Eikenbary. Francis’ father, Zachariah, died in June 1855, five months before Francis was born, so he never knew a father. His mother and his grandfather, David Honeyman, were joint guardians. In his formative years he lived near numerous Honeyman relatives and had many uncles and cousins as male role models (see Honeyman link above.)
The Move to Illinois
When Francis was nine years old, in the fall of 1864, he went with his mother, brothers, grandparents, and a number of Honeyman relatives by wagon train from Union County, Indiana, to Mercer County, Illinois. The story of the wagon train trip is told in both the Honeyman and the Eikenberry sections linked at the top of the page.
When Francis was seventeen years old, in January 1873, his uncle and aunt, George W. and Caroline Honeyman, conveyed to Sarah J., Alfred P. and Francis B. W. Eikenbary, all interest in the east half of the south half of the northeast quarter of Section 8, in Township 14N, Range 5 West, and the west half of the east 20 acres of the west 42 acres of the fractional west half of the southwest quarter of Section 1 in Township 14N, Range 6 West, in New Boston Township, Mercer County, Illinois. At some time Sarah, Pierce, and Francis also purchased the north half of the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of Section 11, Township Fourteen North, Range 6 West, since they sold it to Jonah Pratt on the 20th of November, 1876. A map of New Boston Township is given in the Mercer County History portion of this web site under Maps. The parcels in range 6 west were along the Mississippi River in the timber and provided fuel and lumber for the settlers. The last deed is interesting as it is signed "X, Sarah J. Eikenberry, her mark", "Pierce Eikenbarry", and "Francis W. Eikenbarry". We did not reproduce the signatures here as they were written by the recording clerk and were not actual signatures.
Alfred Pierce married in December 1875, while George Monroe was gone to Dakota Territory where his son Wilford was born in October 1875. It is likely that, when the above land was sold in November 1876, Sarah and Francis moved to Butler County, Iowa. There had been severe windstorms in Mercer County in 1876 and many buildings were leveled.
The Move to Iowa
Sarah and son Francis are found in Jefferson Township, Butler Co, Iowa in 1880: #47 Francis W. Eikenbary, 24, farmer, In, Oh, In; Sarah J., 52, mother, keeping house, In, Va, Pa. Sarah died in Muscatine County in 1884, so they had returned there by then. By this time he was 28 years old and unmarried.
It is difficult to trace Francis after 1884 as there is no 1890 census. George Monroe’s oldest son, Fred Welch Eikenberry, mentions Frank in a letter dated 1956 to Ross Nichols, son-in-law of Bertha Eikenbary Mayfield. He states: "I remember that uncle Frank E. came to see us once and had been in attendance at the Logansport meeting where 1400 were in attendance and something like 240 ministers, mostly Dunkard or German Baptists but quite a few were Christian Church members." These Logansport meetings were Eikenbarry family reunions as described in the clipping attached. Since the 1905 meeting was the twelfth annual reunion, the meetings started about 1893. Therefore Fred was likely talking about a visit from Frank when the family lived in Missouri. The attendance figure of 1400 mentioned in Fred’s letter is likely overstated since the 1905 meeting had 300 attendants. It is difficult to imagine how Frank knew about such a reunion unless it was advertised in the Midwestern states or he at some time came in contact with some of his Eikenberry "cousins".
Eikenberry Cousins in Butler County, Iowa
It seems quite clear that Francis did know cousins, both from attending the Indiana reunion, and from living in Butler County, and later in Oklahoma, as described below.
We will digress a bit to some information about several Eikenberry families in Butler County, Iowa, in 1880, all related in various ways to Frank. They are located in various townships in Butler County (see map online.) While they lived in various townships, the County Seat would have been a meeting point where they might have run into each other, as well as the Dunker Church, although we feel Frank, Alfred Pierce, and George Monroe were a long time away from connection with the Dunker Church. In fact, George Monroe’s son Fred wrote that when they lived in Butler County, there was an old Dunker Minister there but he did not know if they were related. The old Dunker Minister he referred to was likely John F. Ikenberry, a son of John and Susanna Franz Eikenberry, in turn son of John and Elizabeth Rusch Eichenberg, in turn son of Peter and Fronica Grof Eichenberg and brother to our ancestor Heinrich Eichenberg of Preble County, Ohio. John F. Ikenberry was thus second cousin, once removed of George Monroe Eikenberry and his brother Frank, a fairly close relationship, but one they evidently were not aware of. John F. Ikenberry was in Dayton Township as was his brother Elias Ikenberry. John F.'s sons William H and David Ikenberry were living in Coldwater Township. In addition the Benjamin Eikenberry family was in Coldwater Township - we did not find Benjamin in the census, but his sons Henry H., and Levi were in Coldwater in 1880, the entire family having moved there in about 1855. Benjamin Eikenberry was son of our Heinrich and Mary Landis Eikenberry, and brother of George Monroe and Frank’s grandfather, Samuel Eikenbary. George Monroe and Amanda were in Jefferson Township, Alfred Pierce and his Amanda were in Pittsford Township, and Sarah Jane and Francis were in Jefferson Township in 1880. This is a prime example of the migration patterns in the United States that had families migrating west, losing touch with their families, and eventually not even knowing how they were related. (And of course we have not touched on female Eikenberry family members who were probably there as well with different surnames.)
The Move to Oklahoma
Francis is found again in the 1900 census in Davis Township in Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, just north of Shawnee (see map attached.) Iowa, Sac, Fox and Pottawatamie lands opened for white settlement in that area in 1891 Kickapoo Territory opened in 1895. If Francis participated in either of these land runs, he was unsuccessful in gaining land as he is renting his farm in the 1900 census. Francis's niece, Vida Jane Hays, and his nephew, Oran Alfred Eikenbary, were nearby, also having participated in Oklahoma land runs. In 1900 Vida Jane and family were living in Elk Township, Oklahoma County, just west of Pottawatomie County. Around that time Oran was living in Indian Territory just east of Pottawatomie County, where his daughter was born at El Reno in 1901.
A cousin of Frank’s operated a real estate office in Shawnee and there is a possibility they knew each other, since Frank had attended the Eikenberry reunion in Indiana and they had also both lived in Butler County, Iowa at the same time. The cousin was Aaron Ikenberry, a grandson of Frank’s great uncle, Benjamin Eikenberry, mentioned above under Butler County cousins. Either the land run, or contact with this cousin, or with his niece and nephew, Vida Jane and Oran, seems the likely reason for Frank to be in Pottawatomie County, as no one else he knew is anywhere nearby. His brother, Alfred Pierce, was in Kansas in 1900, and his brother, George Monroe, was in Pawnee County, Oklahoma, some distance from Pottawatomie County.
Settlers in Pottawatomie County had fled from a fantasized Indian raid in 1898 and many did not come back, so there was certainly land available for renting. According to a history of "Pott" County, it was not a pleasant place to live at that time. Besides Indian scares, there were numerous saloons in the County. The saloons attracted outlaws and it was almost impossible to keep livestock (especially horses) in the County for farming. As well as Indian trouble, there was fighting among the settlers over liquor monopoly and saloon locations. Shawnee’s daily liquor consumption in 1906 was estimated at 700 gallons of beer and 25 gallons of whiskey. After statehood’s prohibition closed the saloons in 1907, the County became the center of illegal liquor traffic.
Cotton was the first farm crop around Shawnee and people cut oak and pecan trees to make way for cotton. When cotton depleted the soil, they replanted pecan trees. Frank likely planted corn as a postcard from his nephew Grover, son of George Monroe, in May 1909, to his sister Bertha, indicated that Grover was helping Frank cultivate corn.
Sometime before or during 1909, Francis’s nephew, Frank Washington Eikenbary, son of George Monroe, and his family arrived in Pottawatomie County and stayed with Francis. This is as reported by Frank’s daughter Ruby, although she was born after Frank died. They are found in Davis Township, Pottawatomie County, in 1910: F. W. Ikenberry, 27, married 2 yr, born Ia, parents born Il, farmer; Barbary, 21, 2 children born, 2 living, born Mo, father Ia, mother Mo; David, 1, born Ok; Ruby 2/12 born Ok.
In the postcard written in May 1909 mentioned above, Grover Eikenbary wrote that "Uncle is sick." Whatever his illness at that time, it evidently weakened Francis. He died of typhoid fever on November 5, 1909, after an illness of 34 days. His death certificate is attached. It gives Francis’ age as 44 when he was actually 54. It shows him living 7 miles northeast of Shawnee which is approximately where the 1900 census located him in Davis Township. He was by no means alone and friendless when he died. He was a member of Hagar Lodge 195, International Order of Foresters at Aydelotte, Oklahoma, near his farm. A Resolution of Condolence was written into the I.O.O.F. minutes and published in the Shawnee paper. He was listed as buried in Fairview Cemetery in Shawnee but had no headstone and they had the correct age of 54 in the records. We had a small stone placed on the grave so that Francis would not be forgotten. A copy of the Resolution of Condolence and a photo of the gravestone are attached.
RootsWeb's World Connect Project: Eikenbary
There is also an Eikenbary/Eikenberry, et al, genealogy book in the Union County, Indiana, library and online at http://www.union-county.lib.in.us/GenwebVA4mile/eikenberry.htm. It follows the family of Peter Eikenberry, Jr. who was brother of our ancestor Heinrich Eichenberg (married Mary Landis).
This page was created June 2007.
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