The Overalls Gang #10 ~ Leonard Monroe Hughes

A lot of time while writing about our ancestors, we focus on those who would be considered successful by current standards. After all, there is usually far more documentation and sources that we can draw from that makes developing the story of their lives much easier. Looking through photos I made a discovery! I have quite a few pictures of my ancestors wearing farmers overalls. The majority of my ancestors spent their whole lives making a home and raising a family on a farm. To them, wearing overalls was a sign of honor, and they were proud of what they did. So to honor these hard-working men I will highlight the life of one of the “overall gang”, including the photo and a brief biography of the legacy they left behind.

This is my paternal Uncle Leonard Monroe Hughes, born April 30, 1913, in Hughesville, Pettis County, Missouri, the 5th of 9 children born to Charley Hughes (1865-1944) and Virginia Belle Hayes (1880-1954). Leonard was raised on the family farm outside of Hughesville. His father not only grew crops, but he also raised and trained champion horses. Life was hectic as more children were added to the family every 2 years. At the age of 9, his family moved to Lexington, Lafayette County Missouri, once again buying a farm and working the land. Leonard Married Cornelia Turis (1908-1969) and they lived with her parents on a small farm outside of Lexington. In 1940 they moved to just inside the city limits where there was still plenty of land to grow their crops. They had 5 children, 3 sons and 2 daughters. Cornelia died in 1969 and soon after that Leonard sold his farm and moved to a home with a large yard in town. He then married Ruth E. Burgy (1917-2010) on May 22, 1971. They spent their years together raising a large variety of vegetables, and planting blackberry bushes and peach trees. Leonard died on September 8, 2003, in Lexington at the age of 90.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

My Ancestors Signature #43 ~ Reuben Coffey

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.

My 4th Great Uncle


Reuben Coffey 1759-1842
From his pension application dated September 21, 1833

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Hometown Tuesday #41 ~ Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri

Moberly lies in a glacial plains area in a county organized in 1829, and named for John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia in Missouri’s Little Dixie Region. It was first settled by William Holman in 1818. William Fort boiled salt at a spring near Huntsville in the 1820s. The Bee Trace, a pioneer trail, ran along the Grand Divide (the high point in The Grand Prairie) between the Missouri and Mississippi through the county. The Iowa, Sac, and Fox tribes gave up claims to the region, 1824.

Moberly, the “Magic City”, grew from the town platted by the North Missouri Railroad (Wabash) in 1866, it was built to connect to a transportation center with a 6,070 population by 1880. The North Missouri acquired the site when it took over the Chariton and Randolph Railroad after the Civil War. In 1860, the C.& R. had planned to build a road westward to Brunswick from this point on the North Missouri then turning north reaching toward Iowa.

The Chariton and Randolph Railroad named its proposed junction for William Moberly, head of the railroad, and offered free land to residents of once nearby town if Allen to settle here. Patrick Lynch, was the only one to accept this offer, and he was given two lots by the North Missouri after the Civil War for holding the site without “the loss of a life or a house.” On September 27, 1866, the first lots were sold for what would become Moberly. Moberly at this time was a very rough railroad town, considered course with too many taverns and brothels. Moberly in only five years had as many murders as the entire county had in its previous 20 years of history. In light of its mud streets and rough and tumble ways, the St. Louis papers regularly ridiculed the town in light of the more attractive, cultured, and older Huntsville. Despite this, Moberly continued to grow.

Moberly had been a division point since 1867 when the North Missouri (Wabash) reached Brunswick. In 1872 many businesses like the huge railroad repair shops, one of the earliest railroad plants west of the Mississippi, were opened. In 1873 the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railroad formed a junction here. Transportation facilities brought industrial growth and the development of the soil, fire clay, and coal resources of the area.

My paternal Great Uncle, Greenbury White was born in Moberly in 1844, the youngest of 4 children of Augustine White (1798-1876) and Margaret McClain (1798-1880). He fought for the Union Army, joining when he was 21 years old. He married Mary Jamison on December 31, 1866, they had 9 children, 5 sons and 4 daughters. He owned his own farm and lived in Moberly his entire life. He died on March 15, 1930, at the age of 86.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

The Ogan Brothers ~ Westward HO!

John Ogan (1776-1837) and Mary “Polly” Douglass (1780-1838) are my paternal 3rd Great Grandparents. John was born in Virginia, and he moved to Silver Creek, Madison County, Kentucky in 1797. Here is where he met and married Mary, and they had 9 children 5 sons and 4 daughters. The family then moved to Midway, Boone County, Missouri in 1816.

Three of my 2nd Great Uncles were renowned hunters of their day in Boone County. James Simeral (born May 12, 1815) had a large score of trophies to his credit due to his steady hand and unerring eye, he was also very serviceable in ridding his township of wolves which made it almost impossible for any of the settlers to raise lambs or pigs, because this area was over run by them. His older brothers Irving Thomas (born October 15 Oct 1804) and John Martin (born 31 January 1812) killed about one hundred of the wolves and by this means gave the herds and flocks in the area the ability to live in safety. They also brought down deer and wild turkeys and frequently carried home the carcass of a bear to replenish the larders of the settlement, while they added to the comfort of their cabins with the pelts. James and Irving, assisted in founding the civil, educational and social institutions of both Boone and Linn Counties.

Another brother, the first-born of the family was named Alexander Marion (born August 16, 1799) who married Sally Austin (1806-1878), while John married Lucy Ann Harris (1810-1877) and James married Elizabeth Berry Harris (1817-1906) the sister of Lucy.

James, Alexander and John decided to make the long and difficult trek out west to California. They were not going to find gold but to find what they had heard to be “a land flowing with milk and honey”. They left Linn County Missouri in the spring of 1852 with their families in “horse drawn wagons”. They had a total of 24 children that accompanied them, with the 25th child, Sierra Nevada, being born while passing through the Sierra Mountains in Nevada.

Once the decision to make the trip was cast, the trials of the journey began. One major difficulty facing those on the California trail was the scourge of cholera, which stalked the trail from 1849 through at least the mid-1850s. Another difficulty was acquiring the pioneer’s typical outfit which usually consisted of one or two small, sturdy farm wagons outfitted with bows and a canvas cover, six to ten head of oxen along with chains and yokes or harnesses to attach them to the wagons. For traveling about 2,000 miles over rough terrain the wagons used were typically as small and as light as would do the job, approximately half the size of the larger Conestoga wagons used for freight. The typical cost of enough food for four people for six months was about $150. The cost of other supplies, livestock, wagons etc. per person could easily double this cost. This was a large expense for the three brothers and their large families. With a total of 31 people, the cost was about $2250 for the trip. Because the wagons swayed and bumped so much, the majority of the travelers walked most of the way. They typically traveled 11 miles per day and it took anywhere from 5 to 6 months to reach their destination. They arrived in San Jose, Santa Clara County, California in the early fall of 1852.

The brothers each bought 160 acres of an old Spanish land grant, and they found that the land was rich and perfect for planting grain. John and Lucy lived in San Jose until their deaths. Lucy died in 1877 at the age of 67, and John died on June 17, 1893, at the age of 81. Alexander and Sally sold their acreage in San Jose and moved to Berryessa, California where Sally died in 1878 at the age of 72, and Alexander died on May 5, 1874, at the age of 74. Last but not least, in 1869 James moved his family from the San Jose area by wagon to Carpinteria, California located just east of Santa Barbara. Elizabeth died in 1906 at the age of 87 and James died on February 4, 1900, at the age of 84.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.