Leo John Block1,2

M, b. 3 November 1919, d. 20 April 2007
Leo John Block
     Leo and LeRoy was born on 3 November 1919 at Reinbeck, Grundy County, Iowa. Leo John Block was the son of Ralph Block and Alma Lage. He married Elizabeth Alice Hinson on 22 August 1945 at Waterloo, Blackhawk County, Iowa. Leo John Block died on 20 April 2007 at Reinbeck, Tama Co., IA, at age 87; Leo John Block

Leo John Block, 87 of Reinbeck, formery of rural Lincoln, Iowa, died Friday, April 20th 2007, at Parkview Manor Nursing Home, in Reinbeck, Iowa, of natural causes. Funeral services will be 1:30 P.M., Tuesday, April 24, 2007, at Union Congregational United Church of Christ, in Reinbeck, Iowa, with Pastor Joel Love officiating. Burial will follow at the Reinbeck Cemetery in Reinbeck, Iowa. Visitation will be Monday, April 23, 2007, from 1:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., with the family present to greet friends from 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., at French Hand Funeral Home in Reinbeck, Iowa. A memorial fund has been established.
He was born November 3, 1919, in Reinbeck, son of Ralph Block and Alma Lage Block. He was raised in Reinbeck and graduated from Reinbeck High School in 1937. Leo began farming with his father after graduation. On August 22, 1945 he married Elizabeth Hinson of Reinbeck. In 1947 Leo and Liz moved to a farm near Lincoln where they lived for 57 years. After Leo suffered a stroke in 2004 they moved to Reinbeck. Leo was a resident of the Parkview Manor Nursing home until his death.
Surviving Leo is his wife Elizabeth of Reinbeck, daughter Joyce and husband Tracy Crocker of Plymouth, MN, son Kent and wife Shelly Block of Cedar Falls, Grandson Jurgen and wife Sarah Block, and two very special Great grandchildren, Elle Catherine and Ryder Leo Block, of Grundy Center, IA. Also surviving is his twin brother LeRoy and his wife Alberta Block of Reinbeck, IA., and nieces, nephews and cousins.
Preceding Leo in death were his parents, Ralph and Alma Block, sisters Esther and Clara Block Dieleman.

Citations

  1. [S254] Block, Ralph, Obituary.
  2. [S256] Lage, Alma, Obituary.

Elizabeth Alice Hinson

F, b. 22 March 1926, d. 1 November 2008
Elizabeth [Hinson] Block
1995
     Elizabeth was born on 22 March 1926 at Reinbeck, Grundy County, Iowa. She was the daughter of Leland Delmar Hinson and Dala Staker. She married Leo John Block on 22 August 1945 at Waterloo, Blackhawk County, Iowa. Elizabeth Alice Hinson died on 1 November 2008 at Parkview Manor, Reinbeck, Grundy Co., IA, at age 82; Elizabeth A. Block

Elizabeth Alice Block, 82, of Reinbeck, Iowa, formerly of rural Lincoln, Iowa, died Saturday, November 1, 2008, at Parkview Manor Nursing Home in Reinbeck, while under the care of Cedar Valley Hospice. Funeral services will be 1:30 P.M., Wednesday, November 5, 2008, at the Union Congregational United Church of Christ in Reinbeck, with Reverend Joel Love officiating. Burial will follow at the Reinbeck Cemetery in Reinbeck. Visitation will be Tuesday, November 4, 2008, from 1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M., with the family present to greet friends from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M., at French Hand Funeral Home in Reinbeck. A memorial fund has been established.
Elizabeth Alice (Hinson) Block was born March 22, 1926, in rural Reinbeck, Grundy County, Iowa, the daughter of Dala (Staker) Hulme and Leland Hinson. Elizabeth was raised by Lillian and Julius Staker on their farm in the Amity Church area. She attended rural country school in Tama County. On August 22, 1945, Elizabeth was united in marriage to Leo J. Block. In 1947 Liz and Leo moved to a farm near Lincoln where they lived for fifty-seven years. In 2004 Liz moved to Reinbeck and lived at the Four Seasons Apartments. Her husband Leo died on April 20, 2007, and she continued to live at the apartment until becoming ill this September. Liz then moved to Parkview Manor in Reinbeck where she died on November 1, 2008.
Liz loved living on the farm, growing and tending her flowers and was a fabulous cook. Her grandson and great-grandchildren were the center of her life. Liz’s childhood was full with having six uncles (Fred, Roy, Irwin, Harold, Alvin, and Louis) four aunts, (Mable, Edna, Elma and Alice) and her cousin Roma Jean. There were numerous stories of dances and parties held in the family barn with live bands performing and of rearranging the furniture in the house for a party. Her future husband was a neighbor boy who worked for her grandfather occasionally and was a friend of the family. Leo Block and Liz married in 1945. In 1947 they moved to a farm by Lincoln, Iowa, where they lived for 57 years, then moving to Reinbeck, Iowa. In 2007 Leo passed away and Liz continued living in Reinbeck until moving to Parkview Manor Nursing home where she lived for one month before dying of cancer.
She is survived by her daughter, Joyce and her husband Tracy Crocker of Plymouth, Minnesota; her son, Kent and his wife Shelly Block of Cedar Falls, Iowa; her grandson, Jurgen and his wife Sarah Block, and two very special great-grandchildren, Elle Catherine and Ryder Leo Block of Grundy Center, Iowa; one brother, Willard “Willie” Hulme of Waterloo, Iowa; two aunts, Alice Lorenz and Ella Staker, both of Reinbeck; one brother-in-law, LeRoy Block and his wife Alberta of Reinbeck; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her husband Leo J. Block; grandparents, Lillian and Julius Staker; her parents, Dala Hulme and Leland Hinson; her step-father, Wilmer Hulme; one brother, Louis Hulme; one sister, Gleva Kreman; a special cousin, Roma Jean Mooty; and many aunts and uncles.

Gleva Lois Hulme

F
     Gleva was born at Reinbeck, Grundy County, Iowa. She was the daughter of Wilmer Hulme and Dala Staker. Gleva died at Crawford, Dawes, Nebraska.

David Merrill Lyon

M, b. 5 February 1929
     David was born on 5 February 1929. He was the son of Harold Lyon and Kathryn Wilson.

Samuel Alvi Megonigle1

M
      Samuel Alvi Megonigle was born 12 August 1897. He attended country school, then went tohigh school at Independence, sometimes walking the six miles, but in the winter would board in town and take the train home weekends. as far as Doris, which was very near the family farm. He was a member of the Eradelphians, a Literary Society, while a Junior and Senior and took part in debates.

      After graduating on 1 June 1916, with the largest class in the history of the school (50), he worked out on farms. At Dewey Copelands one day, he met a redhaired girl from Independence. Golda Bernice Hamilton, born 30 April 1902, the daughter of Guy and Minnie [Guernsey] Hamilton. She was about the same age as the twins, so would come to the farm and stay with them. The had lots of fun, but Lena remembers one time when Leta and Golda chased her all over, throwing rotten eggs at her.

      World War I started and in 1918 Alvi wa called up. The group of men he was with went to the Depot, got on the train, and sat down. They were told to get off and wait.....and ten to get on again. Finally they were told to get off and go home, the war was over. He wasn't a bit disappointed.

      On 25 October 1919, Golda and Alvi were married at Waterloo, Iowa. Iona [Megonigle] Copenhaver tells us; "They left on the train that night for a wedding trip to Oaklahoma to see dad's uncle Alvi. I can't remember how or why Dad got a job working in the oil fields, but he did and they stayed in Oaklahoma. The weather was very hot and windy and Mom said you would stick to the varnish on the chairs. She was very homesick. The oil wells were booming at this time. During one period he walked the pipe lines at night, and Mom told about him being covered with oil when the gushers came in. Jack was born there and then, sometime after I was born, the folks moved to a new oil field and we spent the summer in a tent. Dad worked nights and Mom would have to go out and tighten the tent ropes when the wind came up.

      When I was about two, the folks moved back to Iowa. Mom alwasy told me that Dad would have liked to stay in Oaklahoma and get his own rig and drill oil wells, but she talked him into returning. We moved to a farm south of Rowley, stayed one year, then moved to a farm near Coggon where Jack and I went upstairs and shut the door in a room without a door knob. We screamed and cried and were about to jump out the window when Mom rescued us. I still remember the panic I felt, even though she said we weren't in there long. Dad stored the seed corn ears in one room. Then we would sit in the kitchen with a big bushel basket and shell corn by hand. There was a small creek that ran through the farm and Dad would take the old high wheeled wagon down to soak the wheels so the iron rims wouldn't fall off. We had a Model T car with side curtains".

      In 1927, Alvi and his family moved to the home farm where three more children were born; Betty, Mary Jo and Keith. Keith remembers a story Dad told him many times about the first tractor they ever had. He and Grandpa saw it at the County Fair and Grandpa said, if Dad was ever going to be a good farmer, he had to keep up with the times, so they went to the dealer and bought the Case tractor. It had rubber tires, which were a new thing and considered not reliable, so steel lugs were substituted. After it arrived at the farm Dad took it to the field and went around once, then as he was approaching the end where the land slanted toward the creek, he looked back and saw Grandpa watching from the edge of the field. He panicked, slammed on the brakes, skidded sideways down the slope, and ended up with barbed wires wrapped around the tractor. Grandpa just shook his head and went on home.

      On 1 March 1937, Golda and Alvi moved to the farm near Jesup. We younger children stayed with our grandparents (Minnie and Carl McNabb) in town and slept on chairs put together for a night or so. Golda died of cancer on 25 August of that year [1937]. Her main concern that summer was of leaving Alvi with so many young children to care for. There were housekeepers for 2 to 3 years, then Iona managed the household until her marriage and, at the age of 12, I took over. How Dad ever survived I'll never know....his shirts were schorched (we had no elecricity or phone) by the heavy irons I wasn't too good at using, and his meals had no variety, just fried potatoes and eggs every night. Perhaps World War II saved him, as Iona's husband went to the service and she came home to stay part of the time. Since all the young men were in the armed forces and there were no boys old enough to help in the fields, I was elected to drive the tractor. Dad got on the fender of the old Case to teachme to drive and somehow it headed straight for the apple tree. It was a good thing he was an agile man, as he just missed being scraped off on our way by.

      On 29 April 1948, Alvi married Doris Kerr and they had one son, Bill. About 1954, they moved to the Megonigle home farm, which Alvi had bought, renting the farm near Jesup to his son Keith.
     
      Alvi died on 3 November 1975, at the age of 78 years and was buried at the Winthrop cemetery.
Samuel was born. He was the son of Samuel Shepard Megonigle and Jemina [Mina] McBride. He married Golda Bernice Hamilton on 25 October 1919 at Waterloo, Blackhawk County, Iowa. He married Doris Kerr on 29 April 1948. Samuel died.

Children of Samuel Alvi Megonigle and Golda Bernice Hamilton

Child of Samuel Alvi Megonigle and Doris Kerr

Citations

  1. [S257] Megonigle, Megonigle, Betty A.

Golda Bernice Hamilton1

F
     Golda was born. She was the daughter of Guy Hamilton and Minnie Guernsey. She married Samuel Alvi Megonigle on 25 October 1919 at Waterloo, Blackhawk County, Iowa. Golda died.

Children of Golda Bernice Hamilton and Samuel Alvi Megonigle

Citations

  1. [S257] Megonigle, Megonigle, Betty A.

Harold Lyon

M
     Harold Lyon was the son of Jesse Lyon and Mary Neil.

Child of Harold Lyon and Kathryn Wilson

Kathryn Wilson

F
     Kathryn Wilson was the daughter of Andrew Wilson and Lucy Merrill.

Child of Kathryn Wilson and Harold Lyon

Andrew Wilson

M

Child of Andrew Wilson and Lucy Merrill

Lucy Merrill

F

Child of Lucy Merrill and Andrew Wilson

Jesse Lyon

M

Child of Jesse Lyon and Mary Neil

Mary Neil

F

Child of Mary Neil and Jesse Lyon

Guy Hamilton

M

Child of Guy Hamilton and Minnie Guernsey

Minnie Guernsey

F

Child of Minnie Guernsey and Guy Hamilton

Samuel Shepard Megonigle1

M, b. 31 March 1850
     Samuel shepard Megonigle was born 31 March 1850 in Washingtownship and, at the age of 3 years, moved to Byron Township to the fram on Pine Creek. At this time, the house that was bilt by his father was accessible only by a trail thrugh the timber.

      He attended country school until he was 18 and, as evidenced by his letter to his brother, Alvi, enjoyed it. His handwritting was beautiful but he evidently didn't believe in "periods".
Sam was about 5 ft 11 inces tall, had black hair which turned white early , with very blue eyes.

      Sam stayed on the home farm with his mother after his father died in 1867 and remained a bachelor for many years. In 1885 he and J.P. Ferguson went by train to New Orleans for a visit, and that year he was chosen Vice President from Byron Township at the Old Settlers Reunion. On 22 December 1886, the Winthrop News stated, "There was a party at Sam Megonigles Friday night. I understand they had a good time". During 1887 there were several dances held at his place. Perhaps a certain young lady attended some of these, for on 11 January 1888, at the age of nearly 38, he married Jemina McBride.

      She was just half his age, being born 30 Novermber 1869, at Monroe, Wisconsin a daughter of David and Mary [Spece] McBride. "Mina" came to Iowa at age 2 years and was orphaned at 10. She was a small woman [only about 4ft. 11inches] with a genle, calm disposition, which was probably an asset during the years she and Sam had 13 Children and raised 11 [the first and last child died as infants].

      Mary Megonigle died the winter of 1896 on a Sunday morning. Mina's cousin, Vivian Catt Krueger, who was 3 at the time, remembers of Sam coming to their farm home to tell the family of his mother's death. Vivian's sister had announced that very morning (while the two girls were playing at being "Mina and Sam" one crouching down in the rocking chair they were both sitting in, being "Mina") right out of the blue, "Grandma Megonigle is dead", and so, as it turned out, she was.

      Elvira Downs Nicosia says the Megonigles had the first player piano she ever saw. They kept it in the room that was shut off except for company. She also remembers what was called "the meeting place", an area in the hickory grove where the squirrels gathered every evening in nice weather, exactly as if they had come to a meeting. Mina cooked in the shed in the summer, as it was much cooler in those days with no air conditioning and wood stoves. They still held square dances in their large barn and had company often.

      There was a lot of work to keep both boys and girls busy. When they had to hoe weeds barefoot on hot days, they ran to the creek whenever possible, as it was close to ost of the fields. The hogs were left to grow large and then herded to Winthrop to sell. As the children grew older, there were cousins and friends staying overnight. Odessia Nibeck Young would sometimes come home for the weekend with Madge. She says, "Aunt Mina never minded how many were there...she'd just put another potato in". This wasprobably true of most mothers with large families to cook for.

      The year after Maybelle was married, Mina died of Cancer on 26 December 1920, at the age of 51. Despite an operation at Dubuque and treatments at Savannah, Missouri, her condition had worsened and she passed away at her son Clay's home.

      Iona Megonigle Copenhaver writes the following: : We moved to Grandpa's farm the year I was five [1927]. The boys and Grandpa had been batching it, so the house was neglected. Mom said she had to scrape off the specks on the windows with a razor blade. There was on old "Delco plant" still in the basement and the electric light wires still hung from the ceiling so I used to go around punching the buttons and dreaming what it would be like to have "light".

      Grandpa always walked up after the mail, the road past our house was just two small tracks with grass between, and the bushes and trees rubbed on the car as you went by, so the mailbox was up about half a mile on the corner. Even if we got the mail, we alwys gave it to Grandpa first, as he paid for it. I would stand beside his chair until he finally got tired of my breathing on him and gave me part of it. He always read nearly everything.

      Grandpa never did have to wear glasses when I remember him and he even had his own eeth, crowned with gold, but still his own. He had white hair with a hint of a curl [he puts a little water on it when he combed it] and a mustache. He had to wipe it off after he drank his tea, which he had every night for supper, very hot, even in the hot summer time, and then he would smoke a cigar after supper [ a pipe the rest of the time] and give us the paper ring for our fingers. Grandpa was always in good health when wwe lived there. He always sat in the dining room by the north window and right by the wood stove, and would spit into the pail of ashes. He had his very own hoe which he kept sharpened up and he would cut thistles while on his walks. None of us dared touch grandpa's hoe. He neverfailed to take his exercise, swinging his arms around and around and, kid fashion, we would try to catch him at it. He always walked at a good swift pace (he had long legs) and would godown to the "Crick" to take a bath in the summer time.

      Grandpa was very deaf, he would cup his hand around his ear and we would yell into it. No one held a very long conversation with him. He very seldon went ot town with us (which wasn't often) but when he did, he'd buy a bag of peanut butter kisses and share them. He would sometimes give us a piece of his candy (presents from his children) but usually so old by the time he got around to offering it that Mom was afraid it woud be wormy, so that sort of took the joy out of it.
     
      Grandpa always wore blue bib overalls, seldom dressing up, and I'm sure his good pants and coat were many years old. He owned 640 acres in Texas and received the Stanton, Texas paper, which he seemed to read from front to back. he rented out the land so I suppose he wanted to keep up on the local news. (The land was sold after his death)

      Bedbugs were a constant battle, and Grandpa's room (because) he had many old colothes, etc.....and wouldn't throw out his mattress) was the hardest fight of all. The ends of the iron railings on the bed had to be held in thefire, or in boiling wateror kerosene. Mom would put kerosene on the seams of his pillows and mattress periodically, and I always wonderedwhy the smell didn't bother Grandpa, but he never seemed to mind it.
     
      The train tracks ran through some of Grandpa's land and during the drought years in the 30's, sparks from the train engine would set the frass on fire and Mom and Dad would have to take wet gunny sacks to put it out. We would pick wild flowers to put in fruit jars at home, and there were many berries and nuts in the woods. winter apples wrapped in newspaper for the winter and many quarts of vegetables were canned. When the depression came, Mom always told us how well off we were because we had lots to eat anyway.

      In 1937 we moved to our own farm near Jesup, but I knew I would always miss the woods and Pine Creek and the train whistling in the night".

      Sam's daughter and son-in-law, Madge and Carl Rathbun, moved to the home farm in 1937. Iona Rathbun Fernald remembers her Grandfather and his remedy for a large wart on her knee. He first pulled a hair from a horse's tail and tied around it, and then, when that didn't work, put milkweed on it. It finally went away by itself. She says when ever she swept the floor and he was sitting in his rocking chair and be asked to move, he'd say, "don't sweep there", and then whenshe put the broom away, he'd get up, move his chair, and say, "You missed this". They had a gander that was very mean and always took out after Sam. One day he came in the house and said "Old Pup" (the family dog) had saved his life when the gander attacked him, by chasing it away.

      In September of 1939, a family reunion at the park was held with 60 descendants and relatives attending. The next year, Sam's 90th birthday, was celebrated with a party at the farm. He was the oldest native born resident of Buchanan Co. The paper states, "There was a fine family dinner. Everyone wanted to do something for "Grandpa"and probably his cup of happiness would have boiled over if he could have heard all that was being said and going on."

      My father took my younger sister and I to see Grandpa during his last illness. He was in bed in his bedroom downstairs off the parlor and there were several people sitting there waiting to go in and see him. We were frightened and didn't know what to say, but he asked, "Do you remember the grasshoppers?" and we nodded, for certainly we did. One fall afternoon in 1936, while returning home across the fields from country school (I was 7 and my sister 5), we were attacked by grasshoppers...or at least we thought we were...and all we could do was cover our eyes and scream while they stuck to our skin and clothes. It seemed like hours before Grandpa arrived and rescued us. His hearing was so poor, I don't know how he could have heard even the screaming from so far away, but, nevertheless, there he came, and two little girls were never so gladto see anyone in their lives. We never forgot the incident and, it seems, neither did Grandpa!

      On 25 June 1941, Samuel died at his home, aged 91 years, and was buried beside Mina at Wilson Cemetery. Samuel was born on 31 March 1850 at Washington Township, Iowa. He was the son of Hamilton Megonigle and Mary Barklay Roop. He married Jemina [Mina] McBride on 11 January 1888. Samuel died.

Children of Samuel Shepard Megonigle and Jemina [Mina] McBride

Citations

  1. [S257] Megonigle, Megonigle, Betty A.

Jemina [Mina] McBride

F, b. 23 September 1899
     Jemina was born at Monroe, Wisconsin. She was the daughter of David McBride and Mary Spece. She married Samuel Shepard Megonigle on 11 January 1888. Jemina and Barton was born on 23 September 1899.

Children of Jemina [Mina] McBride and Samuel Shepard Megonigle

David McBride

M

Child of David McBride and Mary Spece

Mary Spece

F

Child of Mary Spece and David McBride

Hamilton Megonigle1

M, d. 24 April 1867
      Hamilton Megonigle and Mary Barklay Roop were married in Juniata County, Pennsylvania in 1831. At this time Hamilton was 24 years old, and probably living with his father, John Megonigle, his mother, three younger brothers and two younger sisters. He was a shoemaker by trade. That same year his younger brother, Bartimeus, married mary Catherine McDonald, also in Juniata County.

      Tuscaror Township, where the Megonigles lived, was in Mifflin County until 2 March 1831, when the county was divided and the southern half named Juniata County. Al McGonigle, his wife and three children, all under five years old, lived in Turbett Township, which also was in the southern half. John and wife and Al were all between fifty and sixty years old, but Al's wife was younger, between thirty and forty.

      The first child born to Hmilton and Mary was Bartimeus, born 22 December 1832. In those early times, children, especially boys, were named after close relatives, many times as many as four or five first cousins would all have the same name.

      The next spring, 1833, Hamilton's family started west in search of cheaper land where they culd start farming. They settled in Miami County, Ohio. Three girls Armina, Veronica and Louisa, were during the six years here. The summer of 1838 (the year Iowa became a territory) was very dry, with long stifling weeks of drought, andthere was much sickness. Perhaps this wsthe reason for the move further west that next spring. Bartimeus and Catherine, with their two children, Charles and Jane, came from Pennsylvania to join them in the long journey to Iowa. The mode of travel was of curse the prairie schooner, making from fifteen to forty miles per day, depending on terrain and weather. The fording of the Mississippi River was quite an undertaking, and was still remembered by Veronica years later.

      On 4 July 1839, the two families arrived in Linn County, Iowa, stopping, as most of the very early people did, at the edge of the woods. The section of the grove where they made their home projected out on the prairie in a point-like fashion...so from the beginning the frove was known as "McGonigle's Point". The site soon became a busy place as other pioneers came to the area and made it their headquarters. Alva Megonigle was born in 1840 and Calmanda in 1841.

      Mary and Catherine couldn't have had many idle moments. They had to help outside, as well as in, as the children were all too young to do the heavist labor. At first, fur from deer was carded and spun for much of the clothing and shoes were fashioned from the skin of thehind legs of the deer and stuffed with deer hair to keep the feet dry. Later flax was grown and spun into clothing and blankets, and whensheep became available, the wool was washed, spun, wound, knitted and woven into cloth. Most of the wool yarn was dyed brown with the liquid made from the bark of walnut or butternut trees. Flax could be dyed several colors, red from sumac berrries, purple from oak or maple bark, yellow from peach or hickory bark, or gray from cedar berries.

      Candles were made by moulding beeswax and vension tallow. There was soapmaking and preserving to be done, besides the every day cooking.

      The men cleared the land, plowed and planted, hunted for meat, and made much of the furniture and utensils. Bartimeus was probably old enough to use the ax and the fifle, as boys learned early how to hunt and trap, and there was always firewood needed. The younger children gathered plants and herbs for drying. These were used as flavorings and for cooking and medicine.

      Corn was the main food, used nearly every meal, as mush, pone, johnny-cake, hoecake or cornbread. Wild gave was plentiful, prairie chicken, woodcock, partiridge, snipe, quail, wild goose, wild turkey, swan, pelican and ducks. There were many fur animals...otter, beaver, mink, raccoon, muskrat, wolf, fox badger, also wildcats and , occasionally, a panther. The men hunted deer and bear, andthere were buffalo and elk on the prairie. Honey was used for sweetening and put up in barrels fro the winter. Fish were abundant and so large that, tied together by the gills and thrown across a small horse, their caudal fins touched he ground on each side...some weighed twenty four pounds.

      The young children had to be watched carefully, as it was said that, "to venture two iles out on the prairie was about as dangerous asto venture to sea without a compass". There were Indian trails crossing the prairie from stream to stream, leading to fording places, and paths up and down the river, and to every bubbling spring.

      Bartimeus was a Judge at Michael Green's house (an election precinct) in 1841 and was one of the first Linn County commissioners during 1842-2. He had a great interest in politics, later making a try for the legislature.

      The spring of 1842 was an extremely early one, there was grass two feet high in the lowlands, but the summer was dry and there was a frost every month that year. The potatoes were nearly killed and, on the tenty of September, the frost killed the corn, which was very poor due to dryness. John Hamilton Megonigle was born that year and during the terrible winter of 1843, Nancy Jane was born. That winter was the worst ever known in this region. Terrible snowstorms raged and the snow was four feet deep in the timber. Most of the people lived on venison, boiled corn and honey. Some cabins drifted completely full and were buried. The severe weather lasted into spring and men were still crossing the river with ox teams on the first of April. The ice didn't go out until last of April. In June the rivers were the highest the oldest Indians had ever seen and the summer was cold and wet.

      Mail to McGonigle's Point came by way of horseback from Marion, Iowa. The people had so little money that, often, relatives and friends from the east prepaid the letters...which were valued highly by the whole family.

      During the middle and late 1840's many farmers from surrounding counties came to McGonigle's Point for their supply of corn. (The Buchanan County history says "this was the "Egypt" of the early settlers"). Evidently it got too crowded for Hamilton and Bartimeus, because they both decided to move on, Hamilton to
Buchanan County in 1846 and Bartimeus to Clayton County in the spring of 1847. Isabelle and William were new members of the Megonigle families, both born before the departure.

      Mary and Hamilton now had seven living children, one little girl having died as an infant, so there were more possessions to get together this time. They came to Liberty Township (History of Buchanan
County states that Henry Baker, the first pemanent settler in Byron Township from 1844-46, had as a neighbor, Hamilton McGonigle, "who had settled suth of him in Liberty Township, som three or four miles away") living in several locations, one of which was where Wilson Cemetery now lies. Since Hamilton didn't have papers filed on this land, he was forced to leave it and the new owner took possession.

      Quasqueton was the "Metropolas" of the County at this time, having had a store, flouring mill, saw mill, grist mill and tavern by 1844. It was called "Trenton" until 1847, when it was laid out in lots and a handful of white families living in Buchanan County in 1846, by 1849, according to the History of Buchanan County., there was Clark, Newton, Melrose and Walker up the river near where Littleton is now, Minton, Barr, Ross and Hathaway were on the creek five miles North of Indepndence, Greeleys, Bunce, Kint and Suggicool still further north in Hazleton Towship, Jewell, Richardson and Messenger at Buffalo Grove, and Obenchain, Hickox, Hathaway, Boone, Sufficool, McKinney and Megonigle located around the edge of the timber north and east of Independence. In the sring of 1850, only Dr. Brewer and Thomas Close lived in the town of Independence.

      Seymour P. Stoughton came to Independence in the spring of 1847 from Wisconsin, built a dam and saw-mill and became the first postmaster in 1847, but in 1850, after "holding more than two years the office which brough him more fame than money, and not enough of either to boast of", he resigned andleft for the gold rush in California (he returned in 1851, stayed a few years, then, ill with lung fever, went south and died there a short time later).

      By fall of 1847, there was "law and order" in the county, Thomas E. McKinney being appointed Justice of the Peace, in and for the centre precinct of the county. Punishment was usually by whiping, but "hanging" for murder was allowable by law in Iowa Territory. The men may have taken turns dealing out punishment, as Leora Nibeck remembers her mother telling of (when a little girl) watching Hamilton ride away on his horse, carrying his long black-snake whip. The family knew he had to "administer justice", but Delilah didn't recall (or perhaps they didn't know) where this was done. A traveling circuit judge stopped in the towns on occasion.

      Wheat was being planted in the fields by 1847 and, for serveral years, did well. There were gardens, with squashes, pumpkins, potatoes and cabbage. The women cooked the vegetables with different meats in a big iron pot, then added dumplings and called it "potpie", and served it at houseraisings and corn-huskings. The iorn kettles brought from the East had to be well cared for, as iron was not available in the west for many years. The utensil most often used was the "spider", which was like a skillet, but had legs and a very long handle and could be set right over the fire. The cover had an iron rim, so that hot coals could be set on the top of the lid, as well as under the spider.

      It was said that early pioneers hardly got a roof on their cabins before they began to think of schools. By 1850, there were three, all log cabins, in the county, at Quasqueton, Pine Creek and one near the John Boone place in Washington Township. The children attended when weather and work permitted.

      Samuel Shepard Megonigle was born in the spring of 1850, the last of the children of Hamilton and Mary. John Rasmus was now two years old, and Mary 43. Many children were welcome, as the work on the farm was very hard and took many hands and hours.

      The nearest trading post, a small one, was at Dubuque. Produce, such as hogs which were slaughtered at home, was hauled by ox team to Dubuque, where it was traded for flour and corn meal to last through the winter months.

      On their trips to the trading post, they had to take spades along. There were no roads, no bridges, no land marks of any description. When they came to a stream, they would shovel the banks down so they could go down one side and up the other. Around trip took a full week.

      After the land was cleared of trees, (a back breaking job), some of the trees were taken to the saw mills to make boards, planks, etc... Shingles were cut out of solid blocks of oak, then split and pointed with a broadax. Thousands of rails had to be split for fences. Wooden sleds and ox yokes had to be made.

      To plant corn, the field was marked off with a home-made marker made of heavy plank. At each intersection the children dropped in three or four kernels of corn. The adults followed with hoes to cover these up. Then came plowing time with a double shovel plow drawn by one horse and someone had to follow with hoes to uncover the corn which got covered with dirt. This was done day after day, until the corn grew large enough to make it unnecessary.

      When they made hay, they mowed the grass with a scythe and, when it was dry, each took a homemade rake, set it upon a swath of hay and pulled as far ahead as they could, repeating this until there were large piles. Someone followed with the iteam and rack, and the older children would throw the bunches of hay on it.

      Oats and wheat were cut with a cradle which held just enough grain for one bundle. These were then bound, gathered and piled up so they wouldn't take so long to shock.

      Corn husking went on for weeks in the fall, and in winter there were many tasks to be done. Grain had to be threshed with a flail. Two rows of grain bundles, heads together, were laid on the barn floor; then someone would have to swing the flail for many hours to get the rain all out. The straw was then carried to the cattle and horses. Next the grain was put through the fanning mill to fan the chaff out. This was turned by a crank.

      The children drove the cattle to the creek every day in winter, cut holes in the ice (often more than a foot thick), and stayed until they drank, then drove them home again.

      Until the railroads crossed Buchanan County in 1859, farmers often sold all the surplus raised, at their own dorrs, to newcomers and those moving further West.

      The first transaction of land recorded for Hamilton and Mary was 13 November 1851, when they bought forty acres from the "School Fund Commission" for $50.00 plus 10% interest, payable each January first for five years; or until the full amount was paid. Mary had to acknowledge in a separate statement that she realized she was forfeiting her "dower" in these early tranactions. This land was in Section 16 of Liberty Township. This was the year the State Road was surveyed from Independence to Cedar Falls and stakes laid out.

      In 1852, Hamilton sold land in Section 16 for $200.00. Two days before selling it, he bought 80 acres in Section 8 in Liberty Township for $100.00, then borrowed against it that same week, $50.00 at 10% interest against forty acres.

      One year later, in November of 1853 that land was first bought and recorded in Byron Township by Armina Megonigle; eighty acres of the north half of the North East quarter of Section 33 for $127.13, site of the home farm. In November of 1854, Armina bought for $146.35, the south half of the South East quarter of Section 28 (80 acres) in Byron Township.

      The family must have moved to the eighty acres on Pine Creek, in the midst of the timber, in the winter of 1854, then bought eighty acres more that to add to the farm. It's been told that, when the family first moved to that area, there was only a path through the woods to their house, which was built south of the present one, down near Pierce's graveyard in the Southeast corner. There was plenty of wood and water available; the main condition for a home site.

      The family nearest them on Pine Creek was Thomas and Mary McKinney and their five children, Charles W., Stewart, Acsah, William, and Mary. They had come West from New Jersey, where Thomas, Mary and the three oldest children had been born, William being born in Ohio. The two families became very good friends, and William and Alvi remained like brothers for many years.

      Mary bought another eighty acres in Section 29, back in Liberty Township for $100.00 that spring. Three years later Hamilton borrowed $200.00 against it, but he must have been satisfied with his home on Pine Creek, for he bought no more land after this time.

      His brother, Bartimeus, probably came to say "Goodby" in 1853, as that was the year he left for California, many were going to look for gold. Charles was seventeen years old and able to look after his mother and the younger children on the farm near Monona, Iowa.

      Most of the early settlers were very religious people and the Megonigle's were no exception, for on 7 April 1853, a church of God commonly called the "Winebrennarian Church", was organized at Hamilton's home in Liberty Township, just before they moved to Byron Township, with five members present. For quite some time, the services were held in private homes or in the log schoolhouse, with Hamilton doing at least part of the preaching. Then in 1855 a church was built in the southwest part of Byron Township and called the "Bethel". The first minister was Reverend David Gill.

      A tank of water was used for immersion during Baptism in the winter, and in the summertime, the waters of Pine Creek served the same purpose.

      The Bethel Church was built on ground that had formerly been a graveyard. The bodies had been moved to Wilson Cemetery because of too much water in the ground, all except one body, that of an Indain woman which was said to have been left there.

      This church played a very large part in the social and religiouslives of the Megonigle and Miller families. Most were members from the beginning and their children, and their children's attended church and Sunday School there for many years.

      1855 was also the year that the first stage coaches were run from Dubuque to Independence and the first newspaper was published, the Independence Civilian. The next year brought a land boom, there were 952 families in Buchanan County, and the year after that it collapsed, and almost every business failed. The Village of Winthrop was laid out in 1857. On Sunday, at sunrise, January 12, the temperature stood at 40 degrees below zero, the coldest day ever known in Iowa.

      The Buchanan County History states that the first marriage in Byron Township was that of Lousa Megonigle and Robert R. Copeland in 1856. However, the Copeland family Bible record shows their marriage as having taken place on 3 October 1858. Bartimeus was married to Mary Morehouse in 1856, but not in Byron Township.

      The farmers had a bad year in 1858. Oats and corn were blighted and the yield so low that the price went from 30¢ per bushel to $1.00. This certainly didn't discourage the young people. The following winter Armina married Sam Miller and that fall there was another wedding, that of Jane to Ben Miller.

      The winter of 1861 set another record, the worst continuous storm period ever known. On 15 January, there began a series of storms. Snow fell that night to a depth of 18 to 24 inches on the level, with fierce winds. Frequent snowfalls and almost constantly prevailing north and northwest winds shut down everything, even the railroad, for days at a time. There were only two trains arriving in Independence between 15 January and 1 March. There were many wolves and they often so bold as to come to the door and eat the pig feed from the swill-pails. That year was also the beginning of the Civil War.

      Ben Miller's brother, Jacob M., got up a company of men willing to go fight for the North. They elected Jacob, Captain, and he signed them up in August of 1862.

      Veronica and Emanuel Miller decided to marry before he left. The ceremony took place on 21 August.

      Early on 3 October 1862, alvi and BArt were at Hamilton's home preparing to walk to Dubuque, there to arrange for transportation to camp. The three McKinney boys, Ben and Emanual Miller and William Crum would join them, since all were to be "mustered in" that day at Dubuque.

      Robert Copeland, who also served later, Lousia and their two girls were there to say goodby, and of course Bart's family. As the men walked away, the three little girls, Luella, Mary, and Delilah, started to follow. Bartimeus turned around and saw them, came back and lifted each one over the fence that encircled the house, giving them a kiss as he did so, then joined Alvi and walked on down the road. That was to be the last time the family was to see him.

      The month before Bart went to war, he purchased from his sister, Armina, part of the home place, 35 Acres for $200.00, commencing at the Northeast corner of the Southeast quarter Section 28. This land is to the north of where the main buildings are now. Bart died the following spring, March of 1863. Bart left the 35 acres of the home place to his daughter, Luella. It was sold by her mother and stepfather for $18.00 an acre in 1868 to "aid in Luella's support and education". She was eight years old. The land never belonged to the family again.

      In April of 1863, a month after the death of his brother, Alvi wrote the following letter to Adaline Morehouse, his future wife.

April 1863
To Miss Adaline Morehouse
Winthrop PO
Buchanan County, Iowa

Camp Reed
Jackson, Tennesse

      " Dear Madam,
It is with pleasure I take my pen in hand to scribble a few lines to let you know how I myself and the rest of the boys is giting a long. My helth has been very poor but I think it is improving sum. The rest of the boys is all well as far as I know. The weather today is nice. The trees is all out in leeves and the ground is green with grass. The pech trees is all out in bloom and has been for sum time. When the green fruit git ripe I will eat it. I cant rest then I will think of all the young ladies up on pine. I often think what good times I use to have up there but them times gon and can not be brot back, I fel som what lonesome and low spirited sens Bart died and Bill McKiney went home. There has been a good many died in our company and discharged. Thare names is as folows Ben Suton, John Mcbane, John Tift, Walter Blafies, Charley Colbern, J.C. Glass and Jeorge Hathaway. We left him at holy springs and we have not heard from him yet sins we left him. I guess he is ded or els we would hear from him.

      Well, anuff of that. I will rest a while I will try to finish. I will now tell you that the boys is most all out on picket to day. All but a fue and it sum what lonesom and Captain J.M. Miller started home today. We was paid off the 17 of this month. Well a nuff of that. So now for something els. I would like to be back there on old pine to [?] more good dance to swing myself with sum of them good looking girls. I have not seen but a fue that is midlin good looking but nothing to brag ove. I think we all will get home again this fall but if we dont I dont a dam. I dont care if I dont get in 7 years. If I keep good helth I can soljer. I had rather do it than anything els. It just [?] me when I am all rite. I would have wrote sometime ago if I had not got sick. I promist to write to evry girl on the creek but I have not and Im in a mess [?]. Well I will have to draw my scribling to a close. I have to tabil my paper on my nee so you must look over all poor spelling and poor writing. So I will close by biding you good by. Write soon.
Alvi Megoigle [to Adaline Morehouse]
Write soon and give all the news."

      Charles McKinney, Ben and Emanual Miller, Wm. Crum and Alvi Megonigle served over three years, finally being mustered out in 1865. He had only the younger boys to help him and a rather full household, with Jane, Louisa and the three grandchildren living there. When the war was over Alvi came home for a short time, then joined Bill McKinney out near Omaha, Nebraska. In 1866, Hamilton wrote the following letter to his son.

      June the 3, 1866

      "I have taken my pen to communicate a few lines to you to let you know that we ar all in joying reasable helth at present. We hope that when this comes to hand that it will finde you the same. Armina has been very sicke. She has got beter, is abel to set up now some. I have bene sicke every sins you went away.

      The boys is working oute. The an unknown date ar gitting Sixteene dolers a month to harfist, and Isbel is to Sam Milers. I spoot [?] oute aboute five akers of corne. Ben is farming the reste. Mery Citch has bene very sicke. She is beter now.

      Cris Grewham and Berche is meried and Bil Wilson went back to Ohio and broute a wife backe. Ben sede he was agonte rite to you today but I was righting he wood not righte tonehte. Sonday Rob and Ben has taken hundred akers to breake for wane man. They say he hired each of them to a aker a day.

      I got a leter from Charles Megonigil. They was well. They hade herde from a name that hade bene a pardnor with your unchkel in the mins, that he was alive aboute a yere gow. The mane has gone back and seide he woode rite the partclers to them whene he got ther.

      The wheate and oets lookes well here. The corne not so well. Wilson has boughte the Gray farme.

      I treded for a three yere olde colte. I gave them two sters and ten dollers for it. She hade the ring bone on three feete and was very lame whene I got it but I thinke I have got it cured. It is not lame now. I thinke that is just as hansom as bet and wood make a parfecte mach for her. I was offered a hundrde and sevete dollrs for dol in greens backes. She is nise now.

      Man Miller has rente Cellets plase and moved there and they have gone to toun. Coplen sooed perm and gote a jugement for that maman in corte so I must close for this time.

      Righte soone. Nothing more but remune your father to death.

H. Megonigil to A. Megonigil
"
(The Ben mentioned is probably Ben Miller. The Man Miller is Emanual Miller and Coplen is probably Robert Copeland, Hamilton's son-in-law. The uncle Hamilton refers to is his brother, Bartimeus, who no one had heard from and who had never returned from California. Charles, of course, was the oldest son of Bartimeus, still living at Monona, Iowa. The"boys" working out were John R. and Samuel. Hamilton mentions here that he has been sick since Alvi left home)

      In February of 1867 Samuel wrote his brother:

      " Feb 16, 1867
      Mr. A. Megonigle

      Dear Brother,

      It is with much pleasure that I seat myself to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well and all the rest of the folks and hope that when tese few lines reache you that it will find you all right. I received you kind on the 1 of this month and was very glad. Well we have had good meting in the old beathel this witer, it has lasted 4 weeks and they have converted about 90 [?]. I will here mention a few of them Rob and Louisa, Mort Herin and Lib, John Snider and the wife, Mary Kitch, John Logon. Well their are a going to babtise to day all of the folks has gone but my self and I thought I woude remain at home and wright to you.

      Well for something else it has been pretty could here this winter but is very pleasant here to day. I have been going to school this winter and have enjoyed my self first rate and hope that you have.

      I will here tell you what stalk I have 3 Colts 1-2 years old, 2 yearlings, 1 three year heifer and 2 yearling calves, 4 hogs and 1 sheep. I don't like to brag but their are as good as are got up around here and Gasper has got an old mare and a three yearl old colt. We had them hiched up yesterday and drove them to Winthrop.

      We have got 2 teames now and we cna just make things get next summer. I wish that you was here to help us but maby GAsper will go down there. I don't know. He talks some of it but I guess he can't leave his mama. Well it is a thawing here like. It was good sleighing here three days ago but the snow is about all gone now. I guess that we are going to have spring right of. I hope so. I am geting a bout tired of such weather but I gues I will have to stand it.

      You said that you was a going to keeping house in the spring I suppose that you are a going to batch it good for that we have had a good manny of these bussing parties bit. I have not tended any of them.

      Well enough of such nonsens. I must bring my scribling to a close. Escuse all bad writing and poor spelling and wright soon and often and tell me all the news. Gasper says that he is going to (write) you next Sunday if nothing happens. From your most affectionate brother untill death.

      Write soon good day,


      Samuel Megonigle"


      Hamilton seems to have been well enough to go to church at this time, but on 24 April, he died. He was buried in a Scottish outfit. In those days people always had certain clothes put away in readiness for burial. Isabelle had married Wm. Crum that winter and, with Alvi gone, only Sam, just turned seventeen, and John R. barely nineteen, were still at home with Mary.

      She must have felt they were capable, because two months after her husband passed waay, she bught another 80 acres for $400.00 to add to the home-place. The Northeast quarter of Southeast quarter and the Southeast quarter of the Northeast quarter of Section 33.

      The following Mary received word of the death of Hamilton's brother, Bartimeus, out in California. His family had long before adjusted to his absence, but, nonetheless, still hoped for his return. This ended the waiting and the worrying.

      About 1870 the wheat crop began to fail and, after that, lettle was sowed. During the 1870's part of the land in Sections 28 and 33 of the home farm was sold back and forth several times between Armina, John R. and Samuel, part of this was to settle a debt owed Armina by John R..

      The year 1872 brought sad news. Alvi's wife, Adaline Morehouse, had passed away, leaving a small daughter. Addie had lived in Liberty Township, Buchanan County, for several years, after her father (Wheeler Morehouse) moved here with his family from Ohio in the late 1850's. Addie's mother, Caroline, died in Ohio, but there were several sisters and at least one brother who came to the farm near Winthrop, Iowa. After living in Ohio for over twenty years, the girls were glad to receive letters from relatives still there, as evidenced by the following letter:

"Colebrook 29 March 1862

My Dear Cousins and Friends,
     
      I thought I would take this opportunity of leting you know how we are geting a long. We are all well as comon here. All the friends are well as maybe. We received a letter from Mary and was glad to hear that you were all well. I have not seen you for a good while but I must tell you what news I know. We have made 180 pounds of Shugar. We have opened about 150 trees. I am calculating to try to get a place to work out this sumer. Now I should like to have both of you come out and see us once more. You must come out. Write when you receive this now, Adie, you and Roda, both of you must write, but I must stop and leave some room for mother. Now write, both of you."

This from George Bunker to cosins Roda and Adie Morehouse.
"

     
      "A few lines to Adela and Roda "You I love and shall forever You may change but I shall never though separation is our lot Dearest Cousens, forget me not from Lydia Bunker write to me.

Dear Friends,

      It is with pleasure that I write a few lines to you to let you know how we are. It has been a snowing today. I should like to see you all but canot, but I often think of the good visits that we had with you and Caroline. But one friends after another dys and we to must die. I was in the gering [?] the other day where Caroline was buried. We are geting along as well as can be expected. We had 46 [?] bushels of wheat and a good crop of corn and oats and 26 head of cattle and a good span of 2 year old colts. We are a goin to make chease or curd. Buter is 20 cents a pound. Cheas 1 and 10 cents. The boys is all well. It seamed very lonesum after Hiram died. He was a good christian boy and gon to live with his mother in heaven so no more at present.
      [?] Bunker"

     
Much Respected Friends,

      I now take my penn in had to answer your kind letter that we received and was glad to think that you had forgotten us. We often talk about the good visits we use to have down to your house and it seems almost like old times again to think it over. I supose you like to hear from all of the friends. I will try to tell you as far as I no. The Bunkers are well and all at home. They are all just as when you left here exceptin the change in Edwards family. He has been very lonesome since Hiram died. Flirana Critentons family is well as far as we no. They were up here this spring. The girls came up and stayed 2 weeks and them Hiram and Lecta came up and stayed over night. We had a first rate visit with them. Eliza Stebbins family is scattered. She is dead. She died with the Tyfoid fever 2 years ago this winter. Henry and Syntha live where they did. John is maried and lives on the old homestead. He has gone to war and Hiram lives with his wife. Betsey is maried and so is Sarah. They are well. Scattered Tibbles is alive and well. Now, Mary, you go over to Mrs. Tifts and have a good visit with her for me. If I could only see you all I could find enough to talk about for two weeks steady. Tell Amanda to write. I must close for want of room.
From B. Bunker to all of the friends."


      Addie moved with her father to Pottawattamie County, Iowa in the middle 1860's and was married to Alvi there, at her father's home in 1867.

      Two years after Adie's death, Alvi remarried; to Elizabeth James. This ceremony also took place at Wheeler Morehouse's home.

      John R. Married Sarah Campbell in 1879, so this left Samuel and Mary the only ones living on the home farm.

      Isabelle and William decided to move, with their four children, to Nebraska. William had gone there in 1873 with Jacob M. Miller and now planned to make it their permanent home. Delilah Copeland was eighteen years old. Her parents had told her they would buy her a sewing machine if she would learn how to sew. She did and had a choice of three, Singer, Domestic or White. She chose the Domestic (which her daughter, Leora, still uses today) and when she learned Isabelle was moving, proceeded to make up a bolt of muslin for sheets and underwear for the family. She also helped sew on the covering for their wagon. The Crum's left that summer of 1879.

      In 1880, John and Sarah sold to Samuel 65 acres for $1400.00 and in June of 1883, Mary sold to Samuel for $1000.00 another 80 acres of the home farm. The 40 acres in Liberty Township had been given to Louisa when she married, and now all the remaining land belonged to Sam.

      We do not know whether Alvi felt this wasn't fair, or just what the situation was at this time between the two brothers and their mother, but that fall of 1883, Alvi was awarded in District Court, $400.00 and cost, by consent, from Mary Megonigle.

      In Dirtrict Court, Equity Calendar, in the spring of 1884, the case of Alvi Megonigle versus S.S. Megonigle was continued, also in December of that year and again in March of 1885. The outcome of this case was never printed in the paper (many weren't). Alvi moved from southweast Iowa to Nebraska that year, so perhaps it was settle out of court. Whatever was decided, there couldn't have been "hard feelings" for long as there were letters and visits exchanged between the two families.

      Samuel stayed on with his mother, and when he married in 1888, at the age of nearly 39, Mary continued living with him and Jemina and their children. In the spring of 1889 Mary received word of the drowning of some (Irma Bergstrom states they were told many) McGonigles in the Johnstown Flood in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. (An account of the flood follows:)

      The majority of the people who lived in Johnstown at this time were either Irish, Scotch Irish, German or Welsh. Cambria County, by 1889, had nearly 30,000 people living in the valley with Johnstown oly one of several boroughs, East Conemaugh, Woodvale, Cabria City, Prospect, Millville, Morrellville, Grubbtown, and Moxham, which were clustered between the hills, packed in so tight there was scrcely room to build any thing more. People worked at the Cambria Iron mills, the Gautier wire works and the woolen mills at Woodvale. It was said that people were poor, "very poor by later standards, but they didn't know it". Many of the mill workers lived in cheap, pine-board company houses along the riverbanks.

      The Little Conemaugh and Stony Creek meet at Johnstown and rom the Conemaugh. Johnstown was situated at the bottom of the narrow valley with long densely forested ridges (called hogbacks) rolling off in every direction.

      In 1889, there were still black bear and wildcat and, although the near hills had been stripped by the loggers, the forest within an hours walk had not changed much from what it had been one hundred years before.

      The south Fork dam on the western slope of Allegheny Mountain had been started in 1838 and finally finished in 1850. By 1889 it was owned by the "South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club" of Pittsburgh.

      The storm started out of Kansas and Nebraska on 28 May. The next day there were hard rains in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. Warnings were telegraphed EAst. When the storm struck western Pennsylvania it was recorded as the worst downpour ever to hit that section of the counrty. On the mountains, the fall was ten inches in places.

      Rain continued the next day and warnings were sent from the dam site down to the valley, that the dam was becoming dangerous and might break. since the warning had been voiced by many for several years and nothing had happened, there was little concern among the people.

      At ten after three, the break came, and the water moved away all at once, leaping into the valley, "roaring like a mighty battle", as one eyewitness said. Killing four men at South Fork. Sixteen died at Mineral Point, twenty eight at East Conemaugh and Franklin, 314 at woodvale (one out of every three in town), and then the flood rumbled into Johnstown. Most never saw the water coming, only heard it, (a roar like thunder). They heard screaming, the crash of buildings going down and glass shattering.

      Those who say the thirty six foot wall of water said there was a cloud of dark spray that hung over the front of the wave, like dust. The water crushed huses like eggshells and snapped trees and lifted immense objects "like so much chaff". The devastation and the drownings took about ten minutes.

      Over 2200 people died. Over 770 were buried as "unknown". Hundreds of bodies were never found at all. (there were no McGonigles listed among the official burying lists. Several McConaghys, so either they spelled their names that way or their bodies were never found, or were buried as "unknown" as many were.)

      Mary Barklay Megonigle passed away at her home on Pine Creek on Sunday morning 2 February 1896. The funeral was held at Bethel Church Monday and she was buried beside Hamilton at Wilson Cemetery. (Her grave is marked 1895).

      Samuel and his wife raised their eleven children on the home farm, and Sam remained there after Jemina's death in 1920 "batching it with Bart for awhile, then with Alvi and family for ten years, and with Madge and family until he passed away in 1941, aged 91 years.

      After his death, three of his children bought the home place from the other eight, and it was then purchased by Samuel Alvi Megonigle, whichhe farmed until his death in 1975.

      The 245 acres, about 95 tillable, over 100 acres still in timber, and the rest pasture land with Pine Creek running through, was left to Samuel Megonigle's second wife, Doris Kerr Megonigle, and at her death will go to their son, William Megonigle and his children.

1 Hamilton was born at age 43 1850 Census. He was the son of John McGonigle. He married Mary Barklay Roop in 1831 at Juniata County, Pennsylvania. Hamilton died on 24 April 1867 at Byron Townshup, Iowa, USA. Burried at Wilson Cemetery.

Children of Hamilton Megonigle and Mary Barklay Roop

Citations

  1. [S257] Megonigle, Megonigle, Betty A.

Mary Barklay Roop1

F, d. 2 February 1896
     Mary was born. She married Hamilton Megonigle in 1831 at Juniata County, Pennsylvania. Mary died on 2 February 1896 at Byron Townshup, Iowa, USA. Mary passed away at her home on Sunday Morning. The funeral was held at Bethel Church on Monday and she was buried beside Hamilton at Wilson Cemetery..

Children of Mary Barklay Roop and Hamilton Megonigle

Citations

  1. [S257] Megonigle, Megonigle, Betty A.

John McGonigle1

M
     John died at Juniata County, Pennsylvania.
      "MacGonigle or MacCongail (Irish spelling) is a very old Irish name going back to the 11th or 12th century. The name being one of those handed down from a single individual, not a combination of names as many are. The first clan was located in county Donegal on the most northern tip, later (after 1600) they were also in the South West part of the county.

      Edward MacLysaght, keeper of recors, (Curator of Irish Archives) in his "More Irish Families", 1960, gives the following; "The principal thing to be noted about the MacGonigles (or Magonagles)is their constant association with county Donegal. Apart from the adjacent parts of county Derry, they were seldon to be found elsewhere. Some of the sept were counted among the warlike followers of O'Donnell, but they were primarily an erenagh family, their church being at Killaghtee. It is as ecclesiastics they are best known in history. As well as many priests they have given two bishops to the diocess of Raphoe, Patrick and malachy Magonigail (d. 1589). The name is MacCongail in Irish, which is also used in English, so spelt, as a synonymn of MacGonigle."

      According to Mac Lysaght, the Irish seldom had family "crests", and the few who did were from southern Ireland, some of the northern families had "plaids".

      Since Mac means "son of", the original name, of course, was Congail. It is interesting to note that the only other MacGonigle history I could find, (in the Carnegie Library at Pittsburgh) by Ferris Wheeler, was about families from southern United States, who were Baptists. They were the descendants of William Washington McGonagill."

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In the 1830 Census, John was listed as a head of household at Juniata County, Pennsylvania.

Children of John McGonigle

Citations

  1. [S257] Megonigle, Megonigle, Betty A.

Bartimeus Megonigle

M, b. 22 December 1832
     Bartimeus was born on 22 December 1832 at Juniata County, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Hamilton Megonigle and Mary Barklay Roop. Bartimeus died.

Armina Megonigle

F, b. 8 January 1834
     Armina was born on 8 January 1834 at Miami County, Ohio. She was the daughter of Hamilton Megonigle and Mary Barklay Roop. Armina died.

Louisa Megonigle

F, b. 11 April 1839
     Louisa was born on 11 April 1839 at Miami County, Ohio. She was the daughter of Hamilton Megonigle and Mary Barklay Roop. Louisa died.

Alvi Megonigle

M, b. 1840
     Alvi was born in 1840 at Linn County, Iowa. He was the son of Hamilton Megonigle and Mary Barklay Roop. Alvi died.

Nancy J. Megonigle

F, b. 16 February 1843
     Nancy was born on 16 February 1843 at Linn County, Iowa. She was the daughter of Hamilton Megonigle and Mary Barklay Roop. Nancy died.

Isabella Megonigle

F, b. 11 November 1845
     Isabella was born on 11 November 1845 at Linn County, Iowa. She was the daughter of Hamilton Megonigle and Mary Barklay Roop. Isabella died.

John R. Megonigle

M, b. 10 April 1848
     John was born on 10 April 1848. He was the son of Hamilton Megonigle and Mary Barklay Roop. John died.

Bartimeus Megonigle

M
     Bartimeus Megonigle was the son of John McGonigle. Bartimeus died at California, USA.

Madge Willing Megonigle

F, b. 24 November 1889
     Madge was born on 24 November 1889. She was the daughter of Samuel Shepard Megonigle and Jemina [Mina] McBride. Madge died.