This is information emailed to me from Kathy Mills who is currently residing in Texas. I did some research for her on the Merris and took some tombstone photos at the Abingdon Cemetery, Abingdon, Knox County, IL, and then a few weeks ago she wanted to type up some things for my Knox County Web page. and boy has she been going to town..... Thanks again Kathy..... Her relations and her husband's.
Riggs Pennington, the sixth son of Timothy and Nancy Riggs Pennington, of North Carolina and Virginia, was born 28 Aug 1787 in New River, Virginia. He married, in 1810, Barren County, Kentucky, Joanna Osborn, born 1781. Riggs died 18 Jan 1869 in Brenham, Washington County, Texas, and Joanna died there in 1873.
They reared a family of eleven children: Wesley, Stephen O., Lydia, Matilda, Eliza Jane, Elijah, Elihu, Elisha L., Hansford C., Martha A. and Asa. Of the eleven children, we know : Wesley married Margaret McCallister in 1833, Knox County, Illinois, and reared eight children; Elijah married Ellen McAllister in 1845, Washington County, Texas and raised seven children; and Elisha L. married Rebecca Jane Bowers in 1856, Washington County, Texas and raised seven children.
Riggs’ Uncle, Richard Pennington married Hannah Boone, sister of Daniel Boone. Riggs & Moses (one of Rigg’s brothers), and their wives (Joanna Osborne and Anna Osborne, sisters) moved from south-central Kentucky to southern Indiana (Crawford Co.) in 1816, where they were among the first settlers. A few years later, in 1819, Riggs and Moses’ sons went to southern Illinois (Franklin Co.). Then over the next ten years, they lived in Knox and McDonough Counties in Illinois. Riggs was one of the first county commissioners of Knox County. He served as Justice of the Peace in Schuyler County in 1827 and as an election judge the year before. Late in 1829, Riggs Pennington sold one hundred and sixty acres of farm land in Henderson Township, Knox County, Illinois to two sons of Pioneer James McMurtry, William and James Jr.
Riggs had first come to Spanish Texas in 1820 and fought in the Blackhawk War in 1832. Many of their relatives followed them (or went at the same time), and quite a few -- especially Richard's descendants -- settled around Industry
Township, McDonough County, Illinois, where some of their descendants still live. They were moving around looking for good land, but in the case of Riggs, he kept looking, and finally wound up in Texas. The story is that he considered Texas to be "the land of milk and honey”.
The Pennington's left Galesville, Illinois with friends and neighbors in a wagon train of twelve; crossing the Mississippi at Quincy, Illinois, the Arkansas River at Van Buren, and the Red River at Jonesboro and again at Shreveport. They crossed the Brazos at Old Washington in.1836, one week after the battle of San Jacinto. They purchased a tract of 1225 acres from John W. Cole at $3.25 per acre and established the “Pennington homestead” five miles northeast of Brenham, Washington County, Texas. One of the boundaries follows the present Airport Road. The deed was executed in 1835 but not recorded until 1838. They reared a family of eleven and lived out their lives in Washington County. Riggs died in 1869 and Joanna died in 1873. Both are buried on the Old Homestead with other family members. It is off Rau Road behind the present Brenham Country Club, North of Hwy 105, East of Hwy 50, and South of Wiedeville Church Road. The property is now owned by Evelyn Maurer. The cemetery appears in the Cemetery Book as the Bowers Cemetery, because the Bowers monument is the only one still standing .
Their cousins, the children of Richard Pennington and his wife, Hannah Boone, had moved to Missouri, where Daniel Boone had his final home. Boone had a large influence over the entire family, whose fathers had followed him into Kentucky from North Carolina and Virginia, and I would not be surprised if his removal to Missouri had something to do with some of the Penningtons settling there. Certainly Riggs followed his example in being a land surveyor and a bit peripatetic, but unlike Boone, who neglected to file his land claims, Riggs did that and became a wealthy man not from farming, but from land deals. His sons continued that tradition in Texas, too, (the early Washington Co. deed books are full of Pennington land dealings) but most of them later became farmers.
From the 1886 Portrait and Biographical Album of Knox County, Publishing Company, Chicago, page 552. [Contributed by Pat Thomas.]
"Stanton J. Merriss, one of our most successful farmers, who is also engaged in stock raising and breeding, is the subject of this sketch, and has for some time been a resident of Knox County and is one of its most reliable citizens. His home lies in Indian Point Township, and is situated on section 28. He is the possessor of 297 1/2 acres of fine land, 280 of which are highly cultivated. Mr. Merriss may be considered really as one of the pioneers of the State of Illinois, as he faced the privations and hardships of those early days, when that now flourishing West consisted of prairie land.
Our subject was born in Scott County, Illinois, Oct. 5, 1828, his father coming to the state in 1818, where he first stopped at Springfield, and there remained for two years. From that city he went to Scott County, took up some land and passed two years. While a resident there he went back to his native state, Ohio, where his marriage took place with Miss Eliza Piper, and the young couple immediately started for their home in Illinois. This was John B. Merriss, father of our subject, who was born in 1800, and died in 1848, in Scott County, Illinois, of typhoid fever; his wife died May 13,1831. They were the parents of three children--Bethuel M, Stanton J., and Charles. Mr. Stanton Merriss , of this writing, was the second son in order of birth of John B. and Eliza Merriss, and while still young was united in marriage with Miss Lavina Coltas, March 28, 1854. She was born in Scott County, Illinois, Dec. 7, 1838, and died Oct. 3,1860. To them were born four children: Icabenda R., who married John E. Edmunson; Mary E., born Aug. 6, 1856, who married Samuel Cox; Francis S., born Feb. 12,1859, who died in the following fall; Mary E. died March 20, 1879; and Lydia L., who was born Aug. 10, 1860, and died Dec. 25, 1885, of consumption. The latter was the wife of John Burnaugh; she left one child, named Gertrude. Mr. Merriss formed a second matrimonial alliance, the other contracting party being Miss Indiana Butler, Dec. 31, 1861. Miss Butler was born in Ohio, Oct. 4, 1835, and their marriage has been blest with the birth of two children: Sallie, born Sept. 17, 1872, and Stanton E., born Dec. 22,1874. The parents of Mrs. Indiana Merriss are Eli and Sallie (Robinson) Butler, both of whom are now deceased. Mr. Merriss lost his second wife by death, Feb. 20, 1879.
Sept. 10,1879 Mr. Merriss united in marriage with Mrs. Sarah Bevins, a native of Illinois, who was born Feb 22, 1842. Her parent's names were George W. and Sarah (Bloom) Lewis. The former was born in Kentucky in 1804, and the latter in 1811, in the State of New Jersey. She departed this life May 10, 1870, leaving to mourn her loss five children: Sarah, born Feb 22, 1842, in Vermilion County; Mary E, born Sep 12, 1847, who married Mr. Andrew Lackey, of Rushville, Ill; Cornelius, born July 29, 1852, who now lives in Nebraska. Mrs. Lewis Merriss united in marriage with Mr. Jesse Bevins, Sept. 18/1859, and his death occurred April 25, 1874. There were four children born of this marriage, all living: Sarah E. Bevins, born Jan. 6, 1861, is the wife of John E. Smith; their home is in Knox County; John L. was born Sept 5, 1862; Mary E., March 6, 1864, is the wife of Leonard J. Cutler, and their home is in Knox County.; Anna L, born April 27, 1868.
Thomas Bevins, the father of Jesse, married a lady by the name of Anna Gundy. Both she and her husband were natives of Maryland. Jesse Bevins was born in Franklin County, Ohio, and came to Illinois while he was yet a youth. His parents died while he was yet young. The names of Mrs. Merriss' grandchildren are Daisy L, Claude Evert, and Leroy R. Smith.
George W. Lewis was a soldier in the Black Hawk War and also in the Mexican War. When the elder Mr. Merriss came to Scott County, there were but 20 settlers in 40 miles. The Merriss family is Irish on the paternal side.
Mr. James (meant John B.) B. Merriss married his second wife, who was Caroline Matilda Draper, and by this union there were five children who lived to maturity. She died Mar 25, 1853. He was a Free-Will Baptist in religious belief.
Mr. S.J. Merriss received such education as the schools of his native county afforded, and was reared upon the farm. He purchased the land where he now lives in the year 1856, and moved here in the year following. It was but slightly improved, and the buildings, fencing, improvements and adornments have been the result of his own labor with his own hands.
The home of Mr. Merriss is one of culture and refinement, his wife being an intelligent lady. He is an extensive breeder of Short-horn and Jersey cattle. Both he and his wife are active and useful members of the society in which they move, and he is an active member of the Missionary Baptist Church, of which he is an adherent. His wife is united with the Christian Church, and is an ernest Christian in soul and purpose. In politics Mr. Merriss is a Democrat.
NOTE: I believe some of the above dates are incorrect: Lavina Coultas Merriss died, not 3 Oct 1860, but 3 Oct 1868; Stanton married Indiana Butler, not 31 Dec 1861, but after Oct 1868, and the Infant in Hunts cemetery would not be child of Stanton & L (Lavina) but child of Stanton & I (Indiana), born and died in Oct 1870.
John Bethuel, Eliza Piper, and Caroline Matilda Draper Merriss are all buried in the Old Merriss Cemetery, Bluffs, Scott County, Illinois on land of the farm they owned.
In the Diary of Lucinda Merriss Cornell, cousin of Stanton's, daughter of Benjamin Jerrome & Angeline Strain Merriss of Franklin Co. OH, who visited Knox County Illinois in Jan 1864 from her home in Franklin County, Ohio:
Jan 10: At Aunt Cinda's. Came over to cousin Stantis with Uncle Wm. and Cousin Eliza in the sleigh. It is quite cold tho we had a pleasant ride the scenery being so novel & romantic. Uncle went home. I had a very pleasant time.
11: At Cousin Stantie Merriss'. He his wife & I and 3 little girls went over to Abingdon in Knox Co. to get pictures. They gave me a picture of the little girls.
12: At cousin Stanties. He helped kill 2 hogs. Mr. Perce a neighbor helping. I made the hocks of 3 doll for the 3 little girls & cut out lining to worsted spencer & knit some. Stantie lives in Knox.
13. At Cousin Stanties Merriss. He brought me on sled over to Cousin Thewels in Warren County. Found them all well & doing well & living in a right pretty place. I spent a pleasant evening talking about old neighbors to Polly. Knit some on overshoes.
14. At cousin Bethewels. He took us all over to Avon in Fulton county in sleigh & got the childrens pictures, also his & his wife's twice around, for me to take to Ohio. The pictures were taken by a young lady. Returned to Thews house & his wife gave me 3 rows of fringe. Pictures cost $5.00.
15. At Cousin Bethewels, He took us all over to Georges school after dinner. We stayed til school was out, then George came home with us. In the evening we went to spelling school & found out there wasn't any.
16. At Bethewel Merriss'. George is still here. He is quite an Intelligent young man & is teaching & studying law. I finished my overshoes & put soles on them. I wrote to Abbie.
17. At Cousin Bethewels. He, his wife & children & little Flora took me over to Cousin Stantie. They were up to the Pences, so we went up there 7 took dinner with them. Returned to Santies in the evening where I stayed with Uncle Wm. Brought a letter from my dear Paris.
18. At Cousin Stantis, sewing at my mohair Gariboldi Waist. Made waist & sleeves, Had a very pleasant time talking with Indiana, Stantis wife. Had a sick spell during the night--vomiting.
19. At Cousin Stantis. He brought me over to Cousin Maggie Quins where we had dinner. Aunt Cinda was there helping Maggie take care of sick children. Cass Quin not home. I stayed the night.
(BETWEEN DEC. 1861 WHEN STANTON & INDIANA MARRIED AND JAN 1864 WHEN LUCINDA VISITED, THEY HAD 3 DAUGHTERS (IE: THE 3 LITTLE GIRLS) )
Lucinda Lenore Merriss Cornell
1860 Census, Indian Point Twp, Town of Abingdon, Knox
1870 Census, Indian Point Twp, St. Augustine Post Office, Knox Co, IL:
317 311 Stanton J. Merriss 41 Farmer born in IL
Indiana 34 Keeping house born in OH
Isabinda R. 15 born in IL
Mary E. 14 born in IL
Lydia L. 9 born in IL
Stanton James Merriss born 5 Oct 1828 in Morgan (now Scott) County, Illinois of Scott County Pioneers, John Bethuel and Eliza Piper Merriss, died 1897 in Indian Point Township, Knox County, Illinois and is buried in Abingdon Cemetery there.
His 1st marriage was to Lavina Coultas, daughter of John and Sarah Coultas of Scott County, Illinois. She was born 7 Dec. 1838 in Scott County and died 3 Oct 1868 in Knox County, IL, buried in Hunt Cemetery. They had four children: Icabenda R. 1855, married John E. Edmundson and died after 1930 in Houston, Harris Co, TX; Mary E. 1856, married Samuel N. Cox and died 1879 in IL; Francis S. 1859, died 1859 at 6 mo's, buried in Hunt Cemetery; Lydia Lavina 1860, married John G. Burnaugh, and died in 1885, Knox County.
Stanton then married 2nd wife, Indiana Butler, daughter of Eli and Agnes Butler of Ohio. She was born 4 Oct 1835 in Ohio and died 20 Feb 1879 in Indian Point Twp, Knox Co. They had three children: Infant daughter, Oct 1870 - 7 Oct 1870; Sallie b: 1872; Stanton E. 1874-1948, married Evaline Davis, and died in East Moline, Rock Island County, Illinois.
Stanton then married 3rd wife on 10 Sept 1879, Knox Co., Mrs. Sarah (Lewis) Bevins, widow of Jesse Bevins and daughter of George W. and Sarah Bloom Lewis of IL. She was born 22 Feb 1842 in Vermilion County, Illinois and died after 1886.
Uncle William Merriss, mentioned in Lucinda's Diary, was my great grandfather, and was 1st son born to John Bethuel and his 2nd wife, Caroline Matilda Draper Merriss, born 8 Aug 1832 in Bluffs, Scott Co, IL. William was married to Ellen Curry, also of Scott Co, IL and died in Windsor, Shelby Co, IL in 1912. They lived in Scott, Macon and Shelby Counties.
MRS. ALMIRA RAY, (FORMER) WARREN RESIDENT OF MANY YEARS, DIES
Aug. 17, 1933 Mrs. Almira Ray, widow of James G. Ray, for many years a resident of the Berwick & Greenbush neighborhoods in Warren county until she moved to Galesburg in 1916, died at 4:05 Thursday afternoon at her home, 161 N. Arthur Ave. She had been in poor health a number of years and bedfast for over 17 months. Almira Ray, daughter of Bethuel & Mary Crawford Merris, was born March 21, 1852, in Scott Co, IL. She moved with her parents to Warren Co, when one and one half years old and grew to womanhood there. She was married to James Garland Ray on Dec. 3, 1871, and he died July 10, 1906. In 1916 Mrs Ray moved to Galesburg. Surviving are 2 children, James Woodford Ray and Olive Ray, both at home, and one adopted daughter, Katie Pearl Ray. A daughter, Ethel died at the age of 7. She also leaves a sister, Melissa Merris, of Avon, and several nieces and nephews.
(Her father, Bethuel M. Merris was older brother of Stanton James Merriss of Knox Co.; parents being John Bethuel and Eliza Piper Merris of Scott Co. Their younger brother, Charles Edward stayed in Scott Co., married and died there.)
1910 Census, Greenbush, Warren Co, IL
Knowles, Fred C. 25 married 2 yrs, born in IL, Farmer
Olive I. 22 married 2 yrs, born in IL
Ray, Almira (mother in law) 57 wdo, born in IL, own income
1920 Galesburg, Knox Co, IL
Ray, Almira 67 wdo
Olive 32 divorced (going by name Ray)
1930 Census, Galesburg Town, Knox Co, IL
Ray, Almyra value of house $3300. (at 161 N.Arthur Ave), age 78 wdo (she died 1933)
Knowles, Olive (dau) age 42 wdo
Ray, James W. (son) age 55 wdo
Bredale, Katie (dau) age 46 wdo
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