Monroe County

WEEK 31: Susan Catherine Caylor

This week’s theme for 52 Ancestors is “Easy.” Which ancestor is the easiest to research? I decided to focus on my husband’s 2nd great grandmother, Susan Catherine Caylor.

Despite the fact that she could be found in records with a few variations of her first name (Susan, Susie, Susa, Katie…) I never had much trouble finding information about her.

She was born on June 29, 1861 in Muscoda, Grant County, Wisconsin to David Harrison Caylor and Catherine Rice. Her father died of typhoid fever while away serving in the Wisconsin Infantry during the Civil War when Susan was only an infant.

On November 11, 1875, Susan married Levi Davis in Richland County, Wisconsin. Levi and Susan had 13 children, and raised them in Monroe County Wisconsin. Susan died on April 8, 1941 in Angelo, WI and is buried in the Pine Grove Cemetery.

Thanks to the wonderful resources at the Monroe County Local History Room, I was able to find some newspaper articles about Susan that gave a glimpse into her life in Monroe County. Probably the most interesting article that I discovered actually centered around her uncle, Calvin Rice. In the November 20, 1903 issue of The Tomah Journal, there was an article mentioning how Calvin Rice and his niece, Mrs. Levi Davis, were contacting the attorneys of William Marsh Rice, the founder of Rice University in Texas, who was murdered by his valet on September 24, 1900. The article states that Calvin Rice was the deceased millionaire’s brother and that Susan was his niece and that both were the nearest relatives to William Marsh Rice. Calvin was said to have been in correspondence with the officials to prove his claim.

Of course, Calvin and Susan were not related to William Marsh Rice at all. Perhaps it was a tall tale told by Calvin Rice, or a joke, and the newspaper caught wind and published a story about it, since it was one of the most shocking news stories at that time. So, I have not discovered if they actually tried to make a claim or not. I hope to uncover more information about this tidbit soon.


WEEK 26: Peter Hawk – Not even halfway

The theme for Week 26 of the 52 Ancestors challenge is “Halfway.” I decided to write about my 4th great grandfather, Peter Hawk, since I’ve had to dig a little deeper on him recently when someone who was a close DNA match contacted me. So far, it looks like our connection is from our Hawk family tree. I feel like I’ve been ignoring my Hawk ancestors, so my research on them is not even “halfway.”

Peter Hawk was born May 1, 1791 in Polk Township, what is now Monroe County, Pennsylvania. His parents were Conrad and Elizabeth (Borger) Hawk. Peter married Elizabeth Eckhart some time before 1814. Peter and Elizabeth had at least 5 children: William, Maria, Elizabeth, Adam and Peter.

Peter was only around 33 years old when he died in 1824. He left behind his wife and young children. He is buried in the cemetery at St. Matthews Church in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania.

This is about all I know about my Hawk ancestors. Now that I have been corresponding with a Hawk “cousin,” I hope to learn more about them.

6. Christian Peter Meltesen

I have been sitting here watching the Olympics while looking for inspiration for this week’s 52 Ancestors blog. Although there are no Olympians in our family trees, I’d like to think that perhaps some of my husband’s Wisconsin ancestors may have at least tried curling back in the day. Perhaps his great-great grandfather, Christian Peter Meltesen may have slid some stones during the cold Wisconsin winters during his lifetime.

Chris was born August 12, 1864 to Niels Thomson Meltesen and Caroline Christensen in Højer, Denmark which was located in the Duchy of Schleswig which is located in the southern coast of Denmark. There was much political unrest in this area, and many of the residents left to avoid military service. Chris was one of these and he boarded the ship Thingvalla at Copenhagen and arrived in the port of New York, United States on April 30, 1886.

Chris made his way to what is present day Kenosha, Wisconsin and took up farming. On August 12, 1887, he married Annie Dorothea Christensen in Kenosha.

Around 1897, Chris was a landowner near Shennington, Monroe County, Wisconsin. His brother, Laurits “Louis” Meltesen had a plot of land nearby. Louis later owned and operated a general store in Shennington.

Chris and Annie had at least 13 children who helped run the family farm. On October 4, 1921, Chris and his family spent an evening with their family, playing the phonograph and singing songs. Chris seemed fine. However, the next morning, his wife, Annie woke up and thought he was still asleep. After some time, she thought he was sleeping unusually long and discovered that he had passed away peacefully sometime during the night. He was buried in the St. Peter’s Danish Church cemetery in Byron, Wisconsin.