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.


15. David Harrison Caylor


For this week’s 52 Ancestors Challenge, I’ve decided to focus on the short life of my husband’s 3rd great grandfather, David Harrison Caylor.

David was born around 1836 in Pennsylvania to Henry and Rebecca Caylor.  At some point, he headed west to the rural farming community of Patch Grove, Grant County, Wisconsin. On January 14, 1858, he married Catherine Rice, daughter of Tobias and Clarinda (Barhan) Rice. David and Catherine had 3 children: Rebecca Ann, Susan Catherine and John Henry.

Although life in Wisconsin seemed quiet, the rest of the nation was in turmoil and found itself in a Civil War. On August 13, 1862, the 26 year old David enlisted at nearby Mount Hope by Thomas Bintliff, and then headed to Camp Randall in Madison, Wisconsin to become part of the 20th Infantry Regiment, Company I along with several of his neighbors. Records showed that David had hazel eyes, with dark hair and a dark complexion.

The regiment was mustered into service on August 23, 1862 and then left Wisconsin for St. Louis on August 30th. The regiment stayed in St. Louis until September 6th, then traveled by train to Rolla. They stayed there for a week, then marched 135 miles to Springfield, Missouri, arriving on September 24th.

However, the long march and camp conditions were too much for young David. While camped in Springfield, he contracted typhoid fever and died on October 28, 1862. He left behind very few personal effects: great coat, blanket, pair of cotton drawers, pair of cotton pants, handkerchief, no money, a small notebook with a note that he loaned $100 to Arthur Jackson on the 10th of September. He was buried in a makeshift cemetery near the hospital. In 1867, his body was exhumed and was buried in the Springfield National Cemetery.


Certificate of Service for David H. Caylor. Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, WI.