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This morning my mother asked again about her great, great grandmother of whom we know very little.  We know her first and middle name:  Martha Ann.  We know who she married Joseph Henry Keithley and we know her children were Violet, Eva, Leo and Mabel.  (Visit My Tree House for photos of this family) There is a lot of differing information making it a tedious and, to date, unfruitful hunt in figuring out her surname and her family.  I made a timeline in a table to help us understand the progression of events that may help us find who she was.

Year Event
Abt 1856 Martha Ann was born and was from Ohio (this is based on both Violet & Eva’s birth certificates indicating where their mother was from and her age at the time of their births)
1863 a Martha Conn, who was born about 1860, immigrated from Ireland with a Wm Conn, a 25 yr old farmer and Anne, 24, along with an infant named Jno but no gender was included. (I doubt this is our Martha since this one was reported as being about 3 when she arrived and our Martha would have been about 7, which I think would have been a noticeable age difference.  (This research came from Violet’s grandson and fellow researcher, Clyde Todd)
1880 Joseph’s uncle George W. Turner bought land in Lowell, Cherokee, Kansas.
01/20/81 Joseph H Keithley and Martha Conn married in Cook Co., Illinois.  (Cook County is not where I show Joseph living but it is reasonable to think that he was there at that time.)  I have not obtained this marriage certificate and perhaps doing so will yield additional information.  It seems highly probable that these are our ancestors.
11/16/81 Violet born in Fairview, Fulton, Illinois and her birth certificate is very legible and says her mother was 25 and from Ohio, that Violet was her first child and indicates that Violet’s mother’s full name including maiden was Martha Ann Keithley (Jester).
01/07/83 Eva born in Fairview, Fulton, Illinois and her birth certificate is not very legible but it is clear that her mother was 27 and from Ohio.  It indicates that Eva’s mother’s full name is Marrah Ketheley and then says Mother McCoon.  (I don’t think it says nee because it appears to me that the “c” in Mc is underlined, however due to so many other clear problems with this document, nothing needs to be absolute).  Because the person filling this out answered the question of Eva’s mother’s full name in two separate responses, Marrah Ketheley and then Mother McCoon, I wonder if the person was indicating Martha’s mother’s name was McCoon.
11/17/83 Leo was born in Illinois but no birth certificate is on file in the county where we know they lived so we learn nothing additional.
02/28/88 A quick claim deed for Joseph’s land in Fairview, Fulton, Illinois, which included his wife Martha Ann Keithley.
07/29/89 Mabel was born in Girard, Crawford, Kansas but no birth certificate has been located.  Family tradition indicates that their mother died when Mabel was an infant but we can find nothing to substantiate what happened to their mother other than she was no longer a presence in raising her children.  I have not yet found evidence that Joseph or anyone in his immediate family was in Kansas at this time.  There were Keithley’s there but I cannot place them in our line.  Additionally, there are some of our Turner line in this vicinity later.
1889ish Martha Ann presumably died probably in Kansas.
1890ish Mabel lived with the Sanden’s in WI and I have no idea if there was a family connection and, if there is, whether it would be on her mother or father’s side.
1890 Joseph’s uncle George W. Turner was a grocer in Galena, Cherokee, Kansas.
1900 Joseph’s uncle George W. Turner is living a few doors from Violet in Carterville, Jasper, Missouri. Also, Joseph’s occupation is groceryman, which he continued until his death in 1911.
April 1900 Joseph Keithley, his new wife and his children: Eva and Leo are in Carterville, Jasper, Missouri.  His daughter Violet and her husband live nearby.
10/06/92 Joseph Keithley’s second marriage to Sarah S. Oliver in Jasper Co, Missouri took place.
07/29/99 Violet married Thomas Newton Todd in Lamar, Barton, Missouri
01/11/02 Eva married Jacob Wesley Lineberry in Mangum, Greer, Oklahoma.  She remained in Oklahoma though living in different counties (and with one small time in MO) until her death in 1922.
1905 when Mabel was 16 she had her first contact with her father, Joseph Keithley.
Aft 1906 Joseph, his wife and their son Arthur moved to Joplin, Jasper, Missouri sometime after the death of their daughter, Susanna in 1906 where he lived until his death in 1911.
1907 Mabel married John Stevens Tomany in Wausau, Marathon, Wisconsin and remained in WI until about 1923.
11/02/07 Leo Keithley in Los Angeles married Catherine I Sweetman.  He indicated that his father was J.H. Keithley of WI and that his mother was Martha Conn of NE.  Leo was 22yrs old and born in IL.  Later I found that they divorced and none of Leo’s descendants were aware of this marriage.  It appears that if this is our Leo the age suggests that he was born in 1884 not 1883, as census & family say.
1917 Leo’s WWI draft registration indicates that he is living in Waterhole, Alberta, Canada.  He remained in that area until his death in 1972.
1920 Violet was living in Labette, Kansas and answered the Census question about her mother and stated that her mother was from Ireland.  This matches family tradition that their mother was Irish.
1923 Mabel’s son Leonard was born in Chicago, Illinois and apparently the family remained in this area until 1972.
1929 Mabel received $500 from a Keithley.  The amount would have been more but they had difficulty in locating her because she did not use the Keithley name.  Unfortunately the family doesn’t know which Keithley this came from and it might be useful to know as she must have been an heir.  Her father died in 1911, her grandmother died in 1912, her uncle Owen died in 1920, her sister died in 1922, her uncle Arthur died in 1923, and her half aunt Edith died in 1926.  Of those the most likely to have money was Arthur but his will had no mention of her in it.
1939 Violet lived in Receda, California with her daughter Lillian
1953 Violet’s died in Los Angeles, California and her death certificate lists her mother as Martha A. Jester (Ohio)
1972 Mabel lived in Huntington, Indiana and died in Indiana in 1982.
2000 Clyde Todd told me that Violet’s mother’s maiden name was Patton, Poren or Porten. Clyde told me that his father told him that Violet’s uncle was James A. Patton, which I can only find a great uncle with that name.  Because many of the children lived with other relatives I wonder if some confusion may have occurred about her maiden name if  she lived with her great uncle James Patton who was her grandmother Amy Keithley’s sister’s husband (Mary Turner Patton).  On the other hand since people often married fairly close relatives it is something to consider as a possible lead.

So, we are considering surnames for Martha Ann that include:  Jester, Conn, Coon, McCoon.  There has been one mention of Patton, Porter or Porten but I think that is not probable.  The family connections that we can consider in looking for Martha include:  Sanden’s in Wisconsin, George W. Turner while he was in Kansas.

The family tells us that Martha Ann died when her daughter, Mabel, was an infant.  Mabel was born in 1889 in Kansas and Martha’s husband, Joseph, remarried in 1892 in Missouri.  So, it seems reasonable that Martha Ann died between 1889 and 1892 in Kansas or Missouri.  Joseph did not raise Mabel and apparently his other children with Martha did not always live with him.  Joseph’s first contact with Mabel was when she was 16 in 1905 but they did not actually visit one another.  Why did Joseph remain in contact with his other children but not Mabel and can that information help us locate where Martha died?  Will learning where she died help us in learning her maiden name?  What other pieces should we consider to solve this?  What are your thoughts?  We would love to hear ideas on what to try next.

Update 2010: Read the Conn Case post

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