I’ve written about Martha before in the post What’s Martha’s maiden name?.  This morning I finally sent a request to Cook County Illinois Clerk office to obtain a copy of a marriage license for who I believe are my great, great Keithley grandparents.  I’ve never sent the request before because I really never expected to learn much based on what they collected on the form at that time.

This evening I decided to search again for Joseph Henry Keithley and his wife, Martha Conn and discovered that now they have it online!  I don’t know whether to be happy or sad that I found this after I sent the $15 for a copy.  I am pleased that there is some useful information on the license.

It is quite clear that this is my Joseph H Keithley who was from Fairview, Illinois except it isn’t in Cook county.  From this marriage license it says that he married a Miss (not married) Martha Conn or Coun of Chicago, Illinois.  The Chicago Tribune listed them as J. H. Keithley and Martha Coun.1 They were married by James MacLaughlan the Presbyterian minister who was the pastor of the Scotch Church in Chicago.

Since they were not married by the Justice of the Peace I wonder if Martha attended this church.  Here’s some information on the minister and the church.

…Rev. James Maclaughlan, well known two score of years ago in Chicago as the pastor of the Scotch Presbyterian Church, and at the time of his decease, some two years ago, one of the oldest members of Chicago Presbytery, and minister of the Brighton Park Presbyterian Church.  from The Scots and their Descendants in Illinois by Thomas C. MacMillan, M.A., LL.D.

FIRST SCOTCH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH After the pastorate of Rev. Mr.  Burns, which closed in April 1870, this church was without a minister until July 11, 1872, when Rev James Maclaughlan was called.  His ministry continued until February 1882.  For some time after the fire of 1871, this house of worship, like many others was used as a place of refuge, and the church people were among the foremost in the labor of caring for the destitute from the burned district.  Mr Maclaughlan was followed by the present pastor, Rev. Henry Sawers, of Middletown, Iowa on June 10 1883, whose administration has been very successful.  — page 800 of The History of Chicago, Volume 3.2

Family tradition says that Martha was Irish so I wonder if there is a connection with this church and heritage.  On her oldest daughter’s birth certificate it indicates she was from Ohio.  I haven’t had any luck in finding Martha or some other Conn/Coun family member on the census to gain a lead.  One of the frustrations is that Conn is a difficult name to search since it is the old style abbreviation for the state.

For now, we have a little more information to use in the search and I hope to one day learn of Martha’s parents and what happened to her.  For now it appears that I know Martha’s maiden name was Conn or Coun.

  1. “Marriage Licenses,” Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, January 21, 1881, 8, Newspaper.
  2. Andreas, Alfred Theodore. History of Chicago, Vol 3. : A. T. Andreas, 1886.
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