Queries

If you are looking for help with a Johnson County ancestor line, please submit family group sheet information along with your challenge.

2020 Mar 03

Need info, photos, letters, diaries, bibles, newspaper accounts etc. that give info about Samuel S Griggs (1831-1882?), husband of Lucinda Amardine Crist (1851-1919).

Samuel S Griggs was born in 1831 in Perry County, Ohio and went to Piatt and Douglas Counties, Illinois where he was in the lumber business and owned a sawmill. He moved to Johnson County, Illinois, and settled in Tunnel Hill Township, about 1875.

In 1875-1880s Griggs owned a sawmill, Tunnel Hill, Johnson Co IL. There was an explosion of the boiler at the sawmill about 1882-1883 & Samuel S Griggs was killed. Cannot find where Griggs is buried or accounts about explosion or his obituary. I have found four doctors living in Johnson Co IL and near Williamson Co IL including Dr Nathan S White born 1832 in Kentucky and died Johnson Co IL 1892, Dr John L Whitnel born 1859 Illinois, Dr William Fern born 1847 Illinois and died 5 Jul 1919 Johnson Co IL, and Dr Thomas Walker Simmons born 1836 Missouri and died 14 Feb 1920 Johnson Co IL. One of these doctors might have been associated with the death inquiry of my ancestor, Samuel S Griggs and perhaps one of these doctors attended him or completed a death certificate or coroner's report!!!

Dr Nathan S White had married in 1850 Henry Co TN to Sarah Jane Bell. They had a daughter Ruth Belle White (1861-1942) and she married 15 Apr 1880 Williamson Co IL to George Jackson Crist (d. 1919 Urban, IL). He was a brother to my ancestor, Lucinda Crist (Griggs) wife of my ancestor, Samuel S Griggs so there was a family connection or acquaintance between White and Griggs !!! In fact George Crist, brother of Lucinda Crist Griggs worked at the sawmill. Also working there was James Lewis Matthews. George Crist and James Matthews were not killed - where did they go? Love to hear from their descendants too. Hoping that some Crist or Matthews descendants have some info about Griggs family or the explosion as desperate to find ANYTHING.

Two of the brothers of Samuel S Griggs also came from Perry Co Ohio to Johnson and Williamson Co IL. Samuel Griggs' brother Benjamin B Griggs owned Griggs Bros Brick Manufacturing, Marion, Williamson Co IL. Another brother, Peter Struble Griggs also settled in Johnson Co IL and he and his family are buried in New Salem Cemetery. Would love to hear from his descendants too !!

Hoping that some Griggs or Crist descendants have some info about Griggs family or the explosion as desperate to find ANYTHING. Hoping I can find an account in a newspaper or a diary or in letters or hear from a descendant of Samuel's Siblings or his cousins who might have info about him. Perhaps Lucinda, his wife, wrote to some of her Crist and Griggs relatives about the incident or they recorded event in their family records, letters, diaries, bibles, newspaper articles, etc.

Rev John James Hester was a pastor in 1880 census in Tunnel Hill village in Johnson Co IL and the only minister I could find. Perhaps he officiated at the funeral of Samuel S Griggs. Are any letters or journals or diaries surviving of Rev John James Hester? There was John Smith Whittenberg, who was a doctor and later became a Methodist Minister. Did he officiate at the funeral of Samuel S Griggs. He too had a connection to the Griggs family. He was born 6 Oct 1823 Blount Co TN and married Isabella Gregg 15 Feb 1853 Johnson Co IL. He died 26 Jun 1897 in Tunnel Hill. His daughter Malinda Ellen Whittenberg married James S Harrell and they had a daughter, Eva B Harrell who married Samuel L Griggs,son of Peter Struble Griggs,brother of Samuel S Griggs. Whittenberg was one of the few teachers in Tunnel Hill and had a school at his home. His daughters Louise "Luizy" Whittenberg and Sarah Jane Whittenberg were teachers too.

Lucinda Crist Griggs, Samuel's widow, married in 1885 Johnson Co IL to William James Westbrook, son of Francis Marion Westbrook a merchant in Marion, Williamson Co IL. Lucinda later divorced Westbrook and about 1886 moved to Gainesville, Cooke Co TX with several of her older Griggs step-children. She died in Gainesville, TX in 1919. I have portraits of her and husband, Samuel S Griggs, as well as his pocket watch !!

Samuel Griggs' brother Benjamin B Griggs owned Griggs Bros Brick Manufacturing, Marion, Williamson Co IL. Would love to hear from his descendants too !!

George Crist, brother of Lucinda Crist Griggs & James Lewis Matthews also worked at the sawmill. George Crist & James Matthews were not killed - where did they go? Love to hear from their descendants too. Hoping that some Crist or Matthews descendants have some info about Griggs family or the explosion as desperate to find ANYTHING.

ANY help or referral you can give me is most appreciated. Someone out there has some family documents or memorabilia that would be helpful if it can be located !!! Thanks for your help.

Thanks Randy Pace, Houston TX - [email protected]
2019 Dec 02
On your website listing cemeteries, you show Simmons 2 Cemetery. I have information to add. The stone marked "J.S. died 18 Jan 1851" is incorrect. It should read "J.S. died 18 July 1851." I have a definitive letter for evidence. The burial is for Jeremiah Simmons , b. ca 1811 Tennessee. He married Catherine Perry, daughter of William J. Perry and Sarah Moake, The Perry's live in the Pulley Mill area of Williamson County and also have family in Johnson County. At the time of Jeremiah's death in 1851, he was said to "have 8 children, among which were three boys very good to work."

I am very interested in determining who the 8 children were, and where the wife, Catherine (Perry) Simmons is buried. Did she re-marry? Any information on this family would be greatly appreciated. It appears that Jeremiah Perry moved from Tennessee to Southern Illinois between 1830 and 1839. He appeared on the census of 1840 in Williamson County, I believe - I will check on that further. I see there are two Simmons Cemeteries, but both seem to be in the Tunnel Hill area. Have they been listed or photographed? I see one Simmons cemetery listed on Find-A-Grave, saying only that is on the "old Simmons farm." I am a member of Find-A-Grave and it would be great to have these cemeteries listed and photographed. Thanks.

Michael A. Harris, Monticello, Illinois  [email protected]
2017 Oct 26
I have been researching my family in Johnson County. My lineage is Daniel OLLIS to John Ward OLLIS to Nettie OLLIS-BOYT.

Daniel OLLIS had a son who served in the civil war from Johnson County. His name was George Washington OLLIS, born 1844, died 24 Apr 1864 while serving as sentry in Illinois Infantry Company K (I believe) was killed in Rome, Georgia, and is buried in Rome, Georgia. I have more info just not at my fingertips.

I also have a relative, Felix BOYT, who was a deputy Sheriff in 1800's, who was shot in the back of the head and killed while working as a Deputy.

Paul R. Boyt [email protected]
2017 Apr 13
Coming down from Wisconsin for the eclipse 8/21/2017. Have been finding lots of old family photos. Some are labeled, some not. Families include Henry L. BRIDGES / Nancy PETTIT; their daughter Myrtle BRIDGES, who married William F. UTLEY, and their son Eugene UTLEY, who was my grandfather. Eugene's birth certificate says Forman. I believe that some of the pictures are of the house in Forman. Is there somewhere in the Vienna area that I could visit in August with the pictures?
Barry Seifert [email protected]

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