Across the Continent, Lithograph, Frances F. Palmer, 1869.

During the Civil War, Missouri and Tennessee were claimed by both the Union and the Confederacy. The Union dominance in each of these states was achieved by a difficult struggle on many fronts, and my great-great-grandfather William Ivans (1842-1908) lived through the most terrifying years of the war in these two states. He served for… Read More

San Quentin State Prison, circa 1910

My great grandparents Sumner Dunham (1871-1947) and Cora Belle Ivans (1873-1963) were married on 8 July 1894 in Cummings, Mendocino County, California, with Cora Belle’s parents William and Mary (Wilson) Ivans serving as official witnesses. It’s unlikely Cora Belle’s brother John E. Ivans, my great granduncle, would have been in attendance at the wedding. Then… Read More

I feel like Ruth Mendell could tell me a lot. Here’s the background. On 17 Nov 1864 my great-great-grandfather Seth Dunham married Lavina Jessie Springston in Napa, California. He was 38; she was 15. This particular genealogical mystery is about Lavinia’s ancestry. Lavina’s parents were William Springston, born about 1818 in Ohio, and Nancy, who… Read More

1870 Redington Mine G.J. Brayton-Stereoview

A farmer, hearing that a circus was in town, loaded his wagon with vegetables to sell there. He was excited; more than anything, he wanted to see an actual elephant. He got in town just in time to see the circus parade, led by an elephant. The farmer was thrilled, but his horses were terrified.… Read More