Finding Brother William

Picture from:

Henley B. J., The Art of Longevity (Google eBook) (Syracuse, N.Y, 1911), p. 222.

I always wondered how or why my Great-Great Grandfather, Charles Bowers, ended up in Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois.  His Obituary in 1897 said he had two brothers, Robert and William, living in Syracuse, New York[1].  I did find a Robert living in Syracuse in 1900[2] and Richard Bowers[3] living in Syracuse, New York in 1892, but no William.  I often wondered if Richard was William.  Maybe William was his middle name.  I gave up looking for William and thought perhaps the newspaper or person giving the information had it wrong.

A while ago I ordered microfilm from the Family History Library in Utah to look for my great-great grandfather Charles Bower’s baptism on 2 October 1828 in England.[4]  I knew it was there from the online index.  When I got the microfilm reels of the church records it covered the years 1772 – 1905.  I started looking for anyone and everyone with the last name Bowers.  I found my third great grandparents Bonnet Bowers and Eliza Linford marriage which stated that Eliza was a widow.[5]   I also found baptism records for a Richard,[6] Robert[7] and Eliza Bowers[8] born to Bonnet and Eliza Bowers.  I never found a William Bowers that was a son of Bonnet and Eliza.  Along the way, I found Eliza in the marriage banns to Robert Linford.[9]  I also found two children she had with her first husband.  William was baptized 28 August 1811,[10] and Elizabeth was baptized November 30, 1814.[11] I made copies of all the pages that listed these events.  I then came home and entered the Bowers information into my family tree.  I filed the papers in my file cabinet under their family name and moved on to another branch.

A couple of weeks ago I decided to start scanning documents that I have collected over the years into my computer.  I started with the Bowers folder because it is the first one in my file cabinet.  As I was scanning them into the computer, I was looking over them again, when I came across the name William Linford born in 1811 to Eliza and her first husband.[12]  I guess it pays to take a second look at documents because at that moment it struck me that if William lived he would be a step brother to my great-great grandfather Charles.  Could this be the brother William mentioned in the Obituary?  The next thing I did was a search on William Linford.  The first thing in that popped up was the 1850 census which had a William Linfor (spelled without the d) living in Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois.[13]  So this was most likely brother, William, and this why Charles ended up in Ottawa, Illinois.  Finding out why Charles ended up in Ottawa, Illinois was a thrill for me.  Now I wonder what drew William to Ottawa, Illinois.

I continued to search for William Linfor(d) and found out the following information. He married Dinah Essaby in 1833.[14]  They had four children John 1837, William 1840, Sarah 1844, Robert 1846.[15]  They came to the US 22 August 1849 and to Ottawa, Illinois on 1 October 1849.[16]  In 1851 William applied for citizenship and in 1854 he became a citizen of the United States.[17]  He worked as a Sexton at the West Ottawa Cemetery until the family moved to Section 20 in Allen Township, LaSalle County, Illinois in 1856.  William farmed the land until 1879 when Dinah died and he moved to Syracuse, New York.[18]

In 1911 William Linfor was living at 1516 Grape Street in Syracuse, New York.  At the age of 99 he was just beginning to carry a cane.  The previous winter he was seen climbing a ladder to clean snow the roof of his house.  He attributed his long life to never eating beyond what he knew he could digest.  He was still in possession of all his faculties except his hearing.[19] William Linfor died on 28 January 1912 of pleurisy at the ripe old age of 100.[20] 

John served in the Civil War, and upon return home he continued to live and work on the family farm.  In 1865 he married Martha E. Patton, and they had two children, Flossie E. and Ida L.  Flossie married John Blair of Allen Township and they had one Child, Flossie.  Ida L. married Otto Strobel also of Allen Township and they had two children Martha C. and William O.[21]

Robert also served in the Civil War. After the war he returned home to farm with John.  In 1875 Robert started farming his own tract of 160 acres.  In 1867 he married Cynthia Alice Isgrig, and they had four children Carrie, Lottie, John W, Mabel.  Carrie married West Grant of Chicago, Illinois and Lottie married A. Berge of Allen Township. [22] 

William (Son) moved to Walnut, Iowa and married Lodema.  They had five children Cora S, William G, Robert, Charles, and Claud.[23] [24] 

Sarah Linfor Golder died in Kansas in 1873.[25]

There is still more searching to do as I would like to continue down to today’s descendants.


[1] Obituary for Charles Bowers; Republican Times  (Ottawa, LaSalle County, Illinois) 18 February 1897.

[2]United States Census; Year: 1900; Place: Village of Danforth, Onondaga, New York; enumeration District: 161 District 2 Scyracuse City Ward 19, Onondaga, New York; Page: 3B; Family; 63; NARA Publication Film T623; Microfilm: 1241138.

[3]New York State Census; Year 1892; Place: Syracuse, Onondaga, New York; Ward: 7; enumeration District: 9; Image: 10.

[4] Baptism Record for Charles Bowers 2 October, 1828; Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers, Baptisms 1813 – 1841 Vol 3, Page 112, No 891;  Microfilmed by Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs; filmed 26 July 1988, film #13640109, film Unit 2161, MCD 2, Roll # 5.

[5] Marriage Record for Bonnet Bowers and Eliza Linford  7 April 1822; Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers, Marriages 1813 – 1838 volume 4 Page 35; Microfilmed by Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs; filmed August 1988, film #13640109, film unit ser no 2161 MCD 2 Roll #11.

[6] Baptism Record for Richard Bowers 28 April 1822; Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers, Baptism 1813 – 1841 Vol e, Page 68, No 539; ;  Microfilmed by Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs; filmed 26 July 1988, film #13640109, film Unit 2161, MCD 2, Roll # 5.

[7] Baptism Record for Robert Bowers 25 February 1825; Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers, Baptism 1813 – 1841 Vol 3 Page 90 No 713; Microfilmed by Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs; filmed 26 July 1988, film #13640109, film Unit 2161, MCD 2, Roll # 5.

[8] Baptism Record for Eliza Bowers 18 June 1827; Terrington St Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers, Baptism 1813 – 1841 Vol 3 Page 105 No 835; Microfilmed by Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs; filmed 26 July 1988, film #13640109, film Unit 2161, MCD 2, Roll # 5.

[9] Marriage Banns for Robert Linford and Elizabeth Huggleson dated 7 day October 1810, 14 October, 1810, and 21 October 1810, Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers, Banns 1806 – 1905, Item 4, Vol. 1, Page 8, no 39; Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah at the Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, cambs; filmed 9 August 1988, film #13640109, film unit ser. No 2161 MCD 2, Roll # 12

[10] Baptism for William Linford 28 August 1811; Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Register Baptism and Burials 1772 – 1812  Item 2; Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs., filmed 26 July 1988, Film Number 13640109, film unit # 2161 NCD 2 Roll # 5.

[11] Baptism Record for Elizabeth Linford 30 November 1814; Terrington St Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Registers Baptisms 1813 – 1841 Vol 3, # 114; Microfilmed by Genealogical Society Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs; filmed 26 July 1988, film #13640109, film Unit 2161, MCD 2, Roll # 5.

[12] Baptism for William Linford 28 August 1811; Terrington St. Clement, Norfolk, England; Parish Register Baptism and Burials 1772 – 1812  Item 2; Microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Salt Lake City, Utah at Wisbech and Fenland Museum, Wisbech, Cambs., filmed 26 July 1988, Film Number 13640109, film unit # 2161 NCD 2 Roll # 5

[13]  Year: 1850; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; roll: M432_115; Page: 269B; Image: 191.

[14] “England, Marriages, 1538 – 1973,” Index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/Pal:MM9.1.1/NF4Q-JXW: accessed 18 Nov 2012), William Linfor and Dinah Essaby, 1833; citing reference 2:3GJG91D, FLH microfilm 1542146.

[15] Year: 1850; Census Place: Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois; roll: M432_115; Page: 269B; Image: 191

[16] Biographical and Genealogy Record of LaSalleCountyIllinois(Google eBook) (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), p. 227.

[17] National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D. C.; Soundex Index to Naturalization Petitions for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization service District 9 1840 – 1950 (M1285); microfilm Serial: M1285; Microfilm Roll 112

[18] Biographical and Genealogy Record of LaSalleCountyIllinois(Google eBook) (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), p. 224 & 227.

[19] Henley B. J., The Art of Longevity (Google eBook) (Syracuse, N.Y, 1911), p. 223 & 224.

[20] Health News. Monthly Bulletin (Google ebook) (New York State Division of Public Health Education, Albany, New York), New Series, Vol. VIII, No 1, Full Series Vol. XXIX No 1,  January 1013

[21] Biographical and Genealogy Record of LaSalleCountyIllinois(Google eBook) (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), p. 227 & 228.

[22] Biographical and Genealogy Record of LaSalleCountyIllinois(Google eBook) (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), p. 224 & 225.

[23] Biographical and Genealogy Record of LaSalleCountyIllinois(Google eBook) (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), p. 224.

[24]United States Census; Year: 1880; Place: Walnut, Pottawatomie, Iowa; Roll: 361; Family History Film: 1254361; Page: 192D; Enumeration District: 190; Image 0387

[25] Biographical and Genealogy Record of LaSalleCountyIllinois(Google eBook) (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, 1900), p. 227.

Copyright © 2012 Gail Grunst

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