I Get Many Hours of Enjoyment From Researching My Roots
More Direct Line Ancestors
The Lett, Johnson, Fox, and Moyers Families
- Caroline (Johnson) Lett
- Charles H. and Walter Theodore Lett
- The Marriage Certificate of Walter Theodore and Ella Matilda (Johnson) Lett
- Probably Catherine Johnson
- Hannah Marie (Honson) Johnson
- Nathaniel Fox
- Kitturah (McFarlend) Fox
- Samuel Nelson and Lucinda Hopkins (Deen) Moyers
- George Washington Earl Moyers and His Wife, Rebecca Ellen (Pence) Moyers
Lett and Johnson Families
(Photo 1, all numbers are counted left to right:) Caroline (Johnson) Lett, my 2nd great-grandmother, was born in Sweden on July 16, 1824. Her father's name is unknown. Her mother was Catherine "Anna" (1794-1879). Caroline married Charles H. Lett in 1849 in Sweden, and they immediately emigrated to the United States, as their first son, John A. Lett was born that year during the trip, while they were at sea. Caroline would become the mother of 9 children; two died in infancy and their names are not known. The other seven were: John A., William A., Josephine, Emma Christine, Frank H., James A., and my great-grandfather, Walter Theodore Lett.
(Photo 2:) Charles H. Lett, my 2nd great-grandfather, was born in Sweden September 5, 1819. He married Caroline Johnson in 1849, whereupon they moved to the U.S., along with Caroline's mother, Catherine "Anna" Johnson. They settled in Iowa. When the Letts were counted in the 1850 census after their arrival in the U.S., they had the name "Anderson," so it is likely that Lett was not their surname used in Sweden (Swedish surname naming conventions in the 19th century were quite different from what we use.) In 1850 they can be found in the federal census listed as living in Jefferson County, Iowa. By 1860, they were named "Lett" and had settled in Des Moines County. Charles had a farm in Huron Township by 1870. he died in Morning Sun, Iowa, in 1905.
(Photos 2 & 3:) Walter Theodore Lett, my great-grandfather, was the youngest child in the family. He was born in 1866 and died in 1953, so I assume he met me as a baby. He married Ella Johnson, and was the father of two children, who were raised near Mediapolis, Iowa. Their daughter Bertha Leota Lett was my grandmother (she was discussed more fully on the first page of information on my direct ancestors in the paternal Brumm section). Son Charles William "Charlie" Lett was six years younger than Bertha, born in 1899. He died before his 19th birthday in 1918 from the Spanish flu epidemic. Ella died in 1930, probably of cancer. Walter had a short-lived remarriage to an unknown woman some years after Ella's death. Apparently this woman was a gold digger.
I do not know if Walter's mother and grandmother's family (Caroline and Catherine Johnson) were related to the family of his wife, Ella Matilda Johnson. As I don't have any concrete information from the time these families were in Sweden, I couldn't say for sure one way or the other. I do know a very large number of Swedish families settled near Mediapolis in the 1800s, and many of these people were related.
(Photo 3:) Walter Lett and Ella Johnson were married March 16, 1892 in Burlington, Iowa. One of the family artifacts I inherited from my father was a framed original of their very ornate marriage certificate, which is a great family treasure. The scan above of this document is small and illegible, but a much larger version of it is here
My great-grandmother, Ella Matilda Johnson, was born October 14, 1870, and died just after her sixtieth birthday on October 16, 1930. I feel very fortunate to have several photographs of her, and several more ("tintypes" even) that may have been Ella. Also on the main genealogy site here there are a few postcards exchanged between her and members of her family.
(Photo 4:) Catherine "Anna" Johnson was the mother of Caroline (Johnson) Lett. She was apparently a widow before the family moved to America in 1849, or else her husband died before the time of the 1850 federal census. Several relatives of mine have visited her grave site in Des Moines County, Iowa. Born in 1794, she lived to the ripe age of 84, which was fairly uncommon in the 19th century. She must have been a healthy woman! It is not certain that the photograph I contributed as she, the woman in the bonnet clutching her Bible, actually is Catherine. It is my best educated guess for who the woman is. I have it, and it's in reality very small, only a few inches by a few inches in size, and in a very brilliant gold frame. (Note: Catherine was my 3rd great-grandmother. if the photograph is of her, it is the only picture I have of a third great-grandparent.)
(Photo 5:) Hannah Marie Johnson, née Honson, was my second great-grandmother and the mother of Ella Matilda (Johnson) Lett. She was born July 18, 1845 in Sweden, and died Christmas season, December 17, 1915, in Kossuth, Iowa. Kossuth was a little town just outside of Mediapolis; now it is mostly remembered by a cemetery bearing its name. Hannah married Samuel Edmond Johnson (1848-1892) in 1866, before leaving Sweden. They, as the Letts, apparently immediately moved to America, where my great-grandmother, Ella, was born in 1870. There were 9 other children in the family, several of whom died very young, and several others who married but never had children.
Hannah lived in a small house in Kossuth, and after the death of a daughter-in-law, lived there with a son and grandson, whom she helped raise.
When I was a little boy, I did meet one member of Hannah and Samuel Johnson's immediate family, my great-grandaunt, Nettie Marie (Johnson) Paddock. She lived in Malden, Illinois. The memories are very distant and blurry, though I think I do remember it at all because she used kerosene lamps for light and had no electricity. This evidently seemed unique enough to me to store away for future reference.
Fox and Moyers Families
(Photo 6) Nathaniel Fox was a second great-grandfather of mine. Other researchers and I have traced his ancestry traced back until almost before time began, but I feel fairly confident of it only as far back as about 800 A.D. Nathaniel's family had connections into the English royal family (and earlier when they were the Normans). One of his 22nd great grandfathers was William the Conqueror (who was ergo my 26th great grandfather). Continuing to name drop, the beheading of Anne Boleyn in 1536 killed one of my 11th great-grandaunts.
Nathaniel was born June 1, 1805, in King William County, Virginia. His father was Major Nathaniel Fox (1763-1825) and mother Mary Carver King (≅ 1767-1806). Nathaniel ("Jr"). married Kitturah McFarland in 1829, probably in Ohio, which is where she was born as well as their first children. They moved to Henry County, Iowa, between 1837-1839, and there he became one of the first land owners in New London Township. In 1840, he filed for ownership of land in Sections 29 and 30.
Nathaniel and Kitturah had four children by the time of the move to Iowa, and six more were born afterwards. His youngest daughter, born in 1851, was Ruth Ellen, who was my great-grandmother (she married Charles Pearsey Walker).
Kitturah died in 1877, and at some point the widower went to Nebraska where a daughter, Elizabeth McFarland (Fox) Sampson, lived. Nathaniel died in Greenwood, Nebraska, in 1887.
(Photo 7:) Though I have her husband, Nathaniel Fox's ancestral line traced back the furthest of any in my database, I know very little about his wife, Kitturah's family, not even her parents' names. I made a potential connection to another McFarland family a number of years back, another researcher from that family agreed we had a likely match, but there was no way we could find to really prove it.
Kitturah McFarland was born in 1812 in Ohio, and died, as previously mentioned, in 1877 in Henry County, Iowa. She is buried at the Burge Cemetery, near New London. She was the mother of James M., John McFarland, William H., Elizabeth McFarland, Sarah Ann, Delilah T., Charles McC., Thomas, Maria R. and Ruth Ellen Fox. Kitturah bears a fair likeness to a great aunt of mine, Flossie (Walker) Russell. I feel like I know Kitturah a bit better than most of my 19th century ancestors, as several letters exist that she sent to her daughter, Elizabeth Sampson, and reading these gives me a sense of what she may have been like as a person. Once I thought people born in 1812 were ancient, genealogy has helped me understand how really very close generations are, and makes time expanses seem a lot less.
(Photo 8:) Samuel Nelson Moyers and his wife, Lucinda Hopkins (Deen) Moyers, were (also) 2nd great-grandparents. Sam was born near Carrollton, Illinois, in 1827 to Jacob Moyers (1797-1863) and Sarah Walker (Rogers) Moyers (1802-1867). He was the fourth of nine children. His father was a native of Pennsylvania, and his mother of Kentucky. A large group of Moyers families apparently came out of Pennsylvania and settled near Cincinnati, Ohio in the early 19th century. I am a descendant of that group. Their exact origin is unknown, for the name Moyers does not exist in Europe. It seems to be a variant on Meyers, as many spellings more closely approximating that crop up in official records. An older cousin of mine remarked that the family in the earlier part of the 20th century still pronounced the name as if it were Meyers
Jacob Moyers moved to Greene County, Illinois, from Ohio by 1830, although I don't really know exactly when, or if he was alone or with other family. He moved much of his own family north into Iowa by 1840, where they settled in Des Moines County. Sam, age 3 at the time, was essentially raised in Iowa. He married Lucy Deen in 1846, and they were the parents of four children: Marietta "Margarett" was the oldest, who died at age fourteen. My great-grandfather, George Moyers was next, followed by Sarah Elizabeth and Jacob Nelson Moyers. Sam lived to age 92, dying in 1920 (some of the family is quite long-lived: his son Jacob died in 1951 a few weeks before his 99th birthday).
The Moyers were Methodists, and though Sam and Lucy had only four children, three into adulthood, their children were quite prolific. A photograph from their 50th wedding anniversary (below) shows a mighty glob of extended family humanity, including many in the picture whom I really would love to identify but likely never will. (Thankfully a fair number of the attendees are identifiable.)
Lucinda Hopkins "Lucy" Deen was born June 15, 1823 in Lewis County, Virginia (later to be part of West Virginia). Her parents were Jacob D. Deen (1799-1866) and Judith "Judy" Cox (1797-1888). Lucy was the second child of seven in the family. The Deens moved in November 1844 from Virginia to Iowa, and many of the descendants of this family still reside there today. The family name is alternatively spelled "Dean" and "Deen," and apparently this is not just a spelling error passed on from the 19th century, but was intentionally differentiated.
Lucy and Sam celebrated a 60th wedding anniversary in 1906; she died 3 years later in 1909. The photograph below is from 1896, their 50th anniversary:
(Photo 9:) George Washington Earl Moyers was my great-grandfather, and the oldest son of Sam and Lucy (Deen) Moyers. He was born on April 12, 1849 in Sperry (Des Moines County), Iowa. At age 20 he married Rebecca Ellen Pence, who was two years and two days older than he. Immediately after their marriage they lived near Burlington (Iowa), but as their family grew, they made a move to Kansas (Edwards County and Marion County), about 1880, where they remained for several years until home called them and they returned to Iowa and settled in Louisa County. In 1885 a daughter died and was buried in Iowa, so they had returned from Kansas before that unfortunate family event occurred. George and Rebecca were parents of ten children. My grandmother, Hattie Mae "Harriett" Moyers, was the fourth child born in the family, in 1876.
After Rebecca's death 1919, George remarried Mary (Smith) Rogers in 1920, at the same time his son, Edward Nelson Moyers, was married. Mary apparently died soon thereafter, and is not ever mentioned in the family history. George died in 1926 at the home of a widowed daughter in Burlington.
Rebecca Ellen (Pence) Moyers, my great-grandmother, was born in Virginia in 1847, the third daughter (and child) of Jonathan S. Pence and Mary "Polly" Tutwiler. Polly died the year after Rebecca's birth and her father remarried (Elizabeth Shoemaker). He died of exposure in 1865 during the Civil War in Alexandria, Virginia. In 1866, Rebecca and her sister, Mary V. (Pence) Dean, whose husband happened to be a relative of Lucinda Hopkins (Deen) Moyers, moved to Iowa. Rebecca settled in Southeast Iowa, Mary and Martin in Northwest Iowa.
Several photos of Rebecca exist, and I have a couple of them in the artifacts I inherited as my parents died. Though not an uncommon occurrence in the realm of genetics, her face has a sense of familiarity to it, reminding me of other family members I knew as I grew up.