Not long ago I sent a letter to the people who currently own the farm my 3rd great grandfather purchased in the 1850’s. Part of me expected to never hear back from them, part of me expected a polite “we don’t have anything for you”. What I never expected is that they would not only be interested in the history of the farm but would go to the local library and dig up information without my every asking!
They have provided me with so much information I don’t know where to begin, and they have more coming in the next couple of days. I can never thank them enough for the help they have provided me.
Sometime Between 1846 and 1852 my 3rd Great Grandfather packed up his family and migrated from Canada to the new American state of Iowa. It wasn’t an easy trip; travel by horse drawn wagon would have been slow; wagon’s had no supsension making the ride over what were really nothing more than dirt paths rough on anyone riding in them. But the lure of good farm land was too good to pass up.
Daniel settled his family in what is now New Providence on 80 acres of land he obtained from the US Government under the land act of 1820. He put his $100 and paid $1.25 per acre. Daniel finished paying off the land in 1855. The land stayed in family until 1911 when it was sold to pay off debts associated with Rebecca’s estate.
The land consisted of the West 1/2 of the South East Quarter of Section 5, in township 86 North, Range 20 West. The land is still used for farming to day.
Growing up I never really knew anything about my family history. My mother never talked about her family and I really had no contact with my father. The only family I knew was my step-father’s mother and grandmother, and my mother’s parents – and I was okay with that until one day in the late 1990’s my sone came to me and asked about our family because he needed to make up a family tree. So began my journey to discover who my ancestors were.
I started by looking for my Father’s side of the family. I had recently made contact with his sisters who provided with enough information to get started. I used whatever limited resources I could find for free on the internet though eventually I did sign up for Ancestry.com.
I was able to trace my father’s side of the family back to 1821. My 3rd Great Grandfather was a man named Daniel Slack who was born in Leeds Ontario. I later found a diary written by a woman who was his granddather; I made contact with the person who posted it and he provided me with the only photographs I have of Daniel, his wife Rebecca Benedict and their son Philip. I learned that my own connect is through the 8th of the 10 children, Jesse Slack.
Jesse was born in 1856, not long after the family had moved to an 80-acre farm in Iowa. Jesse eventually moved to Oregon with his wife Emma Hobson. Jesse and Emma had four children, 2 boys and 2 girls. My great grandfather was the second child, Dale Slack. Dale married a girl from Kentucy, Mattie Belle Taylor. My grandfather Glen was their first child.
Glen was born in Wellington Kansas in 1906. He eventually made his way to California where he met and married my grandmother, Deloras Myatt. My own father was their only son, Robert Lee Slack.
My mother’s side of the family was originally from Germany. My maternal 2nd Great Grandfather was a man named Ignatius Winterhalter who came to America in 1822. My grandfather, Lonnie Winterhalter, was born in 1914 in Kansas City, Kansas. My grandmother was Elsie Westphal. Lonnie and Elsie had 3 daughters. Their first child I have found no record of other than on my mother’s birth certificate where she is listed as Elsie’s second child. My Mother was born in 1941; Lona Winterhalter.
Robert Slack and Lona Winterhalter ran off to Las Vegas to get married in October 1959. On the trip back their car broke down and they had to call my mom’s grandfather to come get them. I was born in 1960, the day after my mother’s 19th birthday.