A Civil War Soldier: Sgt. Henry LYTON (a.k.a. George TURK) (1836 – 1874)

How Related: My husband’s 2nd-great-grandfather

Born: George TURK, 1836, Ontario, Canada (possibly in Ottawa, Carleton County)

Parents: Samuel TURK (b. 1806) and Lydia GILLETT (b. 1808)

Siblings: George/Henry was the third of eleven children:

  • Reuben, a.k.a. Henry GILLETT (c. 1832 – 1893)
  • John (1835 – 1904)
  • Rice (b. 1837)
  • Jane (1840 – 1910)
  • William Wellington (1842 – 1917)
  • Washington (b. 1843)
  • Cinderella (b. 1845)
  • Avery (b. 1846)
  • Clarissa (b. 1848)
  • Almira (b. 1849)

Married: Mariah Emily DAILEY (1849 – 1935) in August 1868 in Thurman, Fremont Co., Iowa

Children: Charles Sanford (1870 – 1871), Agnes (1872 – 1898), and my husband’s great-grandmother, Emma Alice LYTON (1874 – 1959)

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of George Turk, a.k.a Henry Lyton. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication T289. Digital image purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].

Enlisted: 9 October 1861 at Marshall, Michigan in Co. A, 1st Michigan Engineers; promoted to Full Corporal on 19 March 1864; promoted to Full Sergeant on 1 November 1864. Distinguished Service.

Side served: Union

Mustered Out: 22 September 1865, Nashville, Tennessee

Biography or Information of Interest: For many years, Henry LYTON was an enigma. About a year-and-a-half ago, my husband’s sister-in-law found information online that uncovered the fact that LYTON was a pseudonym. I have no idea why George TURK changed his name to Henry LYTON; curiously, his older brother Rueben TURK changed his name to Henry GILLETT. The Gillett surname is understandable, given that this was their mother’s maiden name. But why LYTON? We may never know, just as I do not know why my step-ancestor Washington Foster JUDD changed his name to Charles F. KING.

George/Henry died just about a month before his youngest daughter Emma was born. His widow Mariah applied for a minor’s pension in Emma’s name in 1888, even though she had remarried. Since I don’t have a copy of the application, I don’t know if it was approved or denied. Mysteries, enigmas, puzzles…!

Died: February 1874, Thurman, Fremont Co., Iowa

Buried: probably in the Thurman Cemetery, Thurman, Fremont Co., Iowa

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A Civil War Soldier: Sgt. Henry LYTON (a.k.a. George TURK) (1836 – 1874)

How Related: My husband’s 2nd-great-grandfather

Born: George TURK, 1836, Ontario, Canada (possibly in Ottawa, Carleton County)

Parents: Samuel TURK (b. 1806) and Lydia GILLETT (b. 1808)

Siblings: George/Henry was the third of eleven children:

  • Reuben, a.k.a. Henry GILLETT (c. 1832 – 1893)
  • John (1835 – 1904)
  • Rice (b. 1837)
  • Jane (1840 – 1910)
  • William Wellington (1842 – 1917)
  • Washington (b. 1843)
  • Cinderella (b. 1845)
  • Avery (b. 1846)
  • Clarissa (b. 1848)
  • Almira (b. 1849)

Married: Mariah Emily DAILEY (1849 – 1935) in August 1868 in Thurman, Fremont Co., Iowa

Children: Charles Sanford (1870 – 1871), Agnes (1872 – 1898), and my husband’s great-grandmother, Emma Alice LYTON (1874 – 1959)

Source: Civil War Pension Index Card of George Turk, a.k.a Henry Lyton. Organization Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861 and 1900. National Archives and Records Administration. Publication T289. Digital image purchased at Footnote [http://www.footnote.com/].

Enlisted: 9 October 1861 at Marshall, Michigan in Co. A, 1st Michigan Engineers; promoted to Full Corporal on 19 March 1864; promoted to Full Sergeant on 1 November 1864. Distinguished Service.

Side served: Union

Mustered Out: 22 September 1865, Nashville, Tennessee

Biography or Information of Interest: For many years, Henry LYTON was an enigma. About a year-and-a-half ago, my husband’s sister-in-law found information online that uncovered the fact that LYTON was a pseudonym. I have no idea why George TURK changed his name to Henry LYTON; curiously, his older brother Rueben TURK changed his name to Henry GILLETT. The Gillett surname is understandable, given that this was their mother’s maiden name. But why LYTON? We may never know, just as I do not know why my step-ancestor Washington Foster JUDD changed his name to Charles F. KING.

George/Henry died just about a month before his youngest daughter Emma was born. His widow Mariah applied for a minor’s pension in Emma’s name in 1888, even though she had remarried. Since I don’t have a copy of the application, I don’t know if it was approved or denied. Mysteries, enigmas, puzzles…!

Died: February 1874, Thurman, Fremont Co., Iowa

Buried: probably in the Thurman Cemetery, Thurman, Fremont Co., Iowa

Emma Alice (LYTON) CHAPLIN and Great-grandchildren

Source: Chaplin, Emma Alice Lyton with great-grandchildren. Photograph. C. late 1957 – early 1958. Original photograph in the possession of Alice Chaplin Midkiff. Vancouver, Washington. 2008.

This is one of only two photographs that I know about of Emma Alice (LYTON) CHAPLIN, my mother-in-law’s paternal grandmother. In this photograph, she is holding three of four great-grandchildren that were born to my mother-in-law and her two siblings in the spring of 1957. The three great-grandchildren are my husband, Norman Jon MIDIFF, and his twin girl cousins [names withheld for privacy] born to his maternal aunt and her husband. His maternal uncle and his wife also had a son born that same year, but they lived in California and were not able to attend this visit. At the same time, a four-generation photo was taken:

Source: Four-generations of the Lyton-Chaplin Family. Photograph. C. late 1957 – early 1958. Original photograph in the possession of Alice Chaplin Midkiff. Vancouver, Washington. 2008.

In the front row, left to right are my husband’s maternal grandfather, Forrest L. “Frank” CHAPLIN and his mother, Emma. I believe my husband, Norm, is sitting in his grandfather’s lap. In the back row are my mother-in-law and her sister.

Emma Alice LYTON was born 31 March 1874 in Thurmon, Fremont Co., Iowa to Mariah Emily (DAILEY) LYTON. Her father, Henry LYTON, had died the month previously. Henry was actually George TURK, born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, who had come to the United States and joined the Union Army, changing his name along the way for some reason (a not-so-unusual occurrence among Civil War soldiers, I’ve discovered). He and Mariah had three children: Charles Sanford (1870 – 1871), Agnes (1872 – 1898), and Emma Alice LYTON.

When Emma was an infant, her mother married a German immigrant, John Christopher KLINDER. They had six more children: “Nancy” Florence (1876 – 1935), Laura Luella (1879 – 1962), Clara Amy (1881 – 1970), Ada (1884 – 1917), Samuel Ivory Lewis (1886 – 1970), and Susie KLINDER (1889 – 1977).

Around 1891, Emma married Albert Francis CHAPLIN (1868 – 1946), probably in Iowa. Together they had six children, nearly every child being born in a different community:

  • *John William “Bill” (1892 – 1970), Surprise, Butler Co., Nebraska
  • *Charles Cornelius (1893 – 1973), Percival, Fremont Co., Iowa
  • *Nellie Susan (1895 – 1969), McPaul, Fremont Co., Iowa
  • *Glen Albert (1898 – 1966), Vermillion, Clay Co., South Dakota
  • *Forrest L. “Frank” (1901 – 1977), Yankton, Yankton Co., South Dakota
  • *Velma Fern CHAPLIN (1903 – 1997), Yankton, Yankton Co., South Dakota

Additionally, the family were found in Lamar, Prowers Co., Colorado when the 1910 U.S. Federal Census was taken and enumerated in Jaqua Twp., Cheyenne Co., Kansas in 1920. It’s likely they were in Kansas so that Albert could care for his widowed mother and four older single brothers, all of whom died of strokes within the next decade. The family also lived for a time in Oklahoma, probably in Hydro, Caddo County, where Emma’s mother, step-father, and half-siblings had moved in 1886.

Emma and Albert’s youngest child, Velma, wrote “A History of the Chaplin Family,” and she recounts that the family made all their moves by covered wagon, even into the twentieth century. She wrote that these moves were great adventures for the children, but it must have been difficult for Emma to be raising a family and continuously following her husband back and forth across the Rockies and Great Plains. In 1930, with the children all grown, the couple was living in South Fruitland, Payette Co., Idaho, and five years later in the community of Payette, same county. By 1946, they had settled in the Yakima Valley of Washington State, and there Albert died in the City of Yakima. Emma moved to Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregan, probably to be near her daughter Nellie and son-in-law, George RICE. The above photographs were likely taken at her home at 6224 Southeast 111th Avenue in Portland. She passed away in that city nearly two years later on 22 Jul 1959 and was buried next to her husband at Terrace Heights Memorial Park, Yakima, Yakima Co., Washington.

From her birth to a Civil War veteran, to traveling the West by covered wagon, to the advent of the space age, her life spanned a time of great change in America.

Emma Alice (LYTON) CHAPLIN and Great-grandchildren

Source: Chaplin, Emma Alice Lyton with great-grandchildren. Photograph. C. late 1957 – early 1958. Original photograph in the possession of Alice Chaplin Midkiff. Vancouver, Washington. 2008.

This is one of only two photographs that I know about of Emma Alice (LYTON) CHAPLIN, my mother-in-law’s paternal grandmother. In this photograph, she is holding three of four great-grandchildren that were born to my mother-in-law and her two siblings in the spring of 1957. The three great-grandchildren are my husband, Norman Jon MIDIFF, and his twin girl cousins [names withheld for privacy] born to his maternal aunt and her husband. His maternal uncle and his wife also had a son born that same year, but they lived in California and were not able to attend this visit. At the same time, a four-generation photo was taken:

Source: Four-generations of the Lyton-Chaplin Family. Photograph. C. late 1957 – early 1958. Original photograph in the possession of Alice Chaplin Midkiff. Vancouver, Washington. 2008.

In the front row, left to right are my husband’s maternal grandfather, Forrest L. “Frank” CHAPLIN and his mother, Emma. I believe my husband, Norm, is sitting in his grandfather’s lap. In the back row are my mother-in-law and her sister.

Emma Alice LYTON was born 31 March 1874 in Thurmon, Fremont Co., Iowa to Mariah Emily (DAILEY) LYTON. Her father, Henry LYTON, had died the month previously. Henry was actually George TURK, born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, who had come to the United States and joined the Union Army, changing his name along the way for some reason (a not-so-unusual occurrence among Civil War soldiers, I’ve discovered). He and Mariah had three children: Charles Sanford (1870 – 1871), Agnes (1872 – 1898), and Emma Alice LYTON.

When Emma was an infant, her mother married a German immigrant, John Christopher KLINDER. They had six more children: “Nancy” Florence (1876 – 1935), Laura Luella (1879 – 1962), Clara Amy (1881 – 1970), Ada (1884 – 1917), Samuel Ivory Lewis (1886 – 1970), and Susie KLINDER (1889 – 1977).

Around 1891, Emma married Albert Francis CHAPLIN (1868 – 1946), probably in Iowa. Together they had six children, nearly every child being born in a different community:

  • *John William “Bill” (1892 – 1970), Surprise, Butler Co., Nebraska
  • *Charles Cornelius (1893 – 1973), Percival, Fremont Co., Iowa
  • *Nellie Susan (1895 – 1969), McPaul, Fremont Co., Iowa
  • *Glen Albert (1898 – 1966), Vermillion, Clay Co., South Dakota
  • *Forrest L. “Frank” (1901 – 1977), Yankton, Yankton Co., South Dakota
  • *Velma Fern CHAPLIN (1903 – 1997), Yankton, Yankton Co., South Dakota

Additionally, the family were found in Lamar, Prowers Co., Colorado when the 1910 U.S. Federal Census was taken and enumerated in Jaqua Twp., Cheyenne Co., Kansas in 1920. It’s likely they were in Kansas so that Albert could care for his widowed mother and four older single brothers, all of whom died of strokes within the next decade. The family also lived for a time in Oklahoma, probably in Hydro, Caddo County, where Emma’s mother, step-father, and half-siblings had moved in 1886.

Emma and Albert’s youngest child, Velma, wrote “A History of the Chaplin Family,” and she recounts that the family made all their moves by covered wagon, even into the twentieth century. She wrote that these moves were great adventures for the children, but it must have been difficult for Emma to be raising a family and continuously following her husband back and forth across the Rockies and Great Plains. In 1930, with the children all grown, the couple was living in South Fruitland, Payette Co., Idaho, and five years later in the community of Payette, same county. By 1946, they had settled in the Yakima Valley of Washington State, and there Albert died in the City of Yakima. Emma moved to Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregan, probably to be near her daughter Nellie and son-in-law, George RICE. The above photographs were likely taken at her home at 6224 Southeast 111th Avenue in Portland. She passed away in that city nearly two years later on 22 Jul 1959 and was buried next to her husband at Terrace Heights Memorial Park, Yakima, Yakima Co., Washington.

From her birth to a Civil War veteran, to traveling the West by covered wagon, to the advent of the space age, her life spanned a time of great change in America.

Wordless Wednesday: Emma Alice (LYTON) CHAPLIN and great-grandchildren

Source: Chaplin, Emma Alice Lyton with great-grandchildren. Photograph. C. late 1957 – early 1958. Original photograph in the possession of Alice Chaplin Midkiff. Vancouver, Washington. 2008.

Wordless Wednesday: Emma Alice (LYTON) CHAPLIN and great-grandchildren

Source: Chaplin, Emma Alice Lyton with great-grandchildren. Photograph. C. late 1957 – early 1958. Original photograph in the possession of Alice Chaplin Midkiff. Vancouver, Washington. 2008.

Happy Canada Day!

To my Canadian relatives, friends and readers, I wish a Happy Canada Day!

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My ancestral connections to Canada are as follows:

  • My father was born in Edmonton, Alberta while his father and uncle were stationed there with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II (back in the day when being born in a U.S. military hospital on foreign soil did not automatically qualify you for American citizenship). Dad became a U.S. citizen when he was 16. When I was a kid, I used to tease him that he could never become the President of the United States. I don’t think that was ever a disappointment for him…! Dad also had many Canadian ancestors.
  • On his father’s side, Richard John WILKINSON, b. c. 1815 in Yorkshire, England, immigrated to Canada and lived in what is now Whitchurch, York Co., Ontario. His wife, Mary TERRY, a.k.a. Mary LAMOREAUX, may have been French-Canadian…or she may have been born in New Brunswick…or she may have been born to a Loyalist family from New Jersey. It’s one of those vague family stories that I would love to focus on and get documented and clarified!
  • Richard and Mary’s son John WILKINSON married Mahala SAYERS, who was the daughter of Scots-Irish immigrants, John Henry SAYERS and Mary CAHOON. John SAYER’s family came to Athol Township, Prince Edward Co. (not to be confused with Prince Edward Island), Ontario from Letterkenny, County Donegal, Ireland in the mid-1830s, in several trips. Mary CAHOON’s father was Preston CAHOON, and our line dead-ends there. John and Mahala (SAYERS) WILKINSON immigrated around 1880 – 1881 to Musekgon County, Michigan along with many of her siblings, thereby missing both the 1880 U.S. Federal Census and the 1881 Canadian Census (they were sneaky like that!). Mahala was alive when her great-grandson Robert Lewis ROBBINS (my paternal grandfather) was born, and he had a few memories of her to share with me.
  • On dad’s mother’s side, her paternal YORK and SWEERS ancestors took advantage of offers of homesteading land that were provided by the Canadian goverment during the early 19th century. We know that the SWEERS family emigrated to Chippewa Creek, Welland County, Ontario from Worcester, Washington County, Vermont in May 1809, and that the YORKs from Bath, Stueben County, New York were there around the same time. This became a problem for these American citizens when the War of 1812 broke out. Ancestor Daniel SWEARS, III, escaped across the Niagara River to join up with a New York regiment. Ancestor Jeremiah F. YORK (Daniel’s future son-in-law) and his brother Stephen VanRensselaer YORK were pressed into the 3rd Regiment of the Lincoln Militia of the British army, but also managed to escape to Canadaigua, Cattaraugus County, New York to join Captain Justus P. Spencer’s militia there. The SWEERS and YORK families eventually settled in the Town of Clarence, Erie County, New York, and later Atlas Township, Genesee County, Michigan.
  • Grandma’s paternal great-grandfather, Daniel J. MacARTHUR was born in Glengarry County, Ontario in 1827, a grandson of immigrants from Kenmore, Perthsire, Scotland. He emigrated to Montcalm County, Michigan in the mid-1840s. During the Civil War, he enlisted in Company I of Berdan’s Regiment, U.S. Sharpshooters (Michigan), rising to the rank of sergeant. Taking ill within weeks of the close of the war, he returned home on leave, and apparently never reported back for duty, disqualifying him for a veteran’s pension years later, although he made several applications.
  • Grandma’s maternal grandfather, Orlando BARBER, was born in Ontario in 1868, and the household is found in Amabel, Bruce County in the 1871 Canadian Census. The family emigrated to Lapeer County, Michigan around 1876. Orlando’s father, James, was born “in England” in 1839. His death record gives no clues as to his parentage. Orlando’s mother, Elizabeth A. “Betsey” COLE, was born in South Dorchester, Elgin County, Ontario to parents James COLE and Lavina WILLIS who were a first-generation Canadian (James’ parents were from Vermont) and a direct immigrant from New York, respectively. It is likely they came to Canada for the same reasons the YORKs and SWEERs did.

My husband has two lines that also hail from Canada:

  • His great-great-grandmother, Rachel HUBBY, was born somewhere in Ontario in 1832 to John HUBBY from Scotland and Hannah JONES from New York.
  • Henry LYTON was born as George TURK in Ottawa around 1841. He, like 10,000 other Canadian men, immigrated to the U.S. during the Civil War expressly to join the Union forces. He served from Iowa.

So as you can see, Canada may not be my home, or my native land, but it is one of my ancestral homelands!