Archive for November, 2008

Milton Higley

Milton Higley was born in Tolland, Massachusetts* on January 14, 1834, the sixth child of Seth Higley, Jr. and Lura Goderd. The Higley family moved from Massachusetts to Ohio sometime in the year after Milton’s birth and before the birth of his younger brother Henry, in 1835.

Milton eventually migrated to Michigan and on July 4, 1855 he married Cornelia** Beebe, daughter of Henry Beebe and Caroline Warner. Milton and Cornelia were parents to one son, Seth Henry Higley who was born April 2, 1856 in Birch Run, Saginaw County, Michigan. Milton’s profession was as a Shingle Maker.

On August 9, 1862, Milton enlisted in Company B, 23rd Regiment, Michigan Infantry, for a period of three years. He is described as being 5 ft. 6 inches tall, having a dark complexion, dark eyes and dark hair. Like many other soldiers in the War of the Rebellion Milton eventually became ill with chronic diarrhea, and he was discharged on June 18, 1864, totally disabled with a pension of “eight dollars per month.” He died less than a year later on May 8, 1865.

A sad footnote to this story: In 1869 Cornelia married Hezikiah Nelson, not knowing that he was already married, and his wife Arabella was still living in Canada. When the facts came out, Hezikiah stole a horse and buggy from Cornelia and fled to Canada where he was apprehended. He committed suicide in his cell. Cornelia then had to apply for a reinstatement of her widow’s pension in order to support herself and children Seth Higley and Harriet (Nelson) Higley (Harriet was born August 25, 1870 and was known as Harriet Higley)

* Note: The 1860 census shows a birthplace of New York.
* Note: In some records the name is “Cordelia.”

SOURCE: Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Database and Images, Ancestry.com. http://www.ancestry.com, accessed 04/18/2002

SOURCE: Army of the United States Certificate of Disability for Discharge: Milton Higley, copy of document provided by Kenneth Lane.

SOURCE: State of Michigan, Circuit Court of the County of Saginaw: Annulment of Marriage of Cornelia Higley and Hezekiah Nelson. Copy provided by Kenneth Lane.

SOURCE: Michigan, Tuscola County. 1860 U.S. Census, population schedule. Digital image, HeritageQuest Online, http://persi.heritagequestonline.com, Page 673. Accessed 10/20/2005

Milton Higley

Milton Higley

Photograph: Privately held by Susan J. Edminster, Granite Falls, Washington


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Reuben Walter Edminster was born December 11, 1880 to Herbert Loyal Edminster and Frances Adelia Brown. He was seven generations removed from the first Edminster ancestor to arrive in America, John Edminsteire:

Parents: Herbert Loyal Edminster and Frances Adelia Brown
Grandparents: Reuben S. Edminster and Adele M. McCullough
1st Great Grandparents: Henry William Edminster, Jr. and Mary Barnes
2nd Great Grandparents: Henry William Edminster and Roba Howland
3rd Great Grandparents: William Edminster and Mary Paul
4th Great Grandparents: James D. Edminster and Ann Makepeace
5th Great Gandparents: John Edminsteire and Hannah (unknown)

The Edminster family, starting in Freetown Massachusetts in 1662 or earlier, migrated over several generations to Kansas where Reuben was born in 1880. Reuben’s father, Herbert Loyal Edminster, was listed as a taxpayer in Glenwood Kansas 1900-1901, in Basehor 1907-1908, and in Fairmount 1911-1914 so it appears the family may have moved more than once although these communities seem to be quite near one another. Glenwood , Leavenworth County was home to a Post Office from 1869-1870, and again from 1884 to 1902 but since then it’s faded from existence.

A little about Reuben’s parents: Herbert married Frances Adelia Brown (date unknown) and Reuben may have been their first child ; His siblings were George Clarence (dob unknown) and Hattie Bell, born October 1, 1882. Herbert and Frances divorced about 1893-1894 and He married Laura Stone who according to the family had been their houskeeper. When the 1900 US Census was taken Laura and Herbert reported they’d been married six years, Laura’s birthdate is listed as March, 1866.

Reuben married Anna Marie Neust* on August 6, 1901. She was born January 7, 1884 at Akron, Ohio; her parents were John Joseph Neust and Anna Katherine Rittenberger. Reuben and Anna’s children were Lillian Della Marie, born March 20, 1902; George Shelby born April 5, 1904; Mildred Hattie, born March 20, 1906; Florence Louretta, born February 1, 1909; Clyde Dale, born December 8, 1914, Esther Ellanor, born July 11, 1917 and Reuben Walter, Jr., born March 18, 1925. The couple also had two other children, both are living; Their information is not included in this document in consideration of their privacy.

Reuben and Anna eventually moved west to Montana and settled near Townsend, at the south end of Canyon Ferry Lake, and about 30 miles south east of the state capital in Helena. According to the family they lived out in the country at Ray Creek, which is north east of Townsend and the 1920 US Census for Broadwater County Montana shows the family enumerated in the Ray Creek School District. Now Reuben had at some point filed for a homestead and it was issued in 1907 for 160 acres in Lincoln County, the most northwest of Montana’s counties. But since the family didn’t leave Kansas until some time after Florence was born in 1909, and they were in Townsend in 1917 when Esther was born it doesn’t appear they ever took up the Lincoln County homestead.

Some memories the family had of their childhood years included Esther’s recollection that when she dropped some scissors on her foot and they went straight down into the flesh, Florence quickly went out to the barn to retrieve a clean cobweb to close the wound and stop the bleeding. Clyde remembered fishing in the creek with a safety pin for a hook, and also recalled using a horse cart for transportation to school. It was a two-wheeled cart with shafts for the horse and they drove four or five miles to the nearest school….a one room school at that. At one time there was a Ray Creek School and that may have been where they attended.

Dances were held at the school and all the desks were put to one side and the kids would sit on them and finally fall asleep while the adults would dance late into the night. Clyde remembered that their Mother (Anna) made a whole wash tub full of cream puffs to take to the dance.

Family remedies for a cough included two teaspoons of sugar with a few drops of kerosene sprinkled on it. Another cough syrup was made by sprinkling onions with sugar and leaving them to stand until the syrup formed. All agreed this syrup tasted good! Baths were taken in a washtub with water heated on the wood stove and clothes were handed down as long as they could be used. Anna made sure that shirts were ironed and everyone looked tidy.

When the family left Townsend, they moved to Helena where Florence attended school, and eventually on to St. Regis and finally to Washington State. Anna and the children travelled by train, the older kids taking care of the younger ones.

Once in Washington, Anna and Reuben settled in Graham, but later moved into Tacoma where they lived for 33 years until her death in 1958. They were married for 57 years and during that time lived in Ohio, Kansas, Montana and Washington State.

* Alternative spellings: Nust, Nuest


Edminster, Frank Custer, Jr., The Edminster Family in America, Arlington Virginia, 1965. Book appears to have been self-published.

Kansas, 1910 U.S. census, population schedule, Leavenworth County. Digital Images, Ancestry.com, http://www.ancestry.com. Date accessed: 5/9/2006.

Montana, 1920 U.S. census, population schedule, Broadwater County. Digital Images, Ancestry.com http://www.ancestry.com. Date accessed: 5/15/2006

Washington State, 1930 U.S. census, population schedule, Pierce County. Digital Images, Ancestry.com http:www.ancestry.com. Date accessed 5/15/2006.

Washington State, Certificate of Death # 1160, Pierce County department of vital records.

Tacoma News Tribune, Obituary, 7/10/1963

Note: Some of the information in the above biographical sketch comes from memories of the children of Reuben Walter Edminster, Sr.

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This this sweet picture is the wedding photo of Hattie Belle Edminster and Lewis William Koch. The wedding date was May 27, 1903.

Hattie Edminster and Lewis Koch, May 27, 1903.

Picture is the property of Betty Budil, posted with permission.

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Hattie was the sister of my husband’s grandfather, Reuben Walter Edminster. She was born in Leavenworth County Kansas, October 1, 1882, Herbert Loyal and Frances Adelia Brown. Hattie died July 5, 1948.

Hattie Belle Edminster

Picture is the property of Betty Budil, posted here with permission.

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This picture is of Reuben Walter Edminster, his siblings, his Mother and her second husband, presumably taken in Kansas. The year is unknown.

Back Row Left to Right: Reuben Walter Edminster, Hattie Belle (Edminster) Koch and George Clarence Edminster

Front Row: A. D. Hamilton (2nd husband of Frances Adelia (Brown) Edminster), and Frances Adelia (Brown) (Edminster) Hamilton

Picture is the property of Betty Budil, used with permission.

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This picture of Lillian and Mildred Edminster as children was most likely taken in Kansas prior to 1910. Lillian was born in 1902 and appears to be under the age of 10; Mildred was born in 1906 and still a baby in the picture. Note the hand-hewn logs and makeshift porch on the building.

Lillian and Mildred Edminster, c. 1910

Picture is the Property of Betty Budil, used with permission.

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Herbert Loyal Edminster’s first marriage was to Frances Adelia Brown, probably in 1979 or early 1880 since their first child was born in December of 1880. Herbert and Frances were the parents of Reuben Walter, George Clarence and Hattie Belle, and are my husband’s Great-Grandparents. Here’s their picture, we assume taken at the time of their wedding.

Herbert Loyal Edminster, Frances Adelia Brown

Picture is the property of Betty Budil, posted with permission.

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