Saturday, May 11, 2013

James R. Carter had ties to Lancaster County, Nebraska

I love the serendipity of genealogical research, especially when someone points out something right under your nose that you were not looking for and not expecting.  Not quite like winning the lottery but it’s still fun! 

I got one of those this week. 

Portrait and Biographical Album of Lancaster County, Nebraska published 1888 

I’ve used the Portrait and Biographical Album of Lancaster County, Nebraska many times.   My great, great grandfather Casper Martin (another branch of the family) is in there along with other shirt-tail relatives.  But an anonymous contributor commented on my January  blog entry “Cousins Die in Camp at Cape Girardeau in 1861” about James R. Carter (cousin of Thomas B. Turpin) and pointed to this Lancaster County history book as the source of more information on James Carter’s family.  Wow!  

The history was published in 1888 and has an entry for Joseph Epps, step-brother to James R. Carter.   The biography states that John and Charlotte Epps’ family consisted of Charlotte’s four children from her marriage to George Carter:  John, Riley, Eliza, and  William Carter;  and Christopher, Rachel, Agnes, Joseph, Mary, and Amanda who were the children of John and Charlotte.

The 1860 census of Warren County, Iowa shows them as John A., James R., E A D J Carter, and Wm E. Carter; and Chris Col, Rachel Agnes, Jos. Andrew, Mary Louisa, and Amanda Chris B J.

For anyone who may be researching that particular branch of the family, Anonymous adds:

It mentions Charlotte EVANS CARTER EPPS and at the time of writing was living in Mitchell, South Dakota ... William Elijah Carter's daughter Minnie Louise was married three times, [to] John H. Raner and had 6 children, William Frederick Holkan (widower with 5 children), and Louis Frederick Karsten in Nebraska.  She died sometime after 1950.  Lou was my great-great-uncle. 

The Portrait and Biographical Album of Lancaster County, Nebraska is a digitized book and the article on the Epps family can be found at:


  1. BINGO! Looking at the document itself, it identifies E.A.D.J. Carter as ELIZA! Even more amazing is seeing Charlotte identified as living in Mitchell, Dakota Territory, after John Epps described himself as widowed in the 1870 census! Good! New territory for hunting!

    1. Found a message from a Crouch family genealogist who was looking for the family of Elizabeth Carter,
      born on the date shown in Indiana, daughter of George Carter. I think that's about enough to tentatively pencil her in as our missing "Eliza." I noticed her firstborn son was named Riley, which is the nickname/middle name of her brother James Riley, who died in 1861 in the Army in Missouri. Also, eldest brother John lived, worked and is buried in Burlington in Coffey County.

      Elizabeth A. Carter Crouch
      14 Feb 1845 in Greencastle, Putnam County, Indiana
      Daughter of George Carter and Charlotte Temple Evans Carter, later Epps
      Married Andrew Crouch 16 Jul 1865 in Adel, Dallas, Iowa
      (Andrew 7 Jun 1838 to 7 Nov 1902)
      Died 5 Jun 1912 in Burlington, Coffey County, Kansas
      Buried 8 Jun 1912 Graceland Cemetery Coffey County, Kansas

      Mary/Marie Jane Crouch, 19 Apr 1866, Dallas County, Iowa
      Riley Crouch, 21 Aug 1867, Dallas County, Iowa
      William Edward Crouch, 14 Aug 1869 Warren County, Iowa
      John Henry Crouch, 19 Jul 1871, Dallas County, Iowa
      Marion Crouch, 19 Mar 1873, Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
      Lucy "Lulu"/"Lou"/"Louise" Crouch, 30 Mar 1875, Dallas County, Iowa
      Emma Crouch, 25 Mar 1879, Dallas County, Iowa
      George Benton Crouch, 18 May 1991, Dallas County, Iowa
      Minnie Crouch, 20 Nov 1882, Dallas County, Iowa
      Ward Crouch, 15 Mar 1884, Dallas County, Iowa
      Ella May Crouch, 24 Mar 1885, Burlington, Coffey County, Kansas

      The 1900 Census notes she was the mother of 11 children, 9 living.
      It also states both her mother and father were born in Virginia.

      Crouches in 1870 U.S. Census
      8 Aug 1870 Adel Township, Dallas County, Iowa, in adjacent farm houses:

      Charles 57 Virginia
      Sarah 57 Virginia

      Andy 26 Indiana
      Elizabeth 23 Indiana
      Mary 5 Iowa
      Riley 2 Iowa
      Edward 1 Iowa

      James 33 Indiana
      Adaline 24 Iowa
      Dora 3 Iowa

      Newton 23 Indiana
      Ellen 25 Unknown
      Manford 2 Iowa
      Unnamed male May 1870 Iowa

      It notes Sarah and Elizabeth were both unable to write English.

      Now, I've seen a listing showing a John Anderson married a Charlotte (Mrs.) Epps in Greene, Iowa. No date or further details. And there's a Charlotte Anderson in Fremont County in the 1880s, according to the rolls. So.... The hunt continues...

    2. Thanks Paul. You are making some great connections here! I loved finding that EADJ Carter -- it looked like one of those names that was going to be SOOOO easy or SUPER hard; nothing in between.

  2. OOPS! John identified himself as widowed in the 1880 census, not the 1870...

  3. Hurray! I am glad we've been able to connect a few dots!

  4. By the way, John Epps was murdered in Des Moines Iowa in 1871, impersonating a doctor and etc. It's a long, sordid story, told mostly through court records.

  5. Paul, do you have a postable synopsis of the long, sordid story? It would be helpful if we posted it or at least linked to it -- in case any researchers would be interested! A good and complicated family tale usually is a great case study for others!

  6. ~ Sunday's Murder ~
    ~ Dr. John Epps Shot Dead by F. W. George ~

    ~ A Woman the Cause of it ~

    Sunday, July 24, 1881, just before twelve O’clock, the neighborhood of East Fifth and Scott streets was the scene of a merciless murder. F.W. George, a man who has been employed for some time past in this city as engineer at different places, shot John Epps, a Spaniard or Mexican, who pretended to be a doctor, through the heart, causing almost instant death. Some trouble arose between them relative to a young woman named Lottie Morton, whom George claims, was by her parents placed under his protection, but whom Epps induced to submit to an abortion at his hands. They met in front of the house where the girl was staying, the place being Mrs. Bunce's, on Fifth st. between Allen and Scott when George asked Epps where he was going. The reply was that he was going to see the girl, when George drew a large revolver, 32 calibre, and shot at Epps, the ball taking effect in the arm. He turned to run away, when George followed up, and shot him in the back. Epps preceded a few feet and fell dead. When the coroner arrived he took charge of the body and had it taken to the boarding house of Mrs. Moler, 311 East Second st., where Epps had boarded, when Drs. Patchin and Ericson made an examination of it. The coroner's jury, which was impaneled before the body was removed, consisted of Jackson Wisehart, Joseph Brewer and H. E. Teachout. After taking the necessary testimony they returned a verdict of murder, and that the act was done feloniously.
    George, the murderer, started to run away after doing the shooting, but was soon caught by officers Hanger and Kilboom and he gave up without resistance. He is a large heavy-set man, and is about 40 years of age. He is a married man and has a family. He has been doing nothing, being troubled by epilepsy, for which Dr. Epps had been treating him. The police records show that George has an unfavorable character for disturbing the public quite, assault and battery, and intoxication.<>
    Taken from *July 30, 1881 "Plain Talk", Des Moines, Iowa

  7. Also, the "State vs George" appeal proceedings, part of "The Northwest Reporter," Page 300, published in 1884, is available free from Google Play and other web sources. It details the crime and some of what had gone on before. John Epps had started portraying himself as a doctor, and called himself that. I know that his wounds from the Civil War were such that he was unable to pursue farming and opened a barber shop. This absconding to Des Moines and creating a more grandiose character for himself may have been one thing to precipitate Charlotte's apparent leaving him, even though he described himself as a widower. Since she was in Mitchell, Dakota, in 1888 or so -- and I'm still trying to research that, nothing yet -- I think the reports of her demise were premature... I think John Epps would find a whole battery of Veteran's Administration help available nowadays, as I think he was a classic case of PTSD!

  8. Thank you Paul! I did not realize that Google had some of the Northwestern Reporters online and free. For anyone who would like to check this out, it's "The Northwestern Reporter, Volume 18, Containing All the Decisions of the Supreme Court of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, and Dakota" published St. Paul, January 1884 by West Publishing Company; pages 298-302. I'll post a screen shot of the crime description.