Whinnery Family of Columbiana Co, OH and Brady Twp, Williams Co, OH
By Pamela Pattison Lash (updated 2010)
The Whinnery/Whinery surname is found in Quaker records back in Northern Ireland. A Robert Whinnery came to America and settled in Pennsylvania. Hiram Whinnery’s line is through Robert’s son, William, who with his wife Abigail McMillian, became early settlers of Butler Twp, Columbiana Co, OH, entering section 27 between 1800 and 1801. They moved their certificate from Warrington Monthly Meeting in PA to Salem Monthly Meeting in OH on 11 Nov 1806. William later divided his land among his sons before his death in 1819; his wife Abigail passed away in 1810.
John Whinnery, born 10 Mar 1781 in Newberry Twp, York Co, PA, son of William and Abigail, traveled to Columbiana Co, OH first, and later married Mary McBride, born 12 May 1792 in Frederick Co, VA, daughter of Stephen and Hannah Smith McBride, on 20 Dec 1809. The couple had 11 children with Hiram being the sixth child. The Whinnery family was enumerated in the 1850 Butler Twp, Columbiana Co, OH federal census p313 as John 69 PA, Mary 58 VA, Robert 43 OH, Hiram 28 OH laborer, Jeremiah 23 OH, Mary J 16 OH, and Samuel E 4 OH. John died in Salem, OH on 26 Aug 1858 and his wife Mary died in Winona, OH in 1862. The Whinnery children were Stephen, Josiah, Hannah, Robert, Ann, Hiram, Evan, Ruth, Jeremiah Hubbard, John E., and Mary. Sixth child, Hiram, was born on 26 July 1821 in Winona, Columbiana Co, OH. It is with him that our story begins.
Hiram married Eunice Davis, born 6 Aug 1825, Columbiana Co, OH, daughter of William and Anna Davis, on 30 Sept 1851. Eunice died on 26 July 1853, about a month after giving birth to twins, Ella and Samuel Elmer, born 7 June 1853. It is not conclusive but it appears that Eunice was buried in the Friends Cemetery at Salem, Perry TwpColumbiana Co, OH. (Columbiana Co, OH Cemeteries, V6 p307).
Hiram Whinnery, widower, next married Mary Susan Piper, parentage unknown, on 20 Mar 1855. The couple traveled to Missouri where son Stephen was born on 15 May 1858. From the 1860 Lindley, Mercer Co, MO federal census one finds the family as Hiram Whinery 33 OH, Ella 7 OH, Elenor (Elmer) 7 OH, SL (Stephen) 2 MO, Albert 5 IA (son of Hiram’s younger brother John E), and laborers Philip Houts 17 OH and Moses Kellley 24 OH. Note the absence of wife Mary Susan. Had she died between the birth of her son and the 1860 census?
The Whinnery family next moved to Brady Twp, Williams Co, OH where Hiram’s daughter, Ella, died on 9 Sept 1863, and was buried in the West Unity Friend’s Burying Ground. Hiram was listed in the 1864 Wms Co Atlas as owning 160 acres in the NE part of Section 21 of Brady Twp. A son, Hiram Alexander, died on 31 Oct 1865 @3Y 7M 18D was also buried in the Friends Cem; Hiram Alexander’s birth is calculated at 13 Mar 1862. Whether he was born in Wms Co or elsewhere is not currently known, as is the identity of his mother. Hiram Whinnery was next found as a personal property payer in Brady Twp in 1867. Between 18 Sept 1868 and 17 Oct 1868 Hiram filed a bond and was granted guardianship of Elmer Whinnery, his son. (Williams Co, OH Probate case number 1239; Civil Docket V1 p169). According to the 1870 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p9, the Whinnery family was listed as Hiram 52 OH farmer, Susan 49 PA, Elmer 16 OH, Stephen 11 MO, and Albert 16 IA. Note that the nephew Albert was still residing with this family. Also note that Hiram has a wife named Susan in 1870. Was she the missing Mary Susan Piper Whinnery absent from the 1860 federal census or was she a third wife coincidentally named Susan? Whoever this Susan was, her death or burial place is not currently known,
On 21 May 1872 an additional bond for guardianship of Elmer Whinnery was filed with the Wms Co Court. Hiram died on 12 Dec 1872 of palsy @51Y 4M 16D and he was buried next to his daughter Ella in the Friends Cemetery. On 31 Jan 1873 Hiram’s estate was probated (case number 1562) as was guardianship of sons Elmer C and Stephen (case number 1563). Hiram’s will was affirmed as such by Benjamin Borton with executor named as Nathan Borton, witnessed by Moses Shoemaker, James Stephenson, and Jason Richardson. On 12 Nov 1873 Benjamin Borton was named guardian for Elmer Whinnery (20Y on 7 June 1873), Steven Whinnery (15Y on 15 May 1873), and Hiram’s nephew, Albert Whinnery (19Y on 8 June 1873), the last guardianship was filed on 3 Feb 1873 (case number 1564). According to the 1874 Williams Co, OH Atlas Elmer Whinnery owned the 160 acres, previously held by his father Hiram in Brady Twp.
A final account and the end of guardianship for Elmer Whinnery were made on 14 July 1874. On 8 Sept 1876 Benjamin Borton was made guardian for Albert Whinnery but that guardianship’s final orders were made on 30 Sept of the same year. Stephen Whinnery’s final account was filed and accepted on 28 Oct 1879.
The Sad Demise of Albert Whinnery
The next part of this story deals with nephew Albert C. Whinnery. Two newspaper accounts tell the story of the sad demise of this young man.
Bryan Press, 18 July 1878:
The most shocking and unexpected occurrence that has happened in this neighborhood took place this week. Albert C. Whinnery, aged about 23, committed suicide. He was working for AS Gish, near Lockport all summer, giving good satisfaction and everything seemed to be all right and agreeable. On Monday morning, July 8, it having rained during the night, he was set to work piling up some 500 feet of lumber near the barn before going to the harvest field. About 9 o’clock, after having finished his job, he came to the house, got a drink and then went toward the barn and was not seem again afterwards until found on Thursday morning, hanging on the limb of a tree in Edmund Thomas’ woods, between 1/4th and 1/2 mile from where he had been at work. The rope used was recognized as being from Mr. Gish’s stable. He was raised in the neighborhood, was a young man of moral habits, stout, industrious, and healthy. Whether he had gone away, or something had happened to him, was a question hard to decide at first, and by Wednesday a good deal of inquiry and search was made. Circumstances began to develop that went to show that something must have befallen him. We, as yet, know of no cause why he committed the deed, nor able even to conjecture. In a short time after he was found, a large crowd collected. Squire Money empanelled a jury, and after an investigation of the circumstances, the body was buried in Lockport Cemetery, Lockport, 12 July, (reported by) AS Gish. (If there was a tombstone erected for Albert, it did not exist when the cemetery stones were read in the 1990’s.)
Bryan Democrat, 18 July 1878 p5 c2-3
Suicide - A young man named Whinnery, a resident of Brady Twp, committed suicide by hanging on Monday of last week. Whinnery was in the employ of Mr. Gish, some 3 1/2 miles southeast of West Unity. Monday morning Gish told Whinnery to pile some lumber, which he did for a couple of hours, then went to the house and got his coat, took a rope from the stable and started for the woods. Nothing was heard of him until Thursday when his body was found suspended to a tree about 1/2 mile from the house. He had evidently tied the rope around his neck, then climbed the tree and wrapped the cord around a small limb, a short distance from the trunk of the tree and swung off. Whinnery was about 21 years of age and unmarried. His father is dead and his mother lived in Illinois. No cause is assigned for his summary taking off. He left a note written in pencil, near the tree, but the rain had entirely obliterated the writing. When found the body having been dead for four days was very much swollen and discolored.
Who was this nephew? Why did he commit suicide?
Albert C. Whinnery’s Parents and Siblings
For some partial explanations one must delve back to the history of his father, John E. Whinnery, born 6 June 1829, Columbiana Co, OH. He married Emily L. Crew, daughter of Dr. James Crew, on 28 Mar 1850, and the couple was enumerated in the 1850 Butler Twp, Columbiana Co, OH federal census dated 3 Sept 1850 p311, as John E 20 OH farmer and Emily 20 OH. Sometime in 1851 they had a daughter Lucinda Jane. By 1855 John and his family moved to Benton Co, IA and purchased 160 acres there. The family had grown with the births of sons Josiah, 6 Apr 1853 in Columbiana Co, OH, and Albert C, 5 Aug 1855, IA. Although nothing has been found as to the significance of Albert’s middle initial, it would seem appropriate for the C to stand for Crew, his mother’s maiden name. Emily Crew Whinnery died on 21 Nov 1855. It would appear that John E left youngest son Albert in the care of his brother Hiram, who lived in Lindley, MO as of 1858. Emily’s father, Dr. James Crew, lived in Logan Co, OH; his first wife, Jane Place, Emily’s mother, had died and he remarried in 1842 to Lucinda Raymond. Dr. Crew died on 2 Apr 1868; Emily had siblings still living. Whether there was any communication between John E. Whinnery and his father-in-law or the other Crew family remains to be discovered. Also there seems to be at least three of Dr. Crew’s siblings who married into the Whinnery families of Columbiana Co, OH, but the Quakers for marrying out of their faith disowned these Whinnerys.
A biographical sketch of John E. Whinnery, Progressive Men of Western Colorado, 1905, stated that he returned to Ohio in 1857. In 1858 his father died and perhaps he received an inheritance then or upon the death of his mother in 1862. His biography of 1905 stated that he returned to his home in Ohio and after a short visit he toured the country until the beginning of the Civil War. John E. Whinnery has not been located in any 1860 federal census to date. The sketch mentioned his marriage to Emily Crew and stated that he had two children, Lucinda and Josiah, from this marriage. There was no mention of Albert C. Either he was not included because he had died by then or he was not mentioned because of the manner of his death. In either case Albert was forgotten, or was he?
John E. enlisted as a Civil War soldier in Co A 14th OVI, was injured, and later honorably discharged. He had married Mary Ann Fawcett, born 12 July 1835, daughter of Samuel and Jane Stanley Fawcett, on 18 Sept 1862 in Cross Keys, Columbiana Co, OH. The marriage citation stated that the parties were both from Salem, OH. (Columbiana Co, OH Marriages, Carol Willsey Bell, p310). The couple had the following children, born in New Lisbon and Salem, Columbiana Co, OH: George F, 5 Oct 1863-8 Jan 1864; and Webster S, 3 July 1865. John farmed in Ohio until the fall of 1865 when he moved his family to Lyon Co, KS, and later to Wilson Co where he raised livestock. A daughter Ida A was born in Lyon Co (18 Sept 1867-18 Mar 1869). The Whinnery family was enumerated in the 1870 Chetopa Twp, Wilson Co, KS federal census p378b, as John 40 OH carpenter, MA 36 OH, W (m) 5 OH. Another daughter, Eva Jane, was born in Altoona, Wilson Co, KS on 7 Sept 1871. In 1874 John and family relocated to the San Luis Valley in Colorado and he prospected for a time in Lake City where he also started a dairy. By the 1880 Lake City, Hinsdale Co, CO federal census p180a, the Whinnerys were listed as John E 49 OH dairyman, Mary A 46 OH, Webster 14 OH, Eva 7 KS, and Ralph V 5 CO, born on 21 Aug 1875 in Saguache, CO.
In 1879 the Whinnerys moved to a ranch in Gunnison Co, CO and lived there until 1885 when they relocated to Delta Co, CO. The 1900 Delta, Delta Co, CO federal census enumerated the family as John E 68 OH, Mary A 64 OH, and Ralph B 23 CO. John’s wife, Mary Ann, died sometime before the 1910 Read, Delta Co, CO federal census as John E was listed as 78 OH widower, living with son Ralph V 34 CO, daughter-in-law Ella N 35, and grand-daughter Irene M 1 9/12 CO. On 28 May 1913 John E. Whinnery died; some sources state his place of death was Colorado, Kansas, and Panama City, FL. Further investigation needs to be made to determine which choice was his final resting place.
By the 1920 Orchard, Delta Co, CO federal census, Ralph B 43 CO, had a new wife Edith M 36, children Irene M 11 CO, Argenta L 9 CO, and John R 3 7/12 CO, plus his half-sister Lucinda Ainsworth 68 OH and his mother-in-law Jennie A Bent 77 NY, residing with him. By 1930 the family had moved to Modesto, Stanislaus Co, CA.
Son Webster S. Whinnery apparently located in Lake City, Hinsdale Co, CO and was enumerated in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 federal censuses for that location. Sometime in 1895 he married a Finella, parentage unknown, born Aug 1869 in Missouri. They had a son Charles F. Whinnery, born May 1896 in Lake City. Webster was involved with a grocery store and by 1920 was a stock raiser. Webster was also involved in the politics of his state as he was a state senator for a time.
Daughter Lucinda J. Whinnery was listed in the household of Daniel P. Strawn, a teacher, in the 1860 Damascusville, Butler Twp, Columbiana Co, OH federal census p31 on 13 July 1860 as Daniel P Strawn 33 OH, Esther 31 OH, Lucinda J. Whinnery 8 OH, and Strawn children, Alfred J 3 OH, Byron A 1 OH, and Lycurgus W 1 OH. In the 1870 Goshen, Mahoning Co, OH federal census, p132, the Daniel Strawn family was enumerated there, but close by in the census another family, David Brown 58 OH farmer, wife Ann 51 OH plus Mary A 82 OH seamstress, had a Lucretia Winery 19 OH residing with them. Lucinda lived with her aunt and uncle, David and Ann Whinnery Brown. Ann was an older sister to Lucinda’s father, John E.
In the 1880 Pleasant Hill, Cass Co, MO federal census p152 Lucinda was married to James A. Ainsworth and the couple lived with his parents as Harry Ainsworth 59 NY carpenter, Mary A 53, James A 31 IL laborer, and Laura 27 IL. James Augustus Ainsworth, born 31 Mar 1847, was the son of Richard Willard and Harriet Minerva Homan Ainsworth, both natives of Cape Vincent, NY. The Ainsworth lived in Bloomington, McLean Co, IL (1860 federal census p573) and Pleasant Hill, Cass Co, MO (1870 federal census p671). It appears that James had married Rebecca Stevenson McIntyre on 12 Nov 1868 in Blomington, IL; Rebecca was with his family in 1870; whether they were divorced or Rebecca died before 1880 is not currently known.
By the 1885 Gunnison Co, CO state census p34 the family was listed as James Ainsworth 35 IL, L 33 IL, Harry 11 MO, and Charles 7 CO. According to the 1910 Hotchkiss, Delta Co, CO precinct 2 federal census p5A, Lucinda 59 OH widow lived with son Harry Albert Ainsworth 36 OH married to second wife Altha May Kern, married in 1908, 24 MO and their daughter Emily May 7/12 CO. Harry Albert and Altha later became the parents of other children, Paul, Mayme J, Harry or Robert A., and Isabel. The family stayed in Hotchkiss, CO as evidenced by the federal censuses there of 1920 and 1930. There seems to be a pattern of migration that was similar for Lucinda and her father. They both lived in Gunnison and Delta Counties, CO. Lucinda also may have remembered her brother Albert C. Whinnery and named her son Harry Albert after him.
John’s first known son and brother to Albert Whinnery, Josiah B. Whinnery, married Mary Jane Filley Santas, a widow with at least one child, George Santas, on 16 Oct 1878. The couple was enumerated in the 1880 Americus, Lyon Co, KS federal census p256A, as Whinnery, Josiah 27 OH, Mary 37 ENG, and Santas, George 18 stepson MO. As stated earlier, Albert’s sister, Lucinda Ainsworth, lived with her half-brother Ralph in Orchard, CO in 1920. Nothing more is known of Albert’s siblings.
Neither Lucinda nor Josiah was mentioned in any newspaper article found to date in connection with Albert. As the newspaper stated at the time of his suicide, Albert’s father was dead and his mother lived in Illinois. His father was definitely not deceased, but had moved on with a new family; unless Emily L. Crew Whinnery was divorced or separated from John E. Whinnery, and no information has been found to confirm this, she was dead, not living in Illinois. Surprisingly no one came forward, at least in print, to correct the obvious errors in the Bryan newspapers of 1878. Many family members who lived in Brady Twp were deceased, with the exception of Albert’s first cousins, Stephen Whinnery and Samuel Elmer Whinnery, the sons of his uncle Hiram, with whom he lived most of his life. What happened to them?
Albert C. Whinnery’s Cousins, Stephen and Samuel Elmer Whinnery
Stephen married Mary A. Davis in Mahoning Co, OH on 9 Oct 1879. Stephen died on 9 Jan 1884; he and his wife were enumerated in the 1880 Berlin Twp, Mahoning Co, OH federal census p54 as Steven Whinery 22 OH and Mary A. 20 OH. Steven’s parents were listed as both natives of Ohio that again gives rise to the idea that his mother was Mary Susan Piper, the second wife of Hiram, and not Susan (born in PA), Hiram’s third wife. Nothing more is currently known of him.
Elmer, as he was known, married Mary Jane Boillot, on 29 Mar 1879 in Wms Co, OH. Mary, the daughter of John J. and Mary A. Boillot, natives of France, was born c19 Dec 1855 in Ohio. About seventeen months later, on 5 Aug 1880, Elmer died @27Y 2M 1D and was buried in the Friends Cemetery. According to Wms Co, OH Probate (case number 2245) on 12 Aug 1880 his estate was probated and Elmer left 160 acres in Wms Co to his unborn child, Elmer C., who was born posthumously, on 13 Sept 1880. His widow acquired this land in 1885 by court order. In the meantime Mary Boillot Whinnery had married John Wesley Radabaugh on 30 Dec 1883 in Wms Co, so Elmer C. had not only a mother but also a stepfather to look out for his finances. Mary had at least four daughters with her new husband.
The 1894 Williams Co. Atlas showed that MJ Radabaugh owned the 160 acres of Section 21, Brady Twp, she obtained through the courts, which was land inherited by her infant son from his father, Samuel Elmer Whinery. On 13 Sept 1894 William DeGroff was named as Elmer C’s guardian, then his mother, then Abraham Gish, then his stepfather, JW Radabaugh, until he turned 18. Mary died on 18 Oct 1895 and was buried in the Lockport Cemetery, not beside her first husband who reposed in the Friends Cemetery; later her second husband remarried on 3 Jan 1898 to Emma Bretthauer. Elmer worked for the Gish family until he married Nellie Betts on his nineteenth birthday (13 Sept 1899, Wms Co, OH). The young couple was listed in the 1900 Brady Twp, Wms Co, OH federal census p4b, as Whinery, Elmer 19 OH and Nellie E 18 OH. In the 1910 Toledo, Lucas Co, OH federal census p172 the Whinnery household, living at 1024 Newbury St, was recorded as Elmer C 30 OH manager, Nellie 28 OH m9Y with 3 children: Donald 7 OH, Remith 4 OH, and Hiram 1 OH. Sadly Nellie died in 1911.
Elmer C. Whinnery and his cousin Albert Whinnery, aside from a shared lineage, both worked for the Gish family in Williams Co. Who were they?
Abraham Shelly Gish, The Employer
There were several Gish families in Brady Twp as early as 1850. Abraham Shelly Gish, born in Lancaster Co, PA on 1 Feb 1834, was the son of Abraham and Eliza Shelly Gish. He was twice married, first to Sarah A. Gleason, 6 Feb 1859, and then to Mary Ann Snyder, 27 Sept 1866. AS Gish, landowner in Sec 22 of Brady Twp, reported the suicide and subsequent information about Albert Whinnery to the Bryan Press. It was this Mr. Gish who employed both Albert and Elmer C. Whinnery as farm laborers; he also served as Elmer C’s guardian on 31 Dec 1895. AS Gish was a close neighbor, an employer, and a trusted mentor to these young men, yet things seem wrong with his account of Albert’s suicide.
Questions to Ponder
- Was Albert’s work indeed satisfactory and agreeable to Gish? Perhaps Albert wanted to quit this employment, which may have not been agreeable to him, but he felt that he had no other prospects? Or did Gish have some kind of hold on Albert, which prevented him from leaving Gish’s employment? Could he have argued with someone, perhaps Gish, about money?
- Was Albert lonely? He lived the majority of his life without parents. Was his birth responsible for the demise of his mother? Had his father shunned him for this and that is why Albert was left with his uncle Hiram? Was there any communication with his father, who clearly had established a new family and a new life in the West, or his siblings, Lucinda and Josiah? Did Albert long to join his father but was rejected for these feelings? Was there a woman with whom Albert had formed an attachment? Were his advances rejected?
- Why was Albert’s body not discovered sooner? He left on Monday and was found on Thursday, between a ¼ - ½ mile from his work area. Had he often gone off to be alone and this was simply another such absence? Had he fought with someone and that information was not disclosed in the newspaper account? Remember, this death occurred in July, when the weather, even if rainy, would not have prevented a more thorough search, than had it been in the winter.
- Albert was described as healthy, but was this physical health and not emotional stability? From the newspaper account Albert tried to explain his drastic act by leaving a note written in pencil, but the rain had washed away this explanation. How did the people know this was a suicide note if the contents were washed away? Could this note have been something else? If it was a suicide note, why couldn’t those close to him have been able to guess its contents? It would seem that Albert was a cipher, a young man taken for granted, and not truly cared for, but was he? Gish attributed Albert with several good qualities – moral, industrious, and healthy. He was also described as stout. Was his physical appearance unpleasing? If so, was he teased or rejected due to his size?
- Why was his body buried in Lockport Cemetery near none of his kin? Why was he not buried in the Friends Cemetery? Did the Quakers disown his remains because he committed suicide? Perhaps Albert shunned the ways of the Quakers. There does not seem to be any evidence of strong concern from Benjamin Borton who was Albert’s guardian as of 12 Nov 1873 and again on 8 Sept 1876, almost two years before Albert’s death. Why was Albert working for Gish, not a Quaker, and not Borton, a Quaker?
- What personal property did he have and who claimed it? Obviously he must have had something – clothes, money, letters, photographs, and books? We know he must have been able to read and write. There was no probate for Albert, so he must not have owned land or anything valuable.
- And what about the rope? No one saw him with this, but Gish definitely identified it as being his. Why didn’t he notice it was missing before, during the days when Albert went missing, if it was so distinctive as being his? The newspaper stated there were no signs of foul play, but could there have been? The manner in which his death supposedly occurred could have a more sinister explanation, but no one chose to follow up on that, even though a jury was empanelled. Were the people of Brady Twp more concerned with deposing of his remains rather than discovering the true events of his death? It was easier to declare this a suicide, and perhaps it was.