Front Cover




  1. Ada Hubbard said,

    11/25/2010 at 08:21

    Larry Coleman told me about your upcoming book. I am with the LaHarpe Historical Society, so we are interested in what you will have to offer.

  2. Hancock County Historical Society said,

    11/29/2010 at 10:37

    We would be interested in knowing more about the book and especially, historical accounts related to Hancock County.

  3. Robert Keith Campbell said,

    01/02/2011 at 06:13

    Note: I was made aware of your website/Email by my son. I, and my original family, were farm residents of Fountain Green Township/Hancock County since the mid-1800’s. I lived across the road from the Majorville church and am related to the Simmons/Burrow/Campbell/Mort families several of which were original “homesteaders” of this area. I have information on all these families, and would be interested in what you have found and in the content of your book as it relates to the above named families.

  4. Jeff Hancks said,

    01/21/2011 at 05:52

    I am the regional history archivist at WIU. I am very excited to see this book published and added to our collection at the university. It will undoutbtedly become a key resource for anyone interested in researching 19th century life in Hancock County and on the vast Illinois prairie.

  5. Nancy Ross said,

    01/28/2011 at 13:19

    Barbara- Congratulations. I’m glad to hear the book is nearly done.

  6. Gail Barham said,

    02/04/2011 at 10:36

    Are my Campbell and Hustons in the book? I definitely want a copy. How do I obtain one?
    Gail Barnham

    • 02/04/2011 at 13:36

      Yes, Gail, your Campbells and Hustons are there — and you are credited as a source. I have placed you on my pre-sale list for a first edition. I’ll be in touch when the book is printed. Spread the word. The more who commit to purchase, the lower the price.

  7. Sharen Talbert said,

    02/11/2011 at 14:43

    I am excited to hear more about your newest book. You are amazing!
    Best Wishes from Kauai!

  8. MJ said,

    04/25/2011 at 14:52

    Is Newton Whitfield McConnell and any of his family in this book?

    • 04/26/2011 at 06:43

      No, I do not have Newton Whitfield McConnell. With some when and where information about Newton’s life, I might be able to link him to my McConnells of Hancock County, Illinois in the 1800s, or to mine of the 1700s in Franklin or Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania and Lexington, Kentucky.

  9. Helen McConnell said,

    08/19/2011 at 16:08

    Congratulations!! I had wondered what you were doing but hadn’t made the effort to check. We have moved from NM back to NE. Wish I had had this information as our annual McConnell family picnic was last week. We’ve been back in NE for 5 years so I’ve not been doing much on my genealogy. Started doing some more this summer and am amazed at how much more is on the internet! Again, congratulations on the book.

    • 08/19/2011 at 17:16

      Hi Helen,
      Yes, I was talking to the lay pastor of the Fountain Green Church yesterday who told me of the McConnell reunion. I hope somebody there passed the word about this book. I also learned from my uncle of the passing of Kay McConnell on Aug. 5th. I remember him as a kind of gentle giant, a Hoss Cartwright kind of fellow. Barb

  10. El;izabeth Jones said,

    08/25/2011 at 10:28

    I am guessing since you contacted me that you believe this book will have some info on or a connection to my Geddes, Easton, McGuire, Miley (an many other names) ancestors of Franklin County, PA. I will be interested to see what the connection is.

    • 08/25/2011 at 12:16

      Thomas Geddes, one of the primary characters of this book, was a direct descendant of Paul Geddes and Mary Margaret Muir. I have written to you off-line about this descendency. The book is 456 pages so copying would cost much more than purchase. I’m not sure why that link wouldn’t work to Try simply or go to where is it presently available.

  11. El;izabeth Jones said,

    08/25/2011 at 17:16

    Thank you for responding. Yes I have found all of your Geddes ancestors either in the Norman Geddes book or in our Family History book. A copy of our book can be located in the Kittochtinny Historical Society in Chambersburg, PA.
    I will look for your book on Amazon. For some reason I am not connected with the web site??

  12. Donna Sutliff said,

    09/07/2011 at 14:09

    Received your New Book, it’s really good, you did well, enjoyed the part about Robert McConnell, Sarah Lanning’s brother, lot of things I didn’t know, I enjoyed having all the information in front of me and I started reading it, very informative, I hope everyone buys your book.
    Thanks Barb, Donna and I waited a little while for your book, she said she was going to your signing in Illinois, wish I could be there.

  13. Janice said,

    09/08/2011 at 19:46

    Is the family of Cyrus Geddes included in your book? I am so curious about why he left Hancock Co., IL for Butler Co. KS about 1900. His youngest son Karl became a renowned lawyer, judge, and legislator in Kansas. His oldest son, James Walker Geddes, married Floy Fern Layton. Floy’s uncle, Ervin Layton, is my great-grandfather and he too went from Hancock Co., IL to Butler Co. KS in the early 1900s.

    • 09/08/2011 at 20:40

      He is absolutely there. He wrote many of the Civil War letters, and there are photos too.

  14. Janice said,

    09/08/2011 at 19:52

    I made an error in my earlier post. James Walker Geddes married Emma Layton (not Floy) and Emma was a sister of my great-grandfather, Ervin/Irvin Layton. One should never try to reproduce family trees off the top of one’s head!

    • 09/08/2011 at 20:44

      Was Emma ever called Dorothy? Might James have married twice? My Grandfather, nephew of Cyrus recorded the wife of James Walker Geddes as Dorothy. Hmmmm.

      • Janice said,

        09/09/2011 at 09:28

        Emma was not called Dorothy, but Emma is recorded as ‘divorced’ in the 1920 Census and James Walker Geddes was recorded as ‘married’ in the 1930 Census. I have not found him in the 1910 or 1920 Census and I have not found Emma in the 1930 Census. Perhaps the release of the 1940 Census next year will provide some answers.

      • 09/09/2011 at 14:25

        Grandfather was wrong, then. He recorded the wife of James Walker Geddes as “Dorothy Layton.” At least he had the last name correct. James Walker Geddes was doubtless given the middle name “Walker” in memory of an uncle who fell during the Civil War at the Battle of Champion Hills. Brother Cyrus fought in the same company and retried Walker’s sword.

        But, hold on, perhaps there was a second wife. Sons Marshall and Max were born in the late 1890s. If Emma divorced in 1920, James may have remarried to a Dorothy. (Possible?)

  15. SWemett said,

    11/19/2011 at 06:18

    Congratulations on publishing and I am looking forward to reading this Barb. It looks wonderful. I am a descendent of William McConnell (1780-1854) of Berwick On Tweed Scotland, arrived in US c. 1800. Best of luck with it!

  16. Darrell Parker said,

    03/29/2012 at 16:24

    I find this very interesting! I have two McConnell lines (Archibald) one from PA in early 1700’s thru NC and into KY. (Sampson). Another coming from the early late 1700’s or 1800’s (John and James) who came to Oregon in mid 1800’s.

    • 03/30/2012 at 17:45

      The McConnells (and other families) of these letters turned up in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, and Illinois by the end of the 19th Century. Their kinfolk were likely responsible other curiosities like the McConnell Hotel in Wallace, Idaho.

  17. jerodwalker said,

    11/17/2012 at 09:13

    Hello, Barbara! I know that there appears to be two groups of “Walkers” in the McConnell-Geddes cemetary — the older gravestones from the “Pennsylvania Walkers” and the newer ones from the “Kentucky/Tennessee Walkers.” I’m curious if any historical connection has been made between the two groups of Walkers? I believe I’m descended from both groups (my grandmother was the daughter of Jessie McConnell Hasten – I believe making her a descendent of the Pennsylvania Walkers; and my grandfather is from the KY/TN Walkers), and I’m curious if the two groups actually go back to a comman ancestor. Thanks!

    • 11/18/2012 at 02:42

      Both the KY and the PA Walkers appear to have originated in Wigtown Scotland, with some time in Scotland before immigrating to Chester Co PA in the late 1700. Both new world patriarchs were names Alexander, Sr. and they were born at about the same time (171–1714). The first wives of both were named Mary and both married a second time.

      The Ky Alexander, who claimed lineage from John and Elizabeth Rutherford Walker of Wigtown, migrated on to Rockbridge Co VA where his sons were born. His descendants included the prominent McDonough Co Lawyer, Cyrus Walker, and his half-bother Thomas M. Walker, who became the first permanent pastor of the Fountain Green Presbyterian Church in Hancock Co IL. Most of these Walkers are in the Fountain Green Cemetery.

      The PA Alexander, claimed lineage from David and Unknown Walker of Wigtown and also settled first in Chester Co PA. His descendants moved to Path Valley in then Cumberland Co (now Franklin Co) PA and the next generation made the move to Hancock Co IL.

      Perhaps they were the same Alexander; perhaps they were cousins. In any case, they built a community together on the Illinois prairies, supported the same church, attended the same schools, and fought side-by-side in the Civil War. The Son of the Rev. Thomas M. Walker, William (1847-1870), wrote many of the letters of this collection.

      I believe you will benefit greatly from the book’s content, and hope you will consider purchasing.

  18. jerodwalker said,

    11/17/2012 at 09:17

    *common* ancestor

  19. 05/27/2013 at 08:16

    Lynda Mays said,
    08/26/2011 at 06:55 ·

    When is the release? Anxous to read

    writetotheheart said,
    08/26/2011 at 07:59 ·

    These are the options:
    Order online right now at (by title, under books) or at

    Signed copies may be available at the following locations:
    The Hancock County Historical Society, Carthage, Illinois
    The La Harpe Historical Society, La Harpe, Illinois
    Prairie Archives Bookstore, Springfield, Illinois
    Franklin County Historical Society, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania

    Finally, I can have books shipped directly from the South Carolina printer to you (unsigned) if you kindly provide your address along with a check for $25 (per book) to:
    Barbara J. Shave
    417-550 Yates Road
    Kelowna, British Columbia
    Canada V1V1Z4

    Daryl Robinson said,
    04/25/2013 at 21:31 ·

    I am only half way thru the book and it is wonderful. I’m from Huntingdon Co (the other side of the mountain from Path Valley). Many of my relatives are from Path Valley, which is the reason I bought to book to see if any were mentioned. Genealogy aside, this is a wonderful history book. I’m so glad to read it and I will often read parts of it to my family. Please, PLEASE tell me that you are trying to get with the History Channel, PBS or some other network that would be willing to make this book into a mini-series. One that would interweave the historical events with the letters and families. I hate to say this but it would be an even better twist on history than the John Jakes’ books/series were. If you knew how many times I’ve read his books over and over, you would understand that statement. I am thoroughly enjoying the book, just wanted to let you know and for Pete’s sake, get it made into a mini-series.

  20. Meri said,

    06/24/2014 at 01:51

    Hey there! Someone in my Facebook group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look.
    I’m definitely loving the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting this to my followers!

    Superb blog and terrific design.

  21. Bruce Jones said,

    04/13/2015 at 08:36

    Hello, I just found this website & have ordered this book. My 4th GGF was John AIK Jones of Metal Twp. & have been researching for 4 years now. I can’t seem to find his wife, Elizabeth Somerset. My 2nd GGF was Jesse Jones who married Mary Geddes & my Grandfather was named Geddes Jones & my father was Russell Geddes Jones. Geddes Jones was son of Hiram Jones & Alice Mae Reisher & Hiram moved to Chicago. I am looking forward to this book.

    • 04/17/2015 at 15:03

      Thank you for writing, Bruce. We are 4th cousins. Your Mary Geddes was half sister to my Col. Thomas Geddes who is primary character in my book. (Thomas was s/o Paul and first wife, Sarah Fitzsimmons Geddes). Mary’s mother was Paul’s second wife, Elizabeth McConnell, who was full sister to Martha McConnell Walker — the title character of “My Dear Aunt Martha.” I didn’t have a middle name for the colourful John A. Jones (1729-1840). Am I to take it that this middle name was “AIK”? Although I show in the biographical index of this book only the descendants who are linked to the characters of the content — including his grandson, your Jesse M. (s/o Samuel and Mary Somerset), I show John Sr’s first child in my database as Jacob “Aik”. Furthermore, I did now know his wife’s Somerset surname until your information. Thus my data is not likely to help you in your search for more information about her. However, I look forward to comparing notes and filling in respective blanks with you and I will connect with you off this site for that purpose.

      • Billie May Bowron said,

        10/23/2015 at 14:31

        John Aik Jones,1729-1840, Franklin Co.,PA had a son named: Jesse Jones,1795-1860 married to 1th wife: Mary Ann McGowan and 2nd wife: Mary Brooks. A man named: Bob Jones in Fl and help from what Information I have on Jesse Jones, were able to know now that John Aik Jones is Jesse Jones father. Bob Jones is from Jesse Jones son Samuel and my Joseph Jones is Jesse son also. We both have a lot of information on Jesse Jones, son to John Aik Jones. Just thought I would let you know.

        Just found you just now and here I am writing you. Did not know of your book till today. Is it still available? Please let me know.

        Thank you.
        Billie May Bowron.
        South Dakota.

      • 10/26/2015 at 09:45

        Thank you Billie May, I believe Bruce Jones, who has also posted here, is another descendant of John Aik Jones.

  22. Gregory M. Dye said,

    02/18/2016 at 11:30

    Barbara, the book looks very interesting. My line is part of the infamous James Dye line that were neighbors of the Parkers, Alexanders, McConnell’s, Pope’s etc. of that 1830~1860 time frame.

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