A man meets death by caving of a bank.

This article was taken from the Ottumwa Weekly Courier, Thursday Evening, May 10th 1894.


A Man Meets Death by Caving of a Bank.

Andrew Dickey, A Worthy Laborer, is Killed While at Work in Padden’s Gorge.


From Wednesday’s Daily.

Yesterday Afternoon, at approximately 4 o’clock, Andrew Dickey was instantly killed by the caving of a bank in the rear of C. E. Norton’s lot which faced on Marion Street.It seems that Mr. Dickey, along with three other men, were digging under a bank intending to cave it off, and thus make a start grading the lot of Mr. Norton, which is some 20 feet above the alley at that point. The bank was made of what is called joint clay with an under strata of sandy soil. When the sandy strata had been partially mined away, the entire top of the bank had caved in, burying the four men working below it, under several tons of dirt. They were engaged in loading a wagon, and three of the men were covered with dirt but so forced under the wagon that their heads were uninjured and they escaped with a few bruises. Mr. Dickey was not so fortunate, and his head was struck on the hub of the front wheel,fracturing the skull, and probably breaking his neck. He was a member of the Odd Fellows and was an industrious and hard working man. He had lived at Fairview and had been employed in the mines during the winter. He leaves a wife and two children who are wild with grief. Mr. Dickey was 45 years of age. No blame can be attached to the contractor, as the men dug under the bank in his absence. The bank which caved in, is the last survivor of the walls of the famous Paddon gorge and it is to be hoped to be the last trouble which is to  result of that rash piece of idiocy.



Andrew Dickey

A horrible death



Andrew Dickey Crushed by Tons of Earth.


(Ottumwa Daily Republican)


Ottumwa, May 9th,1894. Yesterday afternoon at 4:30 o’clock while a gang of men were at work grading a lot for Chas. Norton between Fifth and Sixth street near the O.D Wray residence, a bank of earth caved in and three men were caught beneath its weight. They were Andrew Dickey, Charley Van Neas and C.E Penuberton. Dickey was killed and the others painfully, if not seriously injured.

The place where the men were working was in a narrow alley in the rear of Norton’s lot. The alley had been cut down to grade and the lot was being cut down to conform. The rear end of the lot was 13 0r 14 feet above grade. Wagons were driven through the alley and the dirt which was loosened

from the bank was shoveled into them by the workmen. The space between the wagon and the perpendicular bank was not more than 3 or 4 feet, and it was here where Dickey and his companions were at work.

All at once and without warning a section of this huge bank 3 or 4 feet in thickness broke away and swayed towards the wagon. The workmen could not escape, and were caught before they realized what was taking place.

Andrew Dickey, the most unfortunate of the trio was struck on the head and shoulders by the mass and was quickly forced forward and down under this immense weight. In his fall his head came in contact with the hub of the wagon which was being loaded. The result was indeed horrible.

The four of the five men who were working on the job quickly went to work and uncovered their companions, when it was found that Dickey was dead. His skull was laid open from just above the eyes to the rear part of his head. Blood and brains were oozing out and the sight is one which will never be forgotten by those who had witnessed it. The features were not in the least recognizable.

The remains were taken to the undertaking establishment of John W McIntyre, where they were prepared for burial. The skill of T.C. Sullivan the managing undertaker, after several hours of work, had the face arranged so it was in a degree that of Andrew Dickey.

Deceased was born September 25th, 1860., in Knox County, IL. In 1872 the family moved to near Hayesville, Keokuk County, this state, where several years ago Andrew was married. Last September he and his family of wife and two sweet little girls moved to this city., where they have since resided. The place of residence was near the corner of Second and Grave streets in the west part of the city.

Deceased has worked at the Adams&Blakely mine, and also for the Construction Co. he had been working for his present employer, Ed Gunder, only for a short time.


G.W. Dickey, father of the deceased, whose home is three miles south of Hayesville, was notified immediately after the accident and left for once for the city. He was first allowed to view the body of his son this morning as it lay on the table at the undertaker’s.

A Republican reporter was present and was a witness to the heart broken father’s intense grief. Tears trickled down the furrowed cheeks and the aged form fairly shook with throbs of sorrow. It was indeed sad to contemplate his having parted with his son only a short time ago, the latter a perfect picture of health and manhood, and then to observer him cold in death, so cruelly mangled and disfigured.

The wife is beside herself with grief and cannot be consoled. The affair was so sudden that she has not had time to reason over it.

The remains will be taken to Delta at6:10 this evening via the Milwaukee. At 10 tomorrow the funeral will take place at Bethel church near Delta. It will be conducted by the I.O.O.P lodge of that place of which organization the deceased was a member in good standing.

Virgil Nelson Knowles

Our Iowa roots ancestry began with him

In researching the Knowles ancestors, it appears some are more difficult to trace than others. What I know from researching Virgil is through an obituary. The obituary dated August 1st 1901 from the Keosauqua Republican.

He was born May 23rd 1837 in Knox County, Ohio to David Knowles and Mary  (Stultz) Knowles. The obituary goes on saying that when he was about 23, he and his mother moved to Illinois for two years before moving to Henry County, Iowa. He was employed by the Pinkerton Grist Mill. Later on, after he moved to Van Buren County, Iowa, he worked for the Coltrane Grist Mill ( previously Siglers). He married Martha Jane Coletrane on February 2nd 1865. Virgil and Martha had eight children, four boys and four girls. Virgil died on July 23rd 1901 at his home. The obituary said that when Virgil was younger, he was kicked in the head by a horse, and must have suffered from the injury most of his life.

In 1860, Virgil was listed living with his mother and sister, Ann in Cedar Township, Van Buren County, Iowa with the Post Office Winchester.

Mary, Virgil’s mother died on July 27th 1862. She is buried in the beautiful Spencer Cemetery located outside Stockport, Iowa.

By 1870, Virgil and wife Martha, are living in Cedar Township, Van Buren County, Iowa, with the Post Office listed as Hillsboro. Virgil and Martha have been married 5 years and have the following children listed: Harvey, Lafayette, and Laura.

In looking at the 1880 census, it appears as if Virgil and Martha are still living in Cedar Township, Van Buren County, Iowa. They add the last five children to their family, and they are: Ida Ann, Evalena, Jessie, John, and Elizabeth.  Martha is listed as having rheumatism.

Finally, while perusing the 1900 census, he is showed as the father-in-law under Silas Gregory, the husband of daughter Evalena. He is listed as being 63 years old. Silas’s family were heavily involved within the Friends Church. Additionally, daughter, Elizabeth’s obituary said she was a member of Hickory Grove Friends Church. While researching at the library in Keosauqua, microfilm references in several scrapbooks about the old hickory neighborhood.

Virgil’s wife Martha, died in 1881. Ida Ann, their daughter, or “Izzy” as she was called by close ones , died when she was 16 in 1886. They are also buried in Spencer Cemetery, Stockport, Iowa. There is a tall three-side faded headstone that can be viewed here: Virgil, Martha and Izzy’s headstone .



David Knowles

My 5th great grandfather, established roots in Connecticut, and Ohio.

Years ago. More specifically, in the fall of November 2001, I was laid off from a factory destined to close and transfer production several states away. I was laid off right before Thanksgiving that year. It was during that time, that I received the genealogy bug. My daughters came home from school, and were probing questions about my family history. I was caught off guard. A quick phone call to the parents, got me the required information I needed. It was during that layoff I connected to a genealogy researcher from California through some genealogy email queries. Through her, I was able to establish David Knowles as an ancestor. Another researcher related to one of David’s daughters, put together a biography of David that was well researched. I have included it below. Thanks, Betty, and Pam for work well done here.

David Knowles, son of Elizur Knowles and Johanna Hill was born on May 22, 1792 in Lanesville, Litchfield, Connecticut. David’s great- grandfather, William Knowles and his wife, Innocent Butts Phillips, were Quakers who had moved from Rhode Island to a large Quaker community in New Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut in 1751.

We assume that David and his family were Quakers, but cannot prove it since we do not have access to the records of early Litchfield Quaker meetings which is the only place the family’s membership in the Society of Friends would be recorded.

Prior to 1850, marriages, deaths, and births within a Quaker meeting, were not recorded with civil authorities. The fact that David’s birth and his father’s birth were recorded by the town of Milford could mean that they were not Quakers. Or, it could mean that they were Quakers, but their parents were disowned at the time of their births, so the births were registered with town officials.

Since there is no record of David’s first marriage to your five times great grandmother, it could be that they were married “in meeting” and the marriage was not reported to civil officials. If David was a Quaker, it would have been mandatory for the couple to make their proposed marriage public in meeting. The proposed marriage would have been recorded within the minutes of the Quaker meeting as would the actual marriage several months later.

We do not know the name of David’s first wife, your five times great-grandmother. Many family genealogies wrongly cite Thankful Taylor as his first spouse. Although a Thankful Taylor did marry a David Knowles, he was not our David Knowles. Thankful Taylor lived to be an old lady and your five times great-grandmother died before 1831.

David’s first child, Louisa Carolyn, was born in 1813 in Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut. Seven years later he and his family were living in Berlin, Coshocton, Ohio and by 1823 they were living in the nearby county of Knox, Ohio where your four times great grandmother, Dorothy Ann, was born. One has to wonder how a family living in Connecticut in the early 1800’s was enticed to migrate to the Ohio frontier.

After the War of 1812, a series of laws were passed by the federal government to encourage people to migrate to lands west of the Appalachian Mountains. The Land Act of 1820 allowed settlers to buy as little as 80 acres at $1.25 an acre with only $100 down. Special provisions were made for the “squatters” who were already on federal land by allowing them to purchase the land even more cheaply if they had made improvements such as building homes, barns, or fences.

The New England states had been economically devastated by the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. By 1820 a flood of New England migrants was moving to what was known as the Old Northwest Territory – the states of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. In fact, migrants from Connecticut formed one of the largest state groups to settle in pre- state Ohio. Ohio’s population in 1810 was 45,000 and just ten years later it had grown to 581,434.

We have spoken before about the inaccuracies of the census takers due to being paid by the number of names recorded and not the accuracy of their information. They often relied on neighbors for the information if the family was not present.

It is believed that the David Knowles and family recorded in the 1820 Berlin, Coshocton, Ohio is our David Knowles. The census records the population as Head of family, Males: under 10, 10-16, 16-18 16-26 26-45 and 45 and over and Females: under 10, 10-16, 16-18, 16-26, 26-45 and 45. David was recorded as 16-25 but we know that he was 28. Your five times great-grandmother is recorded as 16-18 years old. Their only child, Louisa, is seven years old but the census records her as a male. Nevertheless, we think this is our David.

By 1828, David and his wife have five children who were all born in Ohio except for Louisa who was born in Connecticut. His son, Daniel was born in Pike, Coshocton, Ohio in 1822, but the other three were all born in Knox County, Ohio with your four times great grandmother, Dorothy Ann, being the first in 1823. David and his young family were considered to be early settlers of Knox County, Ohio.

In 1830, there are 938,903 people living in Ohio. David is listed on the census as a male 30 and under 40. His wife is listed as 20 and under 30. There are eight children living in the Knowles home in Clinton, Knox, Ohio – two boys and one girl under the age 5, one male and two females “of 5 and under 10,” [your three times great grandmother Dorothy would have been 7] and one male of 10 and under 15. There is one female 15-19, Louisa Carolyn, 17.

David’s wife died after the census was taken in 1830 and before January 10, 1831, when he remarried. A Justice of the Peace conducted the marriage ceremonies for David’s next two marriages which might mean that his wives were not Quakers or that he just wanted to get married more quickly than the Quaker tradition would allow due to his children being so young.

Registration of Marriage: David Knowles to Mrs. Mary Ritter

The state of Ohio, Knox County:

I do hereby certify that on the 10th of Jan. by virtue of a license from the Clerk of the County of [can’t read] for Knox County Mr. David Knowles and Mrs. Mary Ritter were legally joined in marriage by me a justice of the peace within the foresaid county – given under my hand. [Can’t read] this 14th day of March 1831. Gideon [can’t read] JP

“Marrying out of community” [marrying someone who was not a Quaker] and “marrying out of meeting” [marrying before a Justice of the Peace or the clergy] would have meant that David would have been disowned by the Quaker congregation. In fact, the Society of Friends would only sanction a marriage taking place within the meeting between two Quakers and the clergy was never allowed to be involved.

Even if David and his wife had been disowned by the Quakers, it did not mean banishment from the Quaker community. The purpose in disowning a member was not to punish the person. The purpose of disowning was to tell the world that the Quaker community did not approve the behavior that caused the disowning. It was always possible for the disowned person to rejoin the Quaker community if he publicly and in writing professed his wrong doing.

The disowned could still go to church and would not be shunned by other Quakers, but they could not attend business meetings. Therefore, it is possible that David was disowned for his marriages before the Justice of the Peace and/or not marrying a Quaker, but he still was able to work as a miller. The fact that he states his occupation as a miller on the 1850 Federal census lends credence to his being a Quaker since the mill owners, millwrights, and millers were predominantly Quakers.

Another fact that supports David being a Quaker is that his estate left an inheritance to the children of his first wife. This was a requirement of the Quaker community. There is no record of where David or our great-grandmother were buried which might also lend credence to his having been a Quaker since they were not allowed to be buried in Christian cemeteries. Generally, Quakers were buried in unmarked graves on land given for Quaker burials by a Quaker farmer. It could also be that our not knowing either burial spot is just due to a lack of Ohio record keeping at the time.

David’s second wife evidently died quite soon after they married since he married his third wife, Mary Stultz, about a year and a half later on October 11, 1832.

Registration of Marriage: Mr. David Knowles to Miss Mary Stultz the Clk of the Co. of [can’t read] this is to inform you that Mr. David Knowles and Miss Mary Stultz were united in matrimony Stultz according to the law on Thursday the 11 of Oct 1832 by me. Wm Hayes

When David married for the third time, he would have been 42 and Mary, 31. He had five children from his first marriage ranging in age from 3 to 18; your four times great grandmother, Dorothy, was about 9 when Mary became her new step-mother. David and Mary became the parents of six more children during their twenty-four-year marriage.

In 1840, Ohio’s population has swelled to 1.4 million people. David is residing with his family in Milford, Knox County, Ohio. David, 50, and Mary, 30-40, have eight children under the age of 20 living with them. There is a son under the age of 5, a daughter and son who are 10-15, a son and a daughter who are between 15 and 19. Your four times great grandmother, Dorothy, is 17. Three family members are engaged in agriculture.

In 1840, the county seat of Knox had seven churches, twenty dry goods stores, six grocery stores, two hardware stores, three apothecary stores and two bookstores. There was a fulling, four grist and five saw-mils, and three newspapers. The population was 2,363.

In 1850, David, 60, and Mary, 47, live with six of their children in Burlington, Licking, Ohio. This is the first census to record everyone’s name who lived in the household. Elizabeth is 16, Virgil is 13, Margaret is12, Juliet is 10, George is 8, and Amelia is 4. Mary was born in Pennsylvania and all of the children were born in Ohio.

David is listed as a Miller. Since the craft of a miller was learned in an apprenticeship, he was probably apprenticed as a young man in Connecticut to a Quaker Mill owner and practiced the craft the rest of his life.

David was probably a miller for a custom mill where individuals and farmers brought their grain for grinding. The miller was paid for his service by collecting a portion of the grain milled which was usually 1/8th for corn and 1/6th for wheat. The custom mill is usually referred to as a grist mill, so it is likely that David worked at one of the four grist mills that existed in 1846 in the Mount Vernon area. This was a seasonal business that operated just during the harvest, so the miller was often the person who owned the mill, but judging from his small estate, we assume he just worked for the mill. David probably farmed in the “off season” since he owned a small farm and he did indicate on the 1840 census that he worked in agriculture.

A “DNA fourth cousin” wrote that David and his son Marquis were “wagoners” who transported goods in Conestoga wagons on the National Road between Connecticut and Ohio, but she offered no proof. The census does not ask for an occupation but just how many members were engaged in agriculture. Marquis would have been 25 in 1850 and could very well have traveled with his father and the National Road ran through Licking County.

The non-population schedule of September 12, 1850 also lends credence to David supporting his family during the non-harvesting season by working on his farm. The schedule gives a snapshot of his farm. He owned 50 acres of land with 35 acres of it being improved and 15 acres unimproved. He valued his farm at $1,000 and his farm implements at $50. He owned 2 horses, 3 milch cows [milk cow], 1 other cow, 20 sheep, and 4 swine with a livestock value of $210. He owned 320 bushels of wheat and16 bushels of Indian corn.

His farm is listed on the same federal census page as Thomas Jones, Sr. so they would have been neighbors and this is no doubt how your four times great grandparents, Dorothy Ann Knowles and Thomas Jones met. They were married February 24, 1846 and continued to live near Thomas’s grandparents and her father until 1850/1851 when they moved to Illinois.

David died on May 1, 1855 at the age of 65. Dorothy Ann Knowles Jones, your four times great-grandmother, a widow, was living in Warren County, Illinois when her father died. She received $50 from the Knox County Ohio Estate Settlement. The total estate was $926.12 with $437.50 paid out to debts, bills, and administrative costs. $452.42 was paid to his children and to his widow leaving a sum of $37.20 in the probate.

William Knowles Last Will and Testament

Another view from New Milford,Ct.

“…I give to my wife for the term of her life the South part of the house in which I now live, also the use of a low(?) warming pan and two herbs gathered, with one-third part of my real estate and after her death to be divided in the same manner as I hereafter direct for the rest of my estate to be namely: I give to my only son Arthur two-thirds of the remainder of all my estate Whether Lands or Moveables to him and his assigns for ever and the remaining part of my estate I give to my only daughter Elizabeth and to her assigns for ever and I so constitute my son, Arthur, Executor of this my Last Will and Testament and trustee for my aged wife, in witness whereof I have here unto put my name and seal this 20th day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety four.”

Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999, Probate Files Collection, Early to 1880; Author: Connecticut State Library (Hartford, Connecticut); Case Number: 1457; Item Description: Probate Packets, Keeler, Stephen-Loveridge, A, 1787-1880, Probate Place: Hartford, Connecticut; Source Information: Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Connecticut County, District and Probate Courts.

William Knowles

local tradition suggests he was from England

A few years ago, I started doing family history. I was tracing my father’s line and have came to a sudden halt.One of my ancestors is William Knowles. In looking at the research done by Stanwood Knowles Bolton, even he does not include William into the descendants of Henry Knowles. He does however, include addendum explaining it. Furthermore, KKNFA did DNA comparison, and William does not tie into the family genetically.William was in Rhode Island for a bit, and then off to Connecticut. New Milford Connecticut Historical Society sent me a picture of the Knowles homestead ( still standing). The photo showed gravestones laying flat like a sidewalk. I had found that the Knowles had property where Candlewood Lake was made. Old books about the lake suggest cemeteries were relocated. At this point, I can only assume that they are still buried somewhere in Candlewood Lake, and that the stones were supposed to represent that. Now, what I have a problem with is all the researchers on, claiming that William was the son of Richard Knowles and Martha Cobb. A little research proves otherwise. If you are a Knowles descendant, and can add some light to the parentage of William, please shed some light on the matter.