Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Louisa Pursel, Sister Evanela and First Cousins

Woodland Park, Columbus, Ohio 
Louisa Pursel was the mother of Mary Dornberg. She lived in the house with the Dornberg family before her death in 1912. After seeing her gravestone at Mount Calvary Cemetery, I decided I "needed" to know more about the Pursels. What a tangled web of early Franklin County history.

Louisa was a Pursel before she married Zephaniah B. Pursel, so I know there is some sort of connection to be found between both sides.

Louisa was the daughter of Samuel Pursel and Nancy O'Harra. An article in the Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly of July 1912 contains a story that fills in some details. "Nancy O'Harra related to her daughter that she rode from Baltimore, Maryland, on horseback with her brother to Franklinton, Ohio, and passed through where Columbus is now, following a path through a dense forest of trees. Her brother Daniel (O'Harra) later kept a dry goods store in Franklinton. She said that her uncle, James, lived along the Scioto river. She had brothers Daniel, James and Joseph (O'Harra).

She married Samuel Pursell, August 26, 1810, (the marriage records in Franklin county Probate Court show those dates, and by William Brundridge). Her daughter (Louisa) was born July 22, 1828.

She (Louisa) married Zephaniah Pursell and they resided six miles from the Court House in Columbus. It is one mile from the old Chillicothe pike road to the east line of the Pursell farm. There was a red frame school house standing on the farm on the north side of the road in 1906, when this information was gained from Mrs. Zephaniah (Louisa) Pursell, who had a good picture of her mother, taken when she was sixty-three years of age, the year that the daughter was married. Another daughter, Sarah Josephine, was at that time Sister Evanela, at the Convent at Tiffin, Ohio. Her age was fifty-four."

College of Ursuline Sisters, Tiffin, Ohio
Aha! So, that's why the Dornberg girls were sent to school at the College of Ursuline Sisters in Tiffin in 1900. Their great-aunt was there. The Ursuline sisters arrived in Tiffin in 1863, starting an academy for girls. Eventually this academy developed into what is now Calvert High School. The building, located at Madison and Jefferson streets, was torn down in the mid-1970s. The original St. Mary’s church was also located in this vicinity.

More about Samuel can be found in the 1880 History of Franklin and Pickaway Counties, listed under Hamilton Township. "In 1809, Samuel Pursel came to Ohio, from near Brownsville, Pennsylvania, a town on the Monongahela river. Shortly after coming, he was married to Nancy O'Harra, whose parents were pioneers of the old town of Franklinton, and located in Hamilton, a short distance south of where Rees' station now is. Subsequently, he settled in the west part of the township, on the Chillicothe road, where he lived until his death, which occurred in the year 1844. Mr. Pursel was a volunteer in the war of 1812, and assisted in building the blockhouses at Upper Sandusky. He was an expert hunter, and, during the early years of his settlement, killed a great many deer, wild turkeys, and smaller game, which, as was the custom among the pioneers, he divided with his neighbors. Ten children were born to him. Mrs. Harriet Stimmel (d. 1894), now residing in this township, was the eldest, and was born in this township, in March, 1811. She became the wife of Yost Stimmel (now deceased), son of Michael Stimmel. Mrs. Stimmel has three children: Mrs. John R. (Louisa) Cook, in Columbus; John, in this township, and Smith Stimmel, an attorney-at-law in Cincinnati. She has buried four." Yost Stimmel and Harriet were married October 1, 1835 in Franklin County. William Pursel, born February 22, 1813 in Columbus was another son of Samuel and Nancy. He married Rebecca Stimmel January 5, 1843 in Franklin County and they had seven children; Morris, Nancy, Luke, Yost, Rachael, Edith and Ella. Rees' Station was located near Groveport and Big Walnut Creek.

As an interesting Columbus history aside, in 1810-1811, John O'Harra kept a tavern in Franklinton. A notice in the Franklinton Freeman's Chronicle newspaper of 1812-13 found online holds an appeal for all "bar tabs" to be paid as John is looking to retire.

Zephaniah B. Pursel was the son of Isaiah Zephaniah Pursel and Rachel McDonald. He was born about 1827, probably in Hamilton Township, Franklin County, Ohio. The family resided in that township in 1830. And if you are a Zephaniah researcher who stumbled on this page looking for your ancestor, be aware that there is another Zephaniah Pursel, born about 1833-1834, probably in Ohio, who also went to Iowa, but then traveled further west and died in 1909.

Definitely by 1850 and perhaps as early as 1845, the family headed by Isaiah moved to Iowa City, Iowa. The 1856 Iowa State Census shows "Zeph" and Louisa married and living in Pleasant Valley, Iowa with two children, "J." and "C.H." So, Zephaniah and Louisa were married sometime between 1850 and 1856, probably about 1853 and more than likely in Iowa. How did Louisa end up in Iowa with this other group of Pursels? I think that after Samuel died, Nancy and her remaining children at home moved to Iowa after 1850 to take advantage of the support of their extended family, and then "Zeph" and Louisa returned to Columbus.

By 1863, Zephaniah and Louisa were back in Franklin County. The Civil War Draft Registration of that year shows Zephaniah to be a "gate keeper" in Franklin Township, Franklin County.

The 1880 Census for Mifflin Township shows "Z.B. Pursell" a dairyman, his wife "Lizzy" age 50,  and two daughters, "S. Jos." age 25, and "M.F." age 17.

Columbus City Directories of 1889-1892 list Zephaniah as a, stock dealer, in one place, but having the farm variously described as being located "near St. Mary's Academy," "Shepard, Ohio," and "S. Johnstown Road" - Shepard was a small community located near the intersection of Nelson Road and East Fifth Avenue, and St. Mary's Academy is now Ohio Dominican College.

Zephaniah died in May 1892 and in the 1894 Columbus City Directory, Louisa is listed as a boarder at 389 Lexington Avenue, which happens to be the first Columbus residence of the Dornberg family, though later directories show that she was living at the old farm in 1898.

So, I'm still left with the question of how Louisa is related to her husband, Zephaniah.
Thomas Purcell, Sr.

Zephaniah's family line goes something like this:
Generation I
Thomas Purcell, Sr., 1720-1779, Revolutionary War soldier.
Generation II***
John Pursel, Sr., born in Loudoun County, Virginia in 1747, died in 1815 in Franklinton, Franklin County, Ohio.
 married before 1772 in Loudoun County, Virginia
Sarah Osburn, born about 1751 in Loudoun County, Virginia, daughter of John and Sarah (Morris), died in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.
Generation III
Isaiah Zephaniah Pursel, born about 1791 in Pennsylvania, died May 21, 1867 in Johnson City, Iowa. Buried at Oaklawn Cemetery, Iowa City.
 married* Rachel McDonald, November 18, 1825 in Franklin County, Ohio. 
Rachel McDonald, born May 25, 1807 in Pennsylvania, died August 28, 1888 in Iowa.
Generation IV
Zephaniah B. Pursel, born about 1827, probably in Franklin County, Ohio, died 1892, Columbus, Ohio.
 married about 1853, probably in Iowa
Louisa Pursel, born July 22, 1828 in Franklin County, Ohio, died June 1, 1912, Columbus, Ohio.
Generation V
Mary Frances Pursel
George Alfred Dornberg, Sr.

Louisa's line is a little harder to ascertain, but differs only in one generation from the above.
Generation III
Samuel Pursel, born 1785, Brownsville**, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, died March 14, 1843 in Franklin County, Ohio. Buried in Walnut Hill Cemetery, Franklin County.
 married August 26, 1810, Franklin County, Ohio
Nancy O' Harra, born July 15, 1890, Virginia.

Isaiah and Samuel were brothers, sons of John, making Louisa and Zephaniah first cousins.

*On a side note, Isaiah first married Abigial Vance, August 8, 1816. Abigail was probably the son of Joseph (and Cynthia) Vance. Joseph Vance died June 8, 1824, aged 49 years and was buried in the old Franklinton Cemetery.

**Alternately, W. Brownsfield, Washington County, Pennsylvania

***John and Sarah of Generation II above were the hardest to track down. Their children were Tamar Elizabeth, Enos, Abel, Mary, John Jr., Samuel, Moses, Isaiah and Morris.

No comments:

Post a Comment