This past week I've spent time researching my great great grandmother Arthelia Isabel Darrah and her husband, Jacob Stoner. I never met my second great grandpa Stoner as he died 12 years before I was born. According to my grandmother, Sylvia Lee, her mother, Lulu Stoner, had described her father as having an itchy foot. What she meant was that he was never very content staying too long in one place. This was certainly confirmed as I located him in census records in various locations.
Jacob Stoner was born in 1856 in Iowa. I found him with his parents on the 1860 census living in Mercer County Missouri. Since he was only three years old at the time of the census we can hardly blame him for the move to Missouri. He married Arthela I. Darrah on September 11, 1879 in Appanoose County, Iowa. I located him one year later on the 1880 Census in Appanoose County, with his wife and young daughter. They were living next door to his father-in-law, W.P. Darrah. So far he had reached the age of 24 before his wanderlust kicked into high gear.
We next find Jacob Stoner in 1889 living on the Kitsap Penninsula in the Washington Territory in the little town of Port Gambel. I have driven through Port Gambel on numerous occasions en route to the Olympic Penninsula via the Kingston Ferry and the Hood Canal Bridge. I was stunned to find that my gggrandfather Jacob Stoner used to live there. Port Gambel is very small now, consisting of a small cluster of restored houses. Many years ago there was a large lumber mill in Port Gambel. I assume the logs were floated to the mill as it was located right on Puget Sound. I would have expected that Jacob would have been working at the sawmill, but the census records list his occupation as farmer. That would mean that Jacob Stoner tried to grow crops in the same peculiar maritime climate that I have. I'm very curious as to what sort of farm he had and what he might have grown on that farm. In 1889 Jacob Stoner had 5 children, Lena age 9, Lula age 7, Nellie age 6, Josie age 3, and Lucias, the youngest child whose age wasn't legible on the document. The older four children were female while the youngest child, Lucias, was a male. The older three children were born in Iowa which means they would have stayed in Iowa until at least 1883. Josie age 3 had been born in Dakota (it didn't specify North or South but maybe there was only one Dakota then) in about 1886 while Lucias was born in Washington.
About sixteen years after his marriage to Arthelia Darrah, Jacob Stoner married Lydia Ann Shaeffer on January 25, 1894 back in Appanoose County, Iowa. I'm not sure exactly when Arthelia died, but appears that they had moved back to Iowa shortly after the Territorial Census as they had an additional child born in about 1889 in Iowa. I can only imagine how hard her life might have been as she followed her husband from Iowa to the Dakotas and out to Washington State and then back to Iowa with their ever growing family. I wonder how much of that they traveled by wagon. I imagine they might have taken a train to the Washington Territory and back to Iowa. I wonder what sparked each of the moves. Maybe there was the opportunity for cheap land elsewhere that spurred some of their moves.
I haven't found Jacob Stoner yet on the 1895 Iowa State Census but I'm pretty sure he should have been in Iowa at that time as he remarried in Iowa in 1894 and then had three children in Iowa in about 1894, 1897 and about 1898. That represented a long time in one place for Jacob Stoner as I found him on the 1900 Census with his second wife living in Gypsom Township in Sedgewick County, Kansas. This time they had nine children, six from his first wife and three from his second wife. The 1900 census lists Josie as having been born in South Dakota while Roy L. Stoner was now 13 and was listed has having been born in the Washington Territory. The children from his second wife are three daughters, Laura E. Stoner, Bessie K.Stoner, and Martha A. Stoner. They are listed as being 6, 4, and 2 years old respectively. I was actually able to find birth records in Wayne County, Iowa for Bessie K. Stoner (born 31 March, 1897) and an unnamed female baby Stoner (born 22 December, 1898). I presume the unnamed baby is probably Martha A. Stoner.
I found Jacob Stoner on the 1910 Census living in Grady, Oklahoma, still with his second wife,"Liddie" and six children. the census shows that "Liddie" Stoner had five children, all five of which were still living. The two new additions were daughters Olive Stoner, born in about 1903 in Kansas, and Marie Stoner, born in about 1906 in Oklahoma. His son, Roy Stoner, born in Washington, was also living with the family. Roy Lucias Stoner was the ultimate middle child with five sisters ahead of him and five half sisters behind him. Jacob Stoner must have tired of moving around at some point as he stayed in Oklahoma until he died in Nowata, Oklahoma in 1940. I found Jacob Stoner and his second wife Lydia on the 1930 census living in Nowata with their daughter Olive and her husband Edward Stand. Jacob Stoner's path in life, as far as I can determine started in Iowa, then moved to Missouri and back to Iowa. Then he moved to South Dakota then to the Washington Territory, then back to Iowa, next to Kansas, and finally to Oklahoma. He and his family would have been difficult to locate, but for the recently indexed census records. I feel like we should give a big round of applause to all the indexers.