1 A brief biography of Ruth Ann Ashcraft: mystery solved! by her great-great-grandson Richard Alan Edwards My mother, Lola Adell Blue ( ), and her mother, Mable Edna Groom ( ), instilled in me a love of family history and genealogy full of stories and names and written down and researched in an attempt to know the even larger tale of our own history and how we fit into the world. Participating with them in their lists and family trees and research in the days of letter writing and microfilm created in me a love of history and research that led, from my very early years, to my pursuit of degrees in History (BA, 1977, WSU) and Librarianship (MLS, 1989, UW). I know that my 30+ year career in libraries is due to this start when I was young and my debt to these women. I write this document dedicated to them, my mother and grandma, in honor of their inspiration in this field. They knew their female line of descent went back through my grandmother Groom s mother, Ida Harriet Harting ( ) to her mother, Ruth Ann Ashcraft ( ). But among all their attempts at genealogical research, they balked at looking into the Ashcraft family because of our family s oral tradition that Ruth was adopted. If she was not really an Ashcraft, then there was no way to discover more. So they spent their valuable research time on other family lines, most notably the Blues and Grooms. In 2011 while converting our family papers to online records at Ancestry.com, I ran across what little my mother and grandma had written about Ruth Ann Ashcraft and dutifully added it to Ancestry. Ancestry, of course, found historical records for Ruth and brought them to my attention. I dutifully added those records to Ruth s entry but hesitated to go further and simply noted in our family story that she was adopted by them. In mid-2012, while reviewing more records, I discovered what I now believe to be the true tale of Ruth and her early life and began writing this document. Though there were gaps and contradictory information (when isn t there in genealogy?) I thought I could piece together her genealogy in a way that led me to think that she truly was the daughter of Richard Ashcraft ( ) and Jane Lucinda Lloyd ( ). In November 2012, thanks to Ancestry.com DNA matching, I now have proof that solves the adoption mystery for our maternal line once and for all and thus restored our rich and amazing Ashcraft family history to our genealogy. Richard A. Edwards November 18, 2012 in Chehalis, WA Ruth Ann Ashcraft ( )
2 Richard Ashcraft, the third of his name, was born on 3 February 1817 in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, son of the well known Richard Leather Stocking Ashcraft, and Mary Nugent, local pioneers about whom much has been written was a monumental year for Richard Ashcraft III. It is unknown when he married Mary Nagle (daughter of Richard Nagle and Margaret Dodson), but in 1850 Richard and Mary had a daughter born on the 19 th of May, Julianna (Julia/Julie) Ashcraft. Unfortunately Mary, (Mariam Magdalena Nagle- Ashcraft), died in childbirth and was baptized in danger of death on 26 May Her daughter, Julianna was baptized the same day with Richard and Margaret Nagle (her grandparents) as godparents. 2 By July 27 th when the US Census was taken in Cambria County, the 2 month old Julia A. Ashcraft was living with her grandparents, Richard and Mary Nagle. Meanwhile the 33 year old father, Richard, was living on the farm of Samuel Dodson, most likely a relative of his mother-in-law and a nearby neighbor of his father, Richard Ashcraft II and the rest of the Ashcraft family, including Richard s younger sister, Ruth (born about 1836). In Richard married Jane Lucinda Lloyd ( ), daughter of Henry Lloyd and Jane Forcier/Forshee 5. To them were born many children beginning with twin daughters, Mississippi and Tennessee, in Eldest son, Minnesota, was born in Ruth (perhaps named after her father s sister) was born on 2 April Randolph (known as John Randolph) was born 27 January 1860, in time to appear with the family in the 1860 US Census at Newman s Mills in Burnside Township 7. Richard, like many in his family, was a lumberman and fairly well off with $1200 worth of real estate and $300 valued in personal estate. Living nearby in was Adam Beck who would later play a role in Ruth s life. 1 Richard Ashcraft, II, "leather Stocking" of Cambria County, Pennsylvania: Some of His Ancestors and Descendants by Genevieve and Ralph Dudgeon, Levoux, Catholic Vital Records of Central Pennsylvania, Vol III, Page 204: #4663 Ashkraft, Mariam Magdalena [Nagle](d/Richard Nagle/omitted) b. -about 20 years old baptized in danger of death, god parents John and Brigetta [Barnicle] Nagle. #4664 Ashkraft, Julianna (Richard, non Catholic/Marie Magdalena Nagle) b 5-19 Susquehanna Twp. baptized godparents Richard Nagle, Margaret [Nagle] Dodson. # 5699 Ledoux, Burial Inscriptions of St. Joseph and St. Benedict Cemeteries, Carrolltown, Pa St. Josephs. Ashcraft, M. M. died age 20 yr-7 mo-5 days 3 Unknown source from Ancestry.com could be a guess based on their eldest children being born in Dates taken from headstone where she is buried with her first husband, Richard, in East Ridge Cemetery, Westover, Clearfield County, PA. 5 Family Tree of Dan and Dannie (Little) Buckley at gives Henry Lloyd III s family. Jane is also found with Henry Lloyd s family in the 1850 US Census for Susquehanna, Cambria County, PA, page 4. 6 Ruth Ashcraft appears in the 1860 US Census for Clearfield County, PA, page 14, as age 2 with Richard and Jane. Ruth Ann Ashcraft s death certificate (Dayton, WA, 18 May 1938) says she was born 2 April US Census for Clearfield County, PA, page US Census, Burnside Township, Clearfield County, page 17.
3 During the Civil War, it does not appear that Richard served in the military. His daughter Maria was born in 1861, twin sons Henry and Richard in 1862, son George Washington Ashcraft in In 1867 the twins married. Mississippi married Alexander McElwain (McIlwaine) 9. And Tennessee married William Russell 5 Oct 1967 in Clearfield County, PA. 10 Both men appear to have been carpenters. Mississippi s eldest child, John Crawford McElwain was born on April 9, Than finally daughter Jane (Sarah Jane?) was born to Richard and Jane about Then tragedy struck the family on 12 June 1870, rending them apart in ways that appear never to have healed. Richard Ashcraft III died. 13 For some reason it did not take long for the family to fall apart. Whether they had been parted prior to their father s death or shortly thereafter, by the time of the 1870 US Census on August 4, 1870 in Clearfield County, the children had been separated. Widowed Jane took the two youngest children, George and Jane, and moved in with her eldest daughter, Mississippi s McElwain family in Burnside. Alexander McElwain was a Carpenter. 14 Tennessee (Ashcraft) Russell (married, now age 17), Minnesota Ashcraft (age 14) and John Randolph Ashcraft (age 10) seem to have disappeared from the records about this time. Ruth Ashcraft was sent to live with Adam and Hannah Beck in Burnside Township 15. The Becks had a one year old daughter, Mary. I know of no relationship between the Becks and Ashcrafts, nor why they might have been chosen to adopt Ruth. Sister Maria Ashcraft (age 9) was sent to live with John B. and Maria Baum in Susquehanna, Cambria County, PA. 16 It is unknown if there is a relationship with the Baum family. The twin brothers, Richard and Henry Ashcraft (now age 8) were sent to Susquehanna, Cambria County, PA to live with Washington Lloyd, his wife, Catharine and family Ancestry Archive: Ashcraft-mo html. 10 Unknown source from Ancestry.com. 11 Ancestry Archive: Ashcraft-mo html. 12 All information from various sources, known and unknown, in Ancestry.com. 13 Headstone in East Ridge Cemetery, Westover, Clearfield County, PA US Census, Burnside Township, Clearfield County, PA page US Census, Burnside Township, Clearfield County, PA, page US Census, Susquehanna, Cambria County, PA, page US Census, Susquehanna, Cambria County, PA, page
4 How the divided family managed in the difficult decade of the 1870s does not seem to have been recorded though there are events that show an event greater rift between branches of the family. Between 1870 and 1872, Jane (Lloyd) Ashcraft seems to have remarried to a Joseph Dunlap. The 1880 US Census has them living in Burnside, Clearfield County, PA with their two new children, Ellis (born about 1873) and Alexander (born about 1876). 18 All her previous Ashcraft children seem to be gone from her new home. In 1878 Maria would marry David D Pentico and move to Iowa. 19 In 1879, Ruth marries Adam Thomas Harting in Russell, Kansas. 20 It is unknown how she decided to move to Kansas (the Becks remained in Clearfield County, PA, so she did not move with them) or how she met Adam Harting. The Beck household during the 1870s grew from the parents and one new baby along with Ruth to 5 children ranging in age from newborn to age 10 by In 1880 sister Jane (Sarah Jane?) Ashcraft, about age 13, appears to be working as a domestic servant in the home of William and Matilda Ownes in Burnside township, Clearfield, PA. 21 Brother George, age 14 in 1880, is living as Servant Farm Laborer in the home of Adam and Julie Miller in Elder, Cambria County, PA. 22 He would pass along to his family a similar story to Ruth s, about being adopted. 23 And John Randolph shows up again in 1880 s census as a laborer (age 19) in the home of a lumberman in McKean County, PA 24. The twin boys, Richard and Henry, now age 17 in 1880, are peeling bark for a living and boarding with Edward & Ettie Chase in Annin, McKean County, PA. 25 In 1882 Henry marries Sarah Adeline Pentico in Westover, Clearfield County, PA and moves to Iowa, following his sister Maria and her husband David Pentico. His twin brother, Richard, appears to have stayed in Clearfield County, PA until his death in 1892 when he is buried near his parents. 26 Jane Lloyd Ashcraft Dunlap died on the 9 th of December, 1891 in Burnside, Clearfield County, PA and was buried beside her first husband, Richard Ashcraft US Census, District 274, Burnside Township, Clearfield County, PA, page US Census, District 18, Des Moines, Jasper County, Iowa, page Ruth s life from her marriage in Russell, Kansas until her death in 1938 is well documented on Ancestry.com at US Census, Burnside township, Clearfield County, PA, page US Census, District 205, Elder, Cambria County, PA, page Ancestry.com comment on Ruth Ann Ashcraft s story from G.W.Ashcraft descendant, Dawn Ashcraft Lockmiller US Census, Annin Township, McKean County, PA, page US Census, Annin Township, McKean County, PA, page Headstone in East Ridge Cemetery, Westover, Clearfield County, PA. 27 Headstone in East Ridge Cemetery, Westover, Clearfield County, PA.
5 According to one story, Ruth and her family were separated and unknown to each other. Jane s estate file includes an interview with one of Jane s descendants in which he says about her daughter Ruth that she went west and married, but I do not know her husband's name 28. George Washington Ashcraft, a son of Richard Ashcraft and Jane Lloyd and brother to Ruth Ashcraft, told his family that he was also adopted and that he had a brother in northern Pennsylvania and a sister out in Kansas City, Kansas. 29 For her part, Ruth only told her family that she was adopted and it was only in 2012 that I discovered her adoption at the age of 12 by the Becks explained the story of her being adopted and yet also being actually an Ashcraft. None of Ruth s children knew her origins, aside from her birthdate and that she was from Clearfield County, PA. Her death certificate does not name her parents. DNA Proof While the documentation and stories listed above drove me to the conclusion that Ruth Ann Ashcraft truly was born an Ashcraft/Lloyd, it does not prove it. Below in the section on Oddities and Discrepancies there is further documentation and tales that seem to disprove my Ruth Ann Ashcraft was the Ruth Ashcraft, daughter of Richard Ashcraft and Jane Lloyd. However proof of my theory arrived in November 2012 when Ancestry.com DNA testing matched me with a 4 th to 6 th cousin, Andria Beauvais from Colorado Springs, CO. In reviewing her tree I found she is a direct descendant of Henry Lloyd and Jane Forcier through their son, George Washington Lloyd. 30 My only line of descent connection to Ms Beauvais is if Ruth Ann Ashcraft really was the daughter of Jane Lloyd who was the daughter of Henry Lloyd and Jane Forcier/Forshee. This DNA match proves that I am descended from the Lloyd family, something easily explained if Jane Lloyd was indeed the mother of Ruth Ann Ashcraft which would mean Ruth truly was the biological daughter of Richard Ashcraft and Jane Lloyd! Therefore, my earlier theory was correct. Ruth Ann Ashcraft s story, handed down orally through our family for decades, that she was adopted referred to her being taken in by the Becks and not being adopted by the Ashcrafts. She truly was the daughter of Richard Ashcraft and Jane Lloyd! 28 Rootsweb posting: From: com Subject: Re: [PaCambri] Joseph Dunlap; and Margaret Lantzy m Richard Ashcraft Date: Fri, 4 Jun :08:42 EDT. Also confirmed in from Maureen dated 27 Sept 2012 in which she says Jane Lloyd Ashcroft Dunlap's does not have a will per say. It is an estate file. In it there is a interview with one of her descendants, questioning him as to the whereabouts of her children. 29 from Dawn Lockmiller, descendant of George Washington Ashcraft, 20 Sept Ancestry.com family tree Sheehan, Wallace, Sones, Eaton, Swanson & Everyone else in_ at Reviewing the trees shows that Andria Beauvais and I are actually 5 th cousins once removed.
6 Oddities and Discrepancies. There are some oddities and discrepancies in the record and I outline them here for completeness though they cannot dispute the DNA proof. The obituary of Alexander Dunlap (Altoona Mirror, Dec 21, 1946) says he was survived by a half-sister, Mrs. Ruth Lecorchick of Barnesboro. Some genealogists have taken this to mean that his half-sister, Ruth Ashcraft, married someone named Lecorchick and remained in Pennsylvania. 27 The Dunlap children never seem to have lived with or even known their Ashcraft half-siblings, who were farmed out at a very young age and some of whom moved out of state. This information seems highly suspect. It seems highly unlikely that his half-sister, Ruth, who was born 20 years before he was, survived him (in fact, she died in 1938 in Dayton, Columbia County, WA). He was survived by a halfbrother, George Washington Ashcraft, who died in 1951, but he is not mentioned. According to "Descendants of Richard Ashcraft" by Georgia Montoya, Alice Dunlap's obituary (1929) says she was survived by two step-sisters: Alma and Ruth. She further mentions that Ruth Dunlap was born about 1920 in PA and notes she was "adopted." This is verified in the 1930 US Census. 31 In Alexander s household in 1940 his adopted daughter Ruth no longer appears but there is a Ruth J. Dunlap born about 1920 that appears in the 1940 US Census as a housekeeper for Warren J. Stephens in Chest township, Clearfield County, PA, about 10 miles away from Barnesboro. Did Ruth Dunlap marry a Lecorchick between 1940 and 1946? There are Lecorchick families in Barnesboro in the 1940 census, but no Ruths. If Ruth Ashcraft had married a Lecorchick after 1940 she would be in her 80s! But if Ruth Dunlap married then she would have been in her 20s. Seems much more likely. And there was indeed a Ruth J. Lecorchick ( ) who lived in Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA. 32 I believe that in the 1950 US census there will be a Ruth Lecorchick, born about 1920, in Barnesboro and Ruth Dunlap will disappear because they are likely one and the same. This is the most logical scenario. This would mean that the obituary for Alexander Dunlap (the source of Lecorchick) should have read adopted-daughter, Ruth Lecorchick instead of half-sister. According to a 1929 newspaper article in the Dayton, WA newspaper that tells the story of Adam Harting and Ruth Ashcraft s 50 th wedding anniversary, Ruth was born in Clairfield, Pa. There is no Clairfield in Pennsylvania and many of our family notes record it correctly as Clearfield. According to her obituary in the Dayton newspaper 19 May 1938, she was born in Clairfield, Pennsylvania in 1858 and moved to Kansas with her parents in early life. Given that her parents names US Census, Burnside township, Clearfield County, PA, page Social Security Death Index, Pennsylvania
7 were unknown to her family when they provided information for her death certificate that same year, it is not surprising that they did not know the true story of her family or that her father died long before she moved to Kansas. Her adopted parents, the Becks, appear in the 1880 census for Clearfield County, PA and do not appear to have moved west with Ruth. 33 Epilogue After decades of research by my mother, grandmother, and I, at last I feel that I can explain and prove our family story and Ruth s origins and reunite our branch of the family tree with the Ashcrafts. It is no surprise, after seeing how the family disintegrated in the 1870s, that our branch, descended from a young girl who was farmed out at the age of 12 to another family and whose young siblings ended up working as servants at an early age, moved west ending up eventually in Washington state and completely out of touch with relatives back east. I only wish my mother and grandmother were alive to know where this story of our matrilineal line of the family tree goes and how there are now additional lines to be researched. There is a wealth of information concerning Ruth Ann Ashcraft s life in Kansas and Washington and her large family of 7 children but that will have to wait for another biographical paper. Left to right: Ruth Ann Ashcraft ( ) Ida Harriet Harting ( ) Mable Edna Groom ( ) Lola Adell Blue ( ) US Census, Burnside township, Clearfield County, PA, page 16.