For my virtual road trip, I decided to research my 4th great-grandmother, Sally Bond. (Read more about the geneablogger road trip at Elizabeth O’Neal’s Genealogy Blog Party on My Descendant’s Ancestors.) Here’s what I knew: Sally married Pleasant Bond and had my 3rd great-grandfather, Thomas Bond, in 1846 in Indiana. Thomas’ daughter, my great-great-grandmother Mollie Sally Bond (b. 1882), married a Methodist circuit rider from Mason City, Iowa, and they traveled all over the country (from Iowa to Nebraska to South Dakota to Montana to Washington to California to New York) to preach the “good news.” I had always wondered where this devotion to the church came from, and I had a hunch that it started with Sally (she was Mollie’s namesake, after all). This month, I decided to learn more about my Methodist roots.
Research Plan & Rules of the Road
One of the “rules of the road” is to only use online sources: no trips to a brick-and-mortar library, a Family History Center, a courthouse or a cemetery to supplement my research. My goal, broadly, was to find out anything and everything I could about Sally Bond: to search census records to learn if she had any other children; to discover her parents’ and potential siblings’ names; and to find out more about her faith. I was hoping to connect with a few distant cousins, to hear a story about her hometown and to maybe, just maybe, find a photo or two. My initial sources were the three genealogy hubs: Ancestry, FamilySearch and MyHeritage. Once I traced the Bond family through the census records, I planned to search for land records in online repositories and for local newspaper articles on Newspapers.com to piece together Sally’s life story.
Road Trip! Methodist Mystery Roots
A basic search for Sally Bond’s name, husband, son and possible location led me to a number of census records between 1850 and 1900. In 1860, Sally (b. 1818) was living in Palmyra, Iowa with her husband, Pleasant (b. 1817), and six children: Exum (b. 1842), Hiram (b. 1844), Thomas (b. 1846), Elam (b. 1848), Anna (b. 1853) and Alpheus (b. 1855). Pleasant was working as a farmer; the estimated value of their real estate was $4,300.
A quick search back in time to the 1850 census showed the family living in Clay, Indiana with one more daughter: Phebe Ann (b. 1838); all of the children were born in Indiana, and the family likely moved to Iowa between 1855 and 1860. By 1870, at the age of 52, Sally was a widow, and only four of her children were still living at home: Hiram, Elam, Anna and Alpheus.
Sally moved between her children’s homes in 1880 and 1900: in 1880, Sally was living with Thomas’ first wife, Mary, and Mary’s two daughters, Annettie Ann (b. 1870) and Rosetta (b. 1872); in 1900, at the age of 82, she was living with Phebe (Bond) Adamson and Phebe’s daughter, Drucilla (b. 1866). Her father’s birthplace was listed as “North Carolina,” and her mother’s was listed as “South Carolina;” most notably, Sally, according to the census enumerator, could read and write.
Since Sally and her family remained in Palmyra, Iowa for at least thirty years, I searched for their names in the “Church Histories & Records” section for the state of Iowa, hoping to find records connecting her to a Methodist church there. Instead, I found the family in a list of Quaker meeting records and periodicals; the first record was Sally’s and Pleasant’s marriage announcement in a Dover Monthly Meeting account:
Whereas Pleasant Bond son of Thomas Bond and Mary his wife of Wayne County and State of Indiana and Sally Hawkins daughter of Nathan Hawkins and Rebekah his wife of the same place having disclosed their intentions of marriage with each other before a Monthly Meeting of the religious society of Friends held at Dover and having consent of parents their said proposals were allowed by said meeting. These are to satisfy whom it may concern that for the full accomplishment of their said intentions this the twenty sixth day of the seventh month one thousand eight hundred and thirty seven They the said Pleasant Bond and Sally Hawkins appeared in a public meeting of the said people held at Dover and the said Pleasant Bond taking the said Sally Hawkins by the hand that he took her the said Sally Hawkins to be his wife promising with divine assistance to be unto her a loving and faithful husband until death should separate them, and then the said Sally Hawkins did in like manner declare that she took him the said Pleasant Bond to be her husband promising with divine assistance to be unto him a loving and faithful wife until death should separate them.
Ok, Now We’re Quaker. I Can Roll With That.
So here’s what I knew: Pleasant Bond and Sally Hawkins were married on July 26, 1837 (181 years ago today!) in Wayne Co., Indiana and had seven children there. The family moved to Palmyra, Iowa between 1855 and 1860, and Sally was a widow by 1870. Sally’s parents were Nathan and Rebekah Hawkins, and they were born in North Carolina and South Carolina, respectively. Most importantly, Sally and her family were Quakers, not Methodists.
I clearly needed to zoom out, so I conducted a general search for Sally Hawkins Bond on Ancestry. I received results for: (1) a 1902 Warren Co., Iowa land ownership map; (2) an Iowa probate record; and (3) a 1912 Quaker periodical. In 1902, Sally owned a few miles of land in Ackworth, Indiana that was adjacent to her daughter Phebe’s land in the same city; the probate record indicated that Sally had left this land to Phebe’s daughter, Drucilla, after her death. I then moved on to the entry in the 1912 Quaker periodical, which read:
Sally Hawkins, daughter of Nathan and Rebekah Hawkins was born in Wayne Co., Indiana, 4-23-1818, was married to Pleasant Bond, son of Thomas and Mary Bond, 7-26-1837. Moved from Wayne Co., to Hamilton Co., Indiana from there to Warren Co., Iowa in the spring of 1859. Her husband passed away on 12-2-1862, leaving her a widow for forty-nine years, she passing away 1-17-1912.
Crossing my fingers, I narrowed down my search results to photo hints:
For Future Investigation: Quaker Mystery Roots
1. How did my great-great-grandmother, Mollie (Bond) Cook, end up at Orleans Free Methodist College in Nebraska? How did she end up married to a Methodist circuit rider from Mason City, Iowa if she descended from such strong Quaker roots?
2. Who were Sally’s parents, Nathan and Rebekah Hawkins? When did they move from North Carolina to Indiana? How many children did they have, and how involved were they in their Meeting House?
3. What happened to Pleasant’s and Sally’s other children and grandchildren? Did they remain in Iowa, or did they spread out across the United States?
4. Today, my family is very Roman Catholic: my mother descends from Polish-Catholic immigrants, and my father descends from German-Catholic settlers on his paternal line. I admittedly don’t know very much about the Quaker and Methodist faiths, and I definitely need to learn more.
5. Sally was a widow for forty-nine years; how did she support herself and her children both in the years immediately following her husband’s death and as she reached old age?
6. What was the family’s life like in Palmyra, Iowa? How large was the town, both in terms of land and population? What did the family farm? Did the children have access to school on a regular basis, and until what age did they attend school?
7. Are there any family stories that have been passed down from generation-to-generation?