Saturday, February 15, 2014

Levi Eckerson Bamber - Man in Motion

The "FAN" approach to ancestral research (Family, Associates, & Neighbors) teaches us to widen the net in gathering information.  Studying people beyond our direct ancestors can often yield clues to the puzzle.  And, making the effort always adds a richness and texture to the story, when learning about family members in the context of a certain time and place.   

I had put aside the family of Mary Eckerson Bamber, daughter of my direct ancestor, Levi Eckerson, when the trail went cold many years ago.  Picking up the threads of her story again, I was fascinated by the journey taken by her son, Levi Eckerson Bamber.  I am frankly unsure how I would ever have followed his trail, without having learned to use the variety of digitized and indexed sources that are now available online.

Looking at the events in the lives of Levi E. Bamber and his family, one can imagine that being on the move probably took a toll.  I wonder whether they all moved together, or did the family break apart permanently at some point.  Did his wartime experience have an impact on his emotions?

I created this table to remind me how much more there is to a family tree, besides just going backwards in time.  

17 July 1850
Franklinville, Cattaragus Co., NY federal census
Age 5.  Living with parents John & Mary Eckerson Bamber, and siblings.
Nora Twp., Jo Daviess Co., IL state census
Age bracket of 10-20.  Living with parents John & Mary Eckerson Bamber, and siblings.
27 July 1860
Centre, Lafayette Co., WI federal census
Age 14.  Living with parents John & Mary Eckerson Bamber, and siblings.
25 Dec 1861
Enlistment, age probably no more than 16.  Living in Darlington, Lafayette Co., WI
Enlisted in Company I, Wisconsin 16th Infantry Regiment.  Regiment raised in Madison, WI. Musician.  Regiment saw service at Battle of Shiloh (TN) and many others.
Winter, 1864-1865
Camp Joe Holt Hospital, Clarksville, Indiana
20 years later, an army comrade sought Levi Bamber’s address, indicating they met here about this time.
13 April 1865
Jeffersonville, Clark, Indiana.  Directly across the river from Louisville, KY
Married (1) Mary J. Mitchell.  Did this marriage officially end, before his second?  Was it a wartime romance, which ended with his departure from the area?  Did she die shortly after the wedding?
12 Jul 1865
Louisville, KY
Mustered out (two months after his wedding in the vicinity)
4 July 1869
Kane Co., IL
Married (2) Josephine Peck
19 August 1870
Plato, Kane Co., IL federal census
Age 24 - Farmer & Dentist.  With wife and 1 child.
27 February 1873
North Plato, Kane Co., IL
Appointed postmaster (new postmaster assigned 1877).
1 November 1876
Alameda Co., CA great register of voters
Age 29 (1847?).  Clearly registered as “Bamber, Levi Eckerson.”  Nativity, New York.
1 November 1876
Alameda Co., CA great register of voters (another print version).
As above.
7 July 1879
Twp. 3, Amador Co, CA great register of voters.
Age 31 (1848?).  Nativity, New York.
11 June 1880
San Rafael, Marin Co., CA federal census
Age 34 – Dentist.  With wife and 5 children, all living with brother-in-law, Edgar Peck.
Denver, Colorado
Listed in city directory as dentist.
Denver, Colorado
Listed in city directory as dentist.
1 June 1885
El Paso County, Colorado state census.
37 – Dentist.  Described as a “bachelor” and divorced.  Living alone.
17 July 1887
Filed for pension.
Steamboat Springs, Ruott Co., CO.  Death presumably took place in this area during this time.  Unsourced genealogy forum posting states he died crossing the Colorado River on horseback.
There is a listing for an L.E. Bamber in the Steamboat Springs Cemetery, per  No dates.  Probably about 45 years of age at time of death. 
St. Michael, Madison Co., MO
Widow Josephine listed on Civil War pension enumeration.