Cedar County, Iowa

By Virginia Doudney Chastain, submitted March 14, 2011

John B. Doudney was born in Trenton, Mercer County, NJ on 26 June 1843, he was the last of seven children born to John Doudney and Sarah Coleman. It is assumed that the family fell apart on that day following the untimely death of Sarah in childbirth.

Siblings of the newborn John B. were William Landing (1827), Anna Elizabeth (1830), David A. (1833), Mary (c.1836), Charles Bowden (1840), and Martha (c.1842). It would appear that John took part of his family (William, Mary and Martha) after the death of his wife from New Jersey across the Delaware into Pennsylvania because they appeared on the 1850 census of Bucks County, Falls Township. Placement of the other children is perhaps with individual families but that is yet to be proven.

It must have been in his teens that John B. traveled west to Iowa with his older brother, William Landing Doudney and his wife, Louisa W. Hutchinson because William was listed as his youngest brother’s guardian on the marriage registration dated 23 January 1869 in Tipton, IA. It is not known why John at age 26 was still the ward of his brother, William.

Prior to his marriage, however, John left his occupation as a farmer and entered the United States Army at the age of 19. He served in the Company G, 11th Regiment, Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Union Army after entering in October 1864 in Davenport, IA.

John B. Doudney in a military uniform. Date of photo unknown.

John was described as being 5’9” tall with blue eyes and light hair. He served as a substitute volunteer for a man named Freeman Howe, “for sufficient consideration, paid and delivered to me on the 5th day of October 1864…”. No amount of money is listed but the sum of $600.00 comes to mind … a tidy nest egg in those days.

Although military history is unknown, he was mustered out on 15 July 1865 in Louisville, KY.

The marriage alluded to earlier was to the 21-year old Miss Hannah Bishop from Alabama in Cedar County, IA. William L. Doudney was their witness and “approved of the marriage.”

A little more than a year after their 23 January 1869 marriage, their first children were born in Cedar County. The curious part is that, although the babies were twins, they were born nearly a month apart. William A. was born on or about February 3, 1870; his sister Louisa M. was born on or about 26 February 1870. The reason their birth dates is not certain is because there is no record of that date … we only have their death dates as deciphered from their antique cemetery markers. For instance, William’s marker reads d 30 Mar 1870 ae 1 mo 26 da; Louisa’s stone reads d.19 Mar 1870 ae 3 wks.

On John’s military pension application papers dated in the 1914 era states that the twin infants were not named. That leads me to believe that brother William and his wife, Louisa stepped in to assist since the babies carry their names. In the Moneka Cemetery where the infants are buried, are three children born to William and Louisa: Sarah J. Doudney Richards, Emmaretta, and Phebe which would seem to lend credence to the fact that John and Hannah’s infants were named and buried by John’s brother and wife. These records appear in the “Stones & Sites” book of cemeteries in Cedar County.

On 26 February 1871, Joseph Ellsworth Doudney who would grow up and become my grandfather came into the world. The 1880 census of Cedar County, IA lists Joseph in the Red Oak Township enumerated with a German family, Jacob and Fredrika Escher. This tells me that there must have been dissention in the family for him to be in a foster home.

Some two and a half years after the birth of Joseph, another set of twins were born to Hannah and John. Jennie and Sadie Adell were born 12 October 1872 in Tipton, Cedar Co. Sadly, Jennie died at the age of 2 years on the day after her birthday in 1874. She is buried beside her sister, Louisa in the Moneka Cemetery.

Of the five children born to John and Hannah, only Joseph and Sadie lived to adulthood.

According to John’s military records, he and Hannah divorced in September 1880 after which he married on 13 September in Buffalo, IA, Rachel A. Smith who had a child, Viva Estelle. Together, John and Rachel had one son that they named John Dice Doudney born 06 December 1881.

Nothing further is known of John B. except through his 1914 military pension application papers. He was awarded the amount of $90.00 per month in 1926. By that time, he was “blind and helpless” as testified by Dr. R. A. Peters, the U.S. Examining Surgeon of Tipton. John died in Wyoming, Jones Co., IA on 15 January 1933 and is buried beside his second wife, Rachel and his son, John Dice in the Stanwood Cemetery, Cedar Co., IA.

Page created March 16, 2011 by Lynn McCleary

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