Another IAGenWeb Project

Descendants of Truman D. Merritt
Merritt Family Folklore

The data and photos on this page have been contributed by Eugene Downes in 2003 and significantly updated in August 2010.

Truman D. Merritt (1800 - 1875) Born in New York - Died in Iowa, was married to Maria Shattuck (1809 - 1887).

In 1835 it is said that Truman was living in the township of Potter, Yates County, New York with his wife, one boy, one girl, 5 cows, 8 horses, 40 sheep and 15 pigs on 40 acres of land.

It is generally conceded that the distinction of being the first settler within the domain of Bradford Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa belongs to Truman D. Merritt, who moved there with his family in 1848, and settled on the east side of Little Cedar, near the place afterwards known as Greenwood. There he built a rude log cabin for a dwelling, the material for construction being cut from the abundant woods in that section. Two years later a daughter, Almira Merritt, was born to him, the first white child born in the county. The daughter grew to womanhood and married Avery Earl.

Relates Mr. Tucker - "I met him, with two yoke of oxen, he told me to follow his back track and I would be alright, that he cut the ice in the streams so I could get through, this was good news for me."

Land Records Book U630

Dated March 10, 1856 filed for Record December 16, 1875 at 3 P.M. NE1/4 20-94-14W 160 Acres Patent given by President Franklin Pierce (14th President) by H.E. Baldwin, assistant Sec. Recorded Vol. 65 Page 16E Recorder of the general land office full payment made by Maria Merritt

Filed for Record Mar 4th 1859, E.R. Gillett – Clerk, By J.H.J. Bird – Dept. Clerk

Know all men by these present that I Truman Merritt and Maria Merritt my wife of Chickasaw County State of Iowa in consideration of the sum of Thirty Dollars in hand paid by Peter E. Perkins of Chickasaw County State of Iowa do hereby sell and convey unto the said Peter E. Perkins the following premise to wit lot number two in block number five in the addition to the town of Bradford as laid out by H. Sample in Chickasaw County Iowa and we do hereby covenant with the said Peter E. Perkins that we are lawfully owners of said premises that they are free from encumbers that we have good right and lawful authority to sell and convey the same and we do hereby covenant to warrant and defend the said premises against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever and the said Maria Merritt hereby relinquishes her right of owner to the premises herein before conveyed signed this 30th day of July AD1858. Truman Merritt, Maria Merritt

State of Iowa, Chickasaw County

On this 30th day of July AD1858 before me a Notary Public in and for said County personally came Truman Merritt and Maria Merritt to me known to be the identical persons whose names are affixed to the above deed as granters and acknowledged the same to be their voluntary act and deed.

Filed for Record May 4th 1859, A.G. Case, Notary Public

Original land records Book number 1 Page 194 NE NE, SE NE, SW NE 20-94-14 Maria Merritt December 23, 1853.

1860 Census, Bradford Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa, page 22; Truman Meritt (59) born in New York, Maria (49) born in New York, Truman H. (27) born in New York, Michael (17) born in New York, Sarah (19) born in New York, James (15) born in New York, Ebenezer (12) born in New York, Almira (10) born in Iowa, Julia (5) born in Iowa, Isaac (2) born in Iowa.

1870 Census, Bradford Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa, page 14; Truman Merritt (68) born in New York, Maria (58) born in New York, Henry (38) born in New York, Michael (28) born in New York, Sarah (26) born in New York, James (25) born in New York, Ebenezer (23) born in New York, Almira (18) born in Iowa, Julia (13) born in Iowa, Isaac (10) born in Iowa.

Probate Court and Land Records

I E. A. Johnson on my oath say that I am the Johnson named in the forgoing application for letters of guardianship. That I am acquainted with statements made in the forgoing applications and that the same are true in writing and in fact as I truly believe. E. A. Johnson

Subscribed in my presence by the same E. A. Johnson and by her sworn to before me this 9th day of March 1877.

State of Iowa, Chickasaw County
To the Circuit Court of said County
As a Court of Probate March 1877
The undersigned respectfully shows that she is the daughter of Maria Merritt of said County. That the said Maria Merritt owns in her own name one hundred sixty acres of land in Bradford Township in said County, that a part of the said land is improved as a farm. That she owns also Rural Property in the said town. That she said Maria Merritt is now sixty seven years of age. That her mind is very much deranged and by her loss has almost lost her judgment and is not capable of transacting or managing her business. That within the last few years her sons influence has caused her to mortgage the said lands for their benefit, about seventeen hundred dollars all of the said amount being truly no benefit to her, nor to pay any indebtedness of home or against the property. That her mind being in a very weak condition and that she has no reasoning, her sons influences her to do anything they ask her to do and that she is wasting her property every day and that she requires the appointment of a legally appointed guardian who shall have the power to look after and regulate the material interests of Maria Merritt and who can be held legally responsible therefore. Wherefore to this end that the interests of said Maria Merritt and her before said property be better supervised. The way is that letters of guardianship be issued to James Vance as guardian of said Maria Merritt all of whom reside in the County of Chickasaw and state of Iowa and living in the same place where the property is situated. E. A. Johnson, Applicant

State of Iowa, Chickasaw County
To Mrs. Maria Merritt, Mrs. E. A. Johnson, Truman Merritt, Sarah Merritt, M. S. Merritt, James Merritt, Ebenezer Merritt, Mrs. Almira Earl, Julia Merritt and Isaac Merritt defendants, you and each of you are hereby notified that on or before the last day of March AD1877 there will be on file in the office of the clerk of the Circuit Court of Chickasaw County, Iowa a petition asking the said court to appoint James Vance of said county guardian of their mother Maria Merritt who is incapable through old age and other causes to transmit or successfully conduct or control the property now held by her in said County. How unless you appear there to defend on or before noon of the second day of the next time of said court commencing on the 26th day of March AD1877 and show cause why the order of said petition shall not be granted and that an order or decree will be made as provided for. Philo M. Knopp, Atty. for Petitions

Deed of Records Book W, filed March 27, 1877, 1 PM, C.A. Harris Recorder.
Maria Merritt (Widow) to:
Page 353 Almira Earl S1/4 of S1/2 NE1/4 20-94-14
Page 354 Ebenezer Merritt S1/2 of N1/4 NE1/4 20-94-14
Page 355 James D. Merritt N1/2 S1/2 of N1/2 NE1/4 20-94-14
Page 356 M.S. Merritt N1/4 of N1/2 NE1/4 20-94-14
Page 357 Sarah E. Merritt N1/2 of S1/2 NE1/4 20-94-14
Page 358 Isaac E. Merritt S1/4 of N1/2 NE1/4 20-94-14
Page 359 Truman H. Merritt N1/4 of S1/2 NE1/4 20-94-14
Page 360 Julia E. Merritt S1/2 of N1/2 S1/2 NE1/4 20-94-14
Granter to retain possession, full use, and control of premises during her natural life.
(Note that Elizabeth A. (Merritt) Johnson is not mentioned here. Could it be because of the Probate Court?)

Book Y Page 512
Maria Merritt, M.S. Merritt, E.B. Merritt, J.D. Merritt, M.C. Merritt, H.L. Merritt to F.S. Easton $1000.00 N NE 20-94-14. Signed April 30 , 1879 in presence of Charles G. Herbst. Filed May 14, 1879, 9 AM

Book X Page 110
Sheriffs Deed Filed May 12, 1880
Special execution directed by sheriff R. O. Sheldon April 5, 1879 issued out of the clerks office of the Circuit Court – judgment of foreclosure on 19 March 1879 in front of F.S. Easton against M.S. Merritt and Maria Merritt. $1102.25 plus $114.60 costs for a total of $1216.85. Sold by auction at Sheriffs office May 10, 1879 1 PM. Sold to F.S. Easton for $1260 and 51, S of NE of 20-94-14.

1880 Census, Bradford Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa, ED 114, page 9; Marie Merritt (69)-widow born in New York, Truman (48) born in New York, Sarah (37) born in New York, Isaac (21) born in Iowa.

Obituary Maria (Shattuck) Merritt

"Mrs. Merritt died on Monday, Jan. 3, 1887, in her 78th year. She came to this township with her husband in 1848, and we have been told that Mr. and Mrs. Merritt were the first white people that settled in this township. Mr. Merritt died in 1875. The land on which they settled in 1848, just south of Mr. Weller's place, they got direct from the United States government. They both lived in this township from the time they first settled here until the day of their death."

Elizabeth A. Merritt (1825 - ??)

Reference is made to Elizabeth and her marriage to Eleazer Cleghorn Johnson in the Santee-Ainsworth Family file on RootsWeb.

1860 Census, Bradford Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa, page 6; Elizabeth Johnson (35) born in New York, Charles Johnson (9) born in New York, Ellen Johnson (5) born in New York, Levi Johnson (2/12) born in Iowa. They are living at the Levi Thomas residence.

1870 Census, Mason City, Lake Township, Cerro Gordo County, Iowa, page 2; El Johnson (49) born in New York, Elizabeth Johnson (36) born in Pennsylvania, Chas Johnson (18) born in Pennsylvania, Ella Johnson (14) born in Pennsylvania, Levi Johnson (10) born in Iowa.

Note: Elizabeth (Merritt) Johnson is later shown as Elizabeth (Merritt) Clark, said to have had a daughter Mrs. Bert Francis.

Levi Johnson moved from Iowa to Santa Monica, California, where he became a Wholesale Fruit Buyer. He died 27 July 1935. Levi was married to Carrie Ophelia Warren (born 29 December 1861 in Rushford, New York) 13 September 1882 in Clear Lake, Iowa, where they had two children born. Some of this family (Levi's grandkids) is shown in Sioux City, Iowa between the years 1908 to 1922. Elizabeth A. Johnson may have spent her last days in one of the areas mentioned. If she made it to California with Levi she would have been getting up there in age.

Reference is made to Levi Johnson and his family in the Santee-Ainsworth Family file on RootsWeb.

Truman Henry Merritt (1836 - 1922) Born in Yates County, New York - Died in Chickasaw County, Iowa.

Truman Merritt died in the State Soldiers Home Marshalltown on Monday Feb. 13, 1922, at age 86. One of 1st settlers old home place 2 miles east of Nashua, Iowa. When the Civil War broke out he answered his country's call and received a honorable discharge and returned to parents home, and after several years entered soldiers home.

Sworn Statement for Truman Henry's Military Pension

Dewitt C. Cram being duly sworn in oath, say that I reside here in Dubuque County, Iowa. That from Jan. 31, 1863 till some time in Nov or Dec 1864, I was Captain and in command of Co. B, 6th Regiment Iowa, and that during all that time Truman Merritt was a Private in that Company, always a dutiful and excellent soldier and never a shirker. That said Regiment and Company with it, during all that time when in the field and from early Spring, as some grass was up, till late in Oct or Nov of 1863 and 1864 was serving and marching under Gen. Sully in Dakota and Montana through uninhabited Deserts (except by Indians) for the most part, that it was Prairie mostly with out trees except along streams and with grass so thin and soil so dry and sandy and mixed with "Alkali" that marching in the burning sun, we were always in a cloud of dust which penetrated everywhere and everything. That from all this it resulted that the eyes of many men were injured. That said, Merritt, as I distinctly remember, always had sore and inflamed eyes and often complained to me about it and wore blue goggles much. That he had great repugnance to being left behind or at being put under the care of Surgeons. That I remember proparing to ban him at Fort Randall when we reached that place in May 1864, but he inportuned me so much and was so good a soldier that I did not make the arrangements for it. That owing to inability to get Vegetables (for Blackberries did not grow then) when in Oct 1864 Co. B, with Merritt, became a part of the Garrison of Fort Sully, the scurvey began to appear among the men, that Merritt had the symptoms of it before I left. That he had a swollen face and was inclined to stay much in quarters when off duty. That he walked stiffly, and I remember that on the last day I was there, I called the attention of the Port Surgeon to Merritt because I knew his disinclination to go to the Surgeon or to Hospital. That I have not seen Merritt since we finally mustered out and were discharged at Davenport Nov 3, 1865, and had not then seen him since about a year previous at Fort Sully. That when he enlisted, I am sure he was in good health and condition and active and ready for any duty. That I have no interest whatever in his claim. That I am glad to aid an old comrade to the extent of telling the truth as I remember it. That knowing Merritt as I did, I can understand why he has not pushed his claim years since instead of waiting till now, when as I am assured he is needy and when old age is approaching.

Tanner Merritt (1837 - 1876) Born in Yates County, New York - Died in Chickasaw County, Iowa.

Tanner Merritt Obit - Died Instantly
Last Sunday, the 17th of Dec. 1876, Mr. Tanner Merritt, aged 39 years, fell to the floor at his house in Greenwood, and died instantly of heart disease. The Merritt family are among the very first settlers of this county, having lived here over twenty-three years. His funeral was attended at his house on Tuesday, the 19th of Dec. 1876. Rev. Boynton Officiating.

Sarah E. Merritt (1840 - 1917)

Sarah was born in Yates County, New York. She married R. J. Richardson on 19 September 1909 in Akeley, Hubbard County, Minnesota. She died on 5 March 1917 in Park Rapids, Hubbard County, Minnesota.

Michael S. Merritt (1842 - 1908) Born in Yates County, New York - Died in Holt County, Nebraska.

Michael S. Merritt married Mary Othille Herbst the daughter of Andrew Herbst from France and Maria Herbst.










1880 Census, Richland Township, Chickasaw County, Iowa, ED 122, page 12; Michael S. Merrit (35) born in New York, Mary (30) born in Wisconsin, Minnie (8), Frederick (5), Lottie (1) all born in Iowa.

Michael and Mary became divorced at some point. Their children were Minnie Merritt, who moved to Riverside, California, Fredrick Merritt, who moved to Oklahoma and Lottie Merritt, who moved to San Bernardino, California.

Minnie Merritt was born 1 October 1871 in Chickasaw County, Iowa. She married Peter John Scott (1864 - 1946 in Freeborn, Minnesota) about 1892 in Burwell, Nebraska.

Minnie (Merritt) Scott

Their Children were:

Clyde L. Scott (1893 - ? Burwell, Nebraska)
Gladys M. Scott (1895 - 1974 Burwell, Nebraska)
George F. Scott (1897 - ? Burwell, Nebraska)

Fredrick Deloss Merritt was born 9 October 1874 in Chickasaw County, Iowa. He married Ella Quimby (1885 - 1979 Kansas) on 30 December 1903 in Glenco, Payne County, Oklahoma.

Fredrick Deloss Merritt


Ella (Quimby) Merritt

Click here for a quick look at Ella's parents and siblings.

Fred and Ella had six children:

1) William DeLoss Merritt (1904 - 1969 Oklahoma)

2) Josephine Othille Merritt (1907 - 3 February 1995 in Tulsa, Oklahoma) married Clarence Rice on 20 October 1924 in Oklahoma. They had one child, Clarence Fred Rice (1923 - 1928 Oklahoma).

Clarence & Josephine (Merritt) Rice

Clarence Rice Rites Set for Friday - "Funeral services will be held for Clarence Rice, 69, who died Dec. 3, 1973, in Cushing, in the First Christian Church of Yale at 2 p.m. Friday under the direction of the Poteet Funeral Home, Pawnee. Burial will be in the Lawson Cemetery, Yale. Born at Blackburn, Oct. 20, 1904, his childhood was spent in and around Cushing. For 20 years he lived in Stillwater, then in 1960 he moved to Yale, until the last 3 days of his life when he had moved to Cushing. On Oct. 21, 1924, he was married to Josephine Merritt at Cushing, who survives. He is also survived by a sister, Mrs. Marie Hale of Cushing."

3) John Lee Merritt (1910 - 27 March 1972) married Izetta Smith on 2 January 1932 in Oklahoma.

John Merritt Obituary, April 1972 - "Services are scheduled Thursday for John L. Merritt, 61, who died yesterday in a Visalia Hospital. Mr. Merritt was born, reared and educated in Oklahoma and was married there Jan 2, 1932, to the former Izetta Smith. The couple established a home in Visalia in 1936, moved back to Oklahoma 10 years later, and returned to Visalia in 1957. Mr Merritt was a member of the First Assembly of God Church. In addition to his widow surviving are a son, Thomas Merritt of Visalia, a daughter, Mrs. Leila Compton of Bakersfield, his mother, Mrs. Ella Merritt of Visalia, a brother, David Merritt of Visalia, two sisters, Mrs. Gladys Downes of Medford, Oregon, and Mrs. Josephine Rice of Yale, Oklahoma, and three grandchildren. Services will be held at the Hadley Funeral Chapel Thursday at 10 A.M., with Rev. Harvey Michell Officiating. Burial will be in the Visalia Cemetery."

Izetta Merritt Obituary, October 1997 - "Services for Izetta U. Merritt, 87, will be 10 a.m. Thursday at Hadley Funeral Chapel. Born in Wellston, Oklahoma, the long time Visalia resident died Monday. The cause is pending. She married John Lee Merritt in 1932. He died in 1972. She was retired, having been a school teacher for 30 years. She was a member of First Assembly of God. Surviving are a son, Thomas A. Merritt of Visalia; a daughter, Leila Mushaney of Bakersfield; a brother, Alonzo Smith of Visalia; three sisters, Anita Shannon and Reva Estes of Visilia and Mary Crummey of Watsonville; three grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Friends may call 4-7 p.m. today at the chapel. Memorials may be made to Visalia Christian Academy, 3737 W. Walnut Ave. Visalia, Ca. 93277."

4) Gladys Marie Merritt (1915 - 4 November 1999 in Medford, Oregon) married Thoburn Fitzgerald (3 November 1904 in Missouri - 14 December 1940) who was killed in an automobile accident in Ontario, California.

Gladys (Merritt) Fitzgerald, Thoburn Fitzgerald, Yeuldine, Deloss, and Eugene, c. 1940

Thomas and Maria (Jones) Fitzgerald - Thoburn's Parents

Gladys subsequently married Harry Ira Downes in 1944.















Obituary - "Gladys Marie Downes, 86, of Medford, died Thursday [November 4, 1999] in Medford. Born on August 26, 1913, in Sayre, [Haskell County] OK. Parents: Fred and Ella Merritt. Married on July 29, 1944 in Reno, NV to Harry Downes, who died in 1970."

5) Raymond Hubert Merritt (1917 - 1917 Oklahoma)

6) David Albert Merritt (1919 - 5 May 1998 in Cushing, Oklahoma)


Lottie Belle Merritt married George Edward Bunnell (1868 - 1937 in Wayne, Wisconsin) about 1900 in Nebraska. George spent many years working for the railroad.

Lottie Belle Merritt

Daily Sun, San Bernardino, Tuesday, October 6, 1964, page B-5

Mrs. Bunneli Dies Oct 4, 1964. 60-Year Resident of San Bernardino

"Mrs. Lottie Belle Bunneli, 85, a 60-year resident of San Bernardino, died Sunday at a San Bernardino hospital. A native of Iowa, Mrs. Bunneli lived at 825 Vine St. Survivors include two sons, Harold S. of Victorville, and Edward M. of Rialto; two daughters, Mrs. Fay Mobley and Mrs. Lucyle Smalley, both of Colton; 6 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. Services will be at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at Bobbitt Memorial Chapel. Burial will be in Mt. View Cemetery."

Stories donated by Diana (Smalley) Lewis

Grandma (Lottie Merritt) used to tell about how much she thought her brother and sister hated her. She swore up and down that they had tried to hang her in the barn. Her mom and dad (Michael Merritt and Mary Othille Herbst) got home just in the nick of time to save her.

She used to tell another one, but I am not sure if it is fiction or fact. A woman named Hanna was hanging up clothes to dry when an eagle swooped down and picked up Hanna's baby, which was in a basket. She ran after it and it flew to the mountains. Grandma told how Hanna climbed that mountain with bleeding hands and legs to get to the eagles nest. Sure enough the eagle had put the baby in her nest with her unhatched eggs. Most of her stories were fact but I am not sure about this one.

She told me about coming across the plains in a covered wagon. One time, the stove they were using for warmth caught on her skirt and the clothes were burned off of her. She didn't have any more clothes so she had to wear Uncle Fred's. Back then that was almost unheard of. They were traveling to see her grandparents (Truman Merritt and Maria Shattuck) and when they came in sight of their house, the grandparents didn't think it was them because they said Othille had two girls and a boy and those people had two boys and one girl.

Also she told of a time when her papa (Michael Merritt) was going on a trip and he thought he had been bitten by a poisonous snake. The story goes that he laid awake all night long, feeling the poison going up his leg. When it finally got light enough for him to see, he saw it was just a garter that had snapped him.

She told me of being in four states on her wedding day. Before she married, she worked in a lumber camp as a cook. The day she was married, my grandpa’s (George Edward Bunnell) hands could meet around her waist.

Fact or Fiction?

Michael and Mary Othille were still together 1880 in Iowa. James W. Iler and Mary Othille are shown to be married Feb. 1884 (Iowa – Nebraska?). In 1879 - 1880 there was a lean put on the Merritt farm for some legal action (for money owed). It was about this time that Michael got into trouble for selling a mare and a dispute over selling wheat. Whatever the problem was, it was serious enough for Michael to serve time in jail. The question comes up here, did this have something to do with the lean on the Merritt Farm, or was the lean due to the problems caused 1877 forward concerning the Probate? Michael was held for trial in the Waverly Jail. He was sentenced apparently after the 2nd trial, the first being a mistrial since he didn't show up. The Jail he was sent to was in Winneshiek, Iowa. That was where he served his sentence. As yet, we don’t know when Michael was sentenced or for how long, but this was close to the time Mary and Michael split up. James Iler was a farm hand in Iowa at this time, and this would have been the time for James and Mary to get together (if this was indeed our James Iler), and to leave Iowa for Nebraska where his parents were living (and Mary’s parents?). Note, it is also possible that James Iler left Iowa alone (assuming this is our James), returning to Nebraska to be close to his parents and Mary left Iowa with the children to get away from the problems there, and to be close to her parents, and met James in Nebraska where they would get married. (The Iler’s came from Ohio close to 1850 to Winterset, Madison County, Iowa where Mr. Iler published the first News Paper in that county called the Iowa Pilot, moved - 1860 Palmyra, Nebraska, moved - 1863 Pleasant Dale, Nebraska, moved - after 1878 to Crete, Nebraska, and moved about 1904 Marvin, Kansas. Note that this is the time James and Mary are in Texas.) Michael’s younger brother Isaac Merritt moved from Nashua, Iowa about 1877 (about time of the Probate) to Minnesota where he worked as a logger for several years and then moved to Walnut, Nebraska about 1879. The 1893 Nebraska Census shows Mary’s parents in Burwell. Mary’s father (Andrew Herbst) served with the Nebraska Regiment during the Civil War and therefore was living in Nebraska before 1865. Was Michael still in jail when Mary and James were married 1884? Did Mary and James take the three children at that time and move to Nebraska in fear of Michael, only to have Michael follow them later? Was Michael the cause for Mary and James to move from Nebraska, about 1900 to arrive in Texas by 1904? Michael appears to have become a Hermit, living alone, even though there are family members living close by. Michael becomes a Trapper and for the last 5 or 6 years of his life traps the creeks and streams of Holt and adjoining counties where he dies from pneumonia at the age of 64 while trapping along the Blackbird in late January 1908. Even though Michael had one brother living close by in Walnut, Nebraska (Isaac Merritt) he died alone at a stranger’s house (J. B. Long in Willowdale Township) late Sunday night and was buried late Monday afternoon at Mineola Cemetery. The grave is now unmarked. Isaac did spend one day with Michael the day before he died. We don’t know if there were any members of family present for Michael’s funeral. It appears that there may have been a serious split between Michael and his family.

2 Feb. 1908 Michael Merritt, died at the home of J. B. Long northeast of Disney on Sunday night, and was buried near Minneola Monday afternoon. Deceased was trapping game along the creeks in the northwestern part of Holt county and was stricken with a severe attack of Pneumonia, he made his way to Long's home and asked to be taken in, and although Mr. Long was not in shape to nurse the old man yet he done everything within his power to assist him. Dr. Wilson was called in and at once saw that he was beyond human aid and he lingered a few days dying Sunday night. He has one brother (Isaac Merritt) living near Walnut in Knox county who visited him during his sickness. There was no estate left by deceased and Mr. Long was put to considerable expense during the illness and should be reimbursed by the township authorities.

Michael Merritt Obit from The Frontier, 6 February 1908

"Michael Merritt, a nomadic trapper, died at the residence of J. B. Long, in Willowdale township, last Saturday night after an illness of about a week, of brain fever and pneumonia. Deceased was about 63 years of age and had followed the life of a trapper, along the streams of this and adjoining counties, the past 5 or 6 years. He had been trapping along the Blackbird and getting sick started to go to Walnut, Knox County, where he has a brother living. When he reached Mr. Long’s he was delirious. He was taken in and medical aid summoned but pneumonia had set in and he sank rapidly, dying Saturday. His brother was summoned and came over from Walnut, staying with him one day, leaving the day before he died, and the poor old trapper was left to die among strangers, without the consoling touch or the sympathetic word of a relative. The remains were interred in the Mineola Cemetery, Monday."

Mary Othille (Herbst) Merritt remarried James William Iler in the late 1880's and gave birth to another daughter by the name Eula Iler on 24 December 1894. Mary Othille Iler died in 1904 in Brownsboro, Oregon from breast cancer.

Eula Iler wrote the following story that has been passed down in her family

"Back in 1894, I Eula Iler was born day before Xmas on Basazes Rv [Brazos River] at Valesco, Texas to Mary MacOteal Herbst and James Wm. Iler. Only two present when I was born as the doctor & our house keeper stayed 2 days, decided to go home awhile and no sooner got out of ear shot when I started to come into this world. Since my father had other experience of delivering baby’s and studying doctor books, was no task on his part.

I was a year old (Xmas day) when we left Texas by wagon to Creek Nation, which now is part of Oklahoma, possible a year & half there. My father & Uncle rented from an Indian and farmed. Then to Ingles, Oklahoma - where my father farmed cane & cotton and was here while my father was digging a well & ???? dynamite cap caused the loss of one eye. He got out of the well by hiself. My mother had just put me asleep. She motioned to a neighbor lady and man to come. He immediately went to the creek and got slippery Elm bark - to put over papa’s face to take the black powder out. He wasn’t able to travel for several day’s to doctor to have his eye removed (Kansas City) but continued farming and raising males to sell to Spanish American War.

My 1st remember’s at 2 was this insident & I cryed so hard but was soon quietened. Got on horse wasn’t broken. How frightened my brother was. Sit Still Lo??? Who to horse down - Stop your bellie & go tell mama what you done. Bawl he told. Papa laughed - said horse thought I was fly on its back.

5 years here. Papa drew a place like we do, how he was lucky one, won 160 ac at Indian Territory. So again by horse and wagon we traveled 250 m[iles] away. 1st built a rock house and then a frame house with help from my brother he Freddy and wife lived there - Cane and cotton again only sweet potatoes this time & when Papa brought a load to town, they only offered not enough for worth while digging potatoes. So he brought [fostano]. In fall Mama and I by train would go to upper Okla[homa] & [slice] can food from our ranch as no fruit trees then in I[ndian] Territory. Papa would come after us to take can fruit back and it was here that they traded a pig for my pony. 250 miles ahead was my folks. They’d try to get me to rid[e] with them thinking I’d be tired but not me. 7 years of age. I’d stop and have my pony rest and fun then run like everything to catch up with my folks. On the way we met others [Greens] and they traveled a few days with us. Again I got behind and here comes a fork of road. Very worried until the dog smelled their tracks and then I knew which way to go. After 2 weeks, we reached home - We had leased some of our property out to this young boy about 14 who would stand up and race on his horse. Mama says she felt she should tell his parents. I took this all in, mind breaking arm or leg, but never said a word thinking if they only knew I had been doing the same thing, but this didn’t stop me. I’d still go over the slop - Papa worked for a nursery so we left many fruit trees and flowers behind.

Was here where another great tragedy happened but this time to my mother. She was helping Papa build an Adobe house and one day bumber her right breast and not to long cancer started, immediately papa rushed her to Dallas Hospital and had it (breast) removed. Only eather in those days. From here we let brother take over and we come west. Browns burrow, Oregon - Mama’s brother in law [Eb Osburn & cousin Frank Smith. She lived a month and died. I then was 8 years old. At 10 we moved to Pullup Wash. Was then we 2 really started our traveling.

Since hearing wages were good there. 1st he helped build the city sewer. Sometimes night watch. We stayed at a rooming house & sometimes we ate out at a resturant. Finally one day I ask Papa to ask the owner if I could wash dishes & she let me for 75 a week & everytime Id go to gocery store or meat market she’d give me a tip 5 to 10. I made more in tips than my wages. This was something to do because of being alone & never knew money. Was here papa caught phenomonia. Was sent to Tacoma Hospital. I stayed with the people I worked for. We would take the Street Car on Sundays and visit him. Again he got a back??? & hired a man to take care of him in our rented home. Was here we sold Lower (I[ndian] Terr[itory]) ranch. He wanted me then to take him to Hawaii for his health (1905). K’d of been 10 that Xmas. Thinking to myself, He may die on the boat coming over & I had heard they bury one at sea & I couldn’t stand the thought of it. So I suggest we go to M?????? Montana where his bronther (Ira) lived. So Montana bound by train. He was very week. Couldn’t walk a block where he’d pass out but soon gained strength after awhile. Rested awile & brought 3 A[cres] at Orchard Valley. He worked for Standard Oil driving an Oil Wagon. 1 horse to gas tank & one oil tank. Gas for 2 cars & cooking & gas lights. Oil for lamps. Made good money. Then come phenomonia again. Having to quit after 2 years. We had just bought a home in town but didn’t live in it.

Left & come to W. Fork Oregon. Near Cow Creek, Wolf Creek. Stayed over nite & come to Canyonville, Oregon. Papa contracted cutting wood for school through Delbert Miller. Took up a homestead. Sold rights to Will Clark. Bought a ranch on Potts Creek. Here it was where we lived longest. I was 15 then & by that time I knew everyone in town. Attending school helped. Making many young acquaintances. I would work but during summer I stayed with several different familys as was to far to walk to school before it got dark. When papa come ???? to stay worst part of ????. I recall when papa worked out alone while going to school. The old routine of at winter time with lantern feeding chickens, turkeys, geese, milking cow, feed horse & the cow made a lunge at colt & colt running hit & knocked me down, lantern fell over & went out & the “air was blue”, feed spilled & had to go back for more. So back to house, ate, fixed lunch, dressed for school. Grabbed you lantern and away I went. Meeting different school chums along the way.

I was ask by many to come help & nurse many people. Therefore I had to quit school. However my mother was a teacher of many languages & my father was a very brilliant man. Knew ever diffinition of word in dictionery. Also quote every phrase in bible. No one could talk his brillancy down. Preachers would say that’s not in the Bible. He’d say “look such & such a verse”. They would & it would be there. My minister said “you studyed that Bible just for an argument”. Papa would say “No you can prove anything in the Bible.”

James D. Merritt (1845 - 1893) Born in Yates County, New York - Died in Chickasaw County, Iowa.

Ebenezer Merritt (1846 - 1916)


Ebenezer was born in Independence, Iowa, August 28, 1846 and moved with his parents to Nashua, Iowa at the age of two in 1848. He died in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The following notice of the death of Ebenezer Merritt, a former resident of this community was taken from a Minneapolis paper. "The death of E. B. Merritt occurred on Jan. 23, 1916, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Carrio McElroy, after an illness of several months. Death was caused from cancer. Mr. Merritt was born in Independence, Iowa, in 1848 and moved with his parents to Nashua, Iowa, at the age of two years. His parents were the first settlers of Chickasaw County. He was united in marriage to Mrs. Ella Van Wert, May 15, 1871. To this union eight children were born—two sons and six daughters. He is survived by his wife, four daughters and one son, namely, Mrs. Massee and Mrs. C. E. Carpenter of Nashua; Mrs. C. McElroy and Mrs. A. J. Petterson, of Minneapolis, and A. R. Merritt, of Fargo N. Dak.”

The following card of thanks was taken from the daily locals; "We wish to extend our sincere thanks to the friends and neighbors who so kindly assisted us during the long illness and death of our husband and father, and for the beautiful floral offerings." Mrs. E. B. Merritt and Children.

Note: Ebenezer did not have a middle name, but went by the nickname Eb Merritt, thus becoming known as E. B. Merritt.

Nellie Merritt was a daughter of Ebenezer Merritt born in 1878 in Chickasaw County, Iowa and died in 1950, she married Charles Egbert Carpenter (1862 - 1932 New York) on 27 March 1895. Their children were:

Mabel Carpenter (1895 - 1978)
Howard Carpenter (1897 - 1985)
Margaret Carpenter (1899 - 1974)
Alice B. Carpenter (1901 - 1987)
Phillip Carpenter (1903 - 1952)
Clara Belle Carpenter (1908 - 1975)
Florence Carpenter (1910 - ?)
Roy R. Carpenter (1911 - 1971)
Arthur Carpenter (1913 - 1967)

Story told by Lillian Massee, Ebenezer Merritt's daughter

Mrs. Massey said that she had often heard her parents talk of Indian raids, when the Indians came to the farm (Merritt farm) to steal meat. The Merritt's first horse, she said, was an Indian pony.

She said that when her grandparents first came to this area and began farming the nearest market was Dubuque. When it came time to sell the hogs, they were butchered, frozen and loaded on a wagon pulled by a team of oxen. The men of the family then made the three week trip to the Mississippi river market.

The original home site was a log cabin on what is now the barn site at the Carl Krueger farm south of the Greenwood cemetery. The cabin stood for two years as the only family dwelling in Chickasaw County.

The Little Brown Church, taken from Obituary of Lillian Massee

Mrs. Massee was a loyal member of the Little Brown Church and was one of the members of the Willing Workers Society who were Instrumental in re-opening the church in 1913. The Little Brown Church had been closed for 25 years following the decline of Bradford town, when the Illinois Central Railroad reached Nashua ahead of the Milwaukee Railroads race to build into Bradford in 1888. But in 1913 the church had, in effect, its second beginning and Mrs. Massee was one of those who worked so diligently to that end.

Almira Merritt (1850 - 1908)

Almira Merritt was the first white child born in Chickasaw County, Iowa, on 17 May 1850. She died in Floyd County, Iowa. She married Avery Earl (1843 - 7 April 1910). Their children were:

Charles Truman Earl (1872 - ?)
**Harold Allen Earl (1897 - 1968 Floyd County, Iowa)
****Allen Eugene Earl (1918 - 1993 South Dakota)
**Neva May Earl (1905 - 1988 Floyd County, Iowa)
**Violet Earl (? - ?)
Ira Eugene Earl (1873 - 1914 Floyd County, Iowa)
Cora B. Earl (April 1880 - ?)

Almira (Merritt) Earl Obituary - "Elmira Earl was born May 17, 1850, at Bradford, Chickasaw County, Iowa. Her early life was spent in this place and on the 22 nd day of February 1871 she was united in marriage to Avery Earl of Waverly, Iowa. In the year 1885 they moved to Floyd county and in 1891 they moved to the town of Floyd, having lived in the same house up until the hour of her death which occurred Thursday, January 16, 1908. Three Children were born to this union C. L. Earl, Eugene Earl and Cora B. now Mrs. William Morse, of Fairbault, Minn. She also leaves a husband, three sisters and three brothers to mourn her loss. In 1904, Mrs. Earl was taken to Rochester for an operation, but the dread disease had gained too strong a foothold. Mrs. Earl was a lady of a sweet and sunshiny disposition and was beloved by all who knew her. She was a devoted member of the Royal Neighbors. Her last words were “ When my spirit leaves me it will go to God”. The funeral services were held Saturday at the M. E. church at 2 o'clock. Rev. Lilley officiating. The choir was chosen by Mrs. Earl before her death and was made up of the following: Miss Madgsick, Mrs. Seaton, Guerdon Stewart, and Mr. Follensbvee. The floral offers were many and beautiful, especially those given by the different lodges. The Royal Neighbor lodge attended in a body and assisted in the last sad rites. Interment was made in Oakwood cemetery."

Avery Earl Obituary - AVERY EARL CALLED AFTER LONG ILLNESS - HIGHLY RESPECTED FLOYD CITIZEN DIES LAST EVENING AT 9:30 - "The many friends and acquaintances of Avery Earl were grieved to learn of his death which occurred last evening at about 9:30 o'clock at the home of his son, Charles Earl. who resides on the Mrs. Sanfole farm, six miles north of this city. Mr. Earl was a man sixty-eight years of age who has lived in and around Floyd for many years, where he has operated a farm. For several years he has suffered from bladder trouble having under gone three operations, the last having been preformed some three weeks ago. He was a man very well known being thoroughly honest, and highly respected by all with whom he came in contact. He leaves three children, Charles and Eugene Earl of this city and Mrs. W. H. Morse of Faribault, Minn., to mourn his loss. As yet no definite arrangements have been made for the Funeral."

Julia Etta Merritt (1855 - 1939)

Julia was born in Chickasaw County, Iowa, and died in Superior, Douglas County, Wisconsin. She married John Greenman Cox. Their children were:

Herbert Henry Cox (1878 - 1962 Iowa)
Charles Cox (1880 - 1888 Kansas)
Mina B. Cox (1883 - 1906 Minnesota)
William Franklin Cox (1887 - ? Minnesota)
Stillborn girl Cox (1889 Minnesota)
Mabel Clair Cox (1893 - 1982 Minnesota)
Eva M. Cox (1898 - ? Minnesota)

Isaac Merritt (1858 - 1939)

Isaac was born December 3, 1860 in Chickasaw County, Iowa, and died September 15, 1939 in Jefferson Township, Knox County, Nebraska. He married Sallie Melinda Hill about 1892. She was born in April 1860 in England and died May 2, 1936 in Jefferson Township, Knox County, Nebraska.

Obituary for Isaac Merritt from the Verdigris Eagle newspaper, September 21, 1939

"Isaac Merritt was born December 3rd, 1860 at Nashway, Iowa, the youngest of eight children. He Passed away on September 15, 1939 at the age of 78 years, 9 months and 12 days. His boyhood days were spent at Nashway, and later he journeyed to Minnesota where he spent some years in the logging camps. Finally, he came to Walnut, Nebraska, where he has since resided."

"In 1892 he was married to Mrs. Melinda Hill Vibbard and to this union was born one son. Trueman Merritt. Preceding Mr. Merritt in death were his wife, one step-daughter, four sisters and three brothers. Left to mourn his passing are his son, Trueman Merritt of Walnut, Knox County; one step-daughter, Mrs. Maude Howard of Page; two step-sons, George Vibbard of Cedar Butte, S. D., and Frank Vibbard of Albert City, Iowa; and eighteen grandchildren. Funeral rites were held at the Sandoz Chapel at Verdigre on Sunday, September 17 at one o'clock p. m., and W. J. Svoboda of Verdigre, was in charge of the services. A choir consisting of Mrs. W. J. Svoboda and Miss Mary Schwartz sang hymns, accompanied by Mrs. E. E. Sandoz at the organ. Burial was made in the Grimton Cemetery near Venus."

The step-daughter who preceded Isaac in death was Mabel Vibbard. Isaac and spouse are listed in Grimton Cemetery burial records as Ike Merritt and Mrs. Ike Merritt.

(As written by Charles Volquardsen, Issac's great grandson)

Issac's boyhood days were spent at Nashua, Iowa, and later he journeyed to Minnesota where he spent some years in the logging camps. Finally, he came to Walnut, Nebraska, where he has since resided. Isaac came to Nebraska in the late 1880s. Trueman thought about 1879. There were about 20 single men and some newlywed couples no children.

Trueman Merritt and his friend Lawrence Butterfield homesteaded on the Middle branch Creek. In the 1930s Mr. Butterfield still lived in the original dugout. A flood in the 30s changed the path of the creek and Mr. Butterfield was forced to leave.

One day Iola and Trueman, her dad, cut across a neighbors pasture. Iola noticed ruts overgrown by weeds and asked what they were, wheel ruts was her answer, before fences we just made a beeline for where we had to go. The nearest town was Niobrara 12 miles to the northeast. It was more a trading post and steamboats stopped there for wood to burn.

Roving bands of Indians were common; they were normally looking for handouts and would steal anything they could. Otherwise they were harmless.

Isaac married the widow Sally Vibbard and moved to her farm. They had one son Trueman Henry. Isaac died in the fall of 1939 of "old age complications" He was bedfast the last months of his life.

Trueman Merritt always said he was a Pennsylvania Dutchman with a little French thrown in. Trueman hated politicians and one year he was disgusted with the man running for county office. He often said he could do a far better job. So his friends picked up on this and wrote him in as a candidate and to their surprise and Trueman's disgust he won and served 3 terms.

Trueman Merritt told of his father hauling hogs to market in wagons, 3 days each way. They would have to stop and let the hogs eat and the trip took 7 days.

Trueman was born in a dugout west of Verdigre, Nebraska. It was the home of his grandparents who had homesteaded there. He grew up on his mothers farm that was just south of the dugout. He went to country school district 18 Knox county. When he was 12 years old he quit school when his father was ill (Isaac Merritt). He did the farming that year. When his father was better he helped him farm and also worked part time for neighbors. He would work from dawn to dusk and was paid a dollar a day, his noon meal and hay for his horses.

When the U.S. entered WW1 he enlisted in the army and took his basic in Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri. He then was transferred to Ft. Dix N.J. He served overseas driving a team of mules on a supply wagon. Most of the time he was in Belgium and a short time in France. His helmet was caved in on one side from shrapnel. That was all he talked about the war.