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Northeast of Grand River, Richland Twp., Decatur County, Iowa

Michael Jr. and Elizabeth (SOWERWINE) FOLAND Family

Michael FOLAND was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, on January 14, 1820, the son of Michael Sr. (1794-1834) and Catherine or Christina (ZIMMER/ZIMMERS) FOLAND. Catherine was the daughter of Michael (1738-1792) and Catharina ZIMMERS.

Michael's mother died around the year 1823 when he was about three-years-old. Michael Sr. married second to Catherine/Katherine SEMNER or SUMMER or SOMNER. Shortly after this marriage, the family moved to Rane County, Indiana.

There has been quite a bit of confusion with regard to Michael Jr.'s mother. Her name and the name of his step-mother have been interchanged in many genealogies and historical records. Michael's father, Michael Sr., died when he was fourteen-years-old. Because he lost both parents at an early age, his memory and recollection over the years probably wasn't much assistance in the matter. Michael and his step-sister, Phillepine "Phoebe" SEMNER were listed as orphans, August 18, 1834. John FISHER was appointed by the court as their guardian.

Michael's paternal grandfather, Johann "Valentine" FOLAND (1756 - 1811) served through the American Revolutionary War. It is believed that he served in the Virginia Regiment.

Michael FOLAND and Elizabeth SOWERWINE were married on October 16, 1842 in Delaware County, Indiana.

Elizabeth SOWERWINE was born November 23, 1822, Timberville, Virginia, the daughter of William "Christian" (1793-1871) and Maria (GOOD) SOWERWINE (1800-1838). After Maria's death, Christian married second to Catherine/Katherine SEMNER or SUMMER or SOMNER, the second wife of Michael FOLAND, Sr. and Michael's step-mother.

From the deed records of Delaware County, Indiana, Christian SOWERWINE and Catherine made out a guardianís deed to Michael FOLAND, Jr. for the west Ĺ of the southeast quarter of Section 17, township 19 on August 6th of 1842. In this document, Christian states that he is the guardian of Michael FOLAND, Jr. who would have been twenty-two-years-old at the time and was preparing to marry Elizabeth SOWERWINE. When Michael FOLAND, Jr. married Christianís daughter Elizabeth, Michael was not only Christianís step-son but his son-in-law, too. According to Elizabeth (SOWERWINE) FOLANDís obituary, the combined family left Virginia, arriving in Indiana during the year 1836.

According to a deed on record in Decatur County, Iowa, Sherman and Ruth BOWERS of Delaware County, Indiana, sold 160 acres located in Richland Township to Michael FOLAND. Interestingly, Sherman BOWERS was a co-trustee of the Bowers Lutheran Presbyterian Church with Elizabethís father, Christian SOWERWINE.

In September of 1859, Michael and Elizabeth FOLAND left Muncie, Indiana with a covered wagon, three horses and a rig to come to Decatur County, Iowa. On their way to their homestead, the FOLANDS stopped and wintered at Dekalb near Short Creek where their son Isaac Randolph "Ike" was born the following spring on April 3, 1860. Once Elizabeth was able to travel, they completed the last 20 miles of their journey to settle on 160 acres of land which would be Michael and Elizabeth's home for the remainder of their lives. They built a log cabin where they lived until they built their new home around the year 1880. At the time, this was one of the finest residences in the county.

Michael owned and operated a hardware store and a harness shop in Westerville and a sorghum mill. When five of the FOLAND sons married, the newlyweds moved into what became known as the 'weaning house' and operated the mill until they had accumulated enough funds to purchase their own farmstead. [William and Sam FOLAND were the exceptions. ~ SRB ] Michael also built the Foland School located on the southeast corner of his farm until it was moved to the town of Kellerton around the year 1960/61 where it served as the music room for Grand Valley Community School.

During the Civil War, Michael served with Company A of the Third Battalion, Iowa Southern Border Brigade.

Elizabeth, who was well-known for her sweet disposition, died on August 25, 1896, and was interred at the Wheelis/Tennessee Cemetery, Richland Twp., Decatur County, Iowa. Michael died on April 18, 1904 and was interred beside his wife.

  • Michael Foland biography

  • Elizabeth (Sowerwine) Foland obituary

  • Michael Foland obituary

    Michael and Elizabeth's granddaughter-in-law, Wilma (RAMSEY) FOLAND, wrote The Foland Record  in 1960. She wrote several supplements in the years that followed - Supplement 1, July 1960 to July 1965; Supplement 2, 1965 to 1971; and Supplement 3, 1971 to 1982. These records are now out of print however, on occassion, a copy appears for sale on e-bay.

    With Grand River's Centennial approaching (1981), a planning committee of FOLAND family descendants was formed to set the original heartstone from Michael and Elizabeth's log cabin as a permanent marker. Members of the planning committee were Donna (SNETHEN) VAN, Ellen FOLAND, Carl FOLAND, Doyle FOLAND and Norma G. (FOLAND) BECKER. The monument with the heartstone was dedicated during the Centennial celebrations on June 22, 1981. It is located in the southwest corner of the town park.


    The Ten Children of Michael and Elizabeth (SOWERWINE) FOLAND

    NOTE: Much of the information found on individual family pages came from Wilma (Ramsey) Foland's The Foland FamilY Record and subsequent supplements. During this time, it was a different era. Wilma included in her work dates and places of those who were still living, along with a paragraph which gave a little information about the descendant family. I have omitted much of this type of information. Other information not included in Wilma's work comes from obituaries of those who have passed since the last [1982] Foland family record supplement went to print. ~ SRB

    Click on links below to view individual family pages.
    Click on your browser's 'back' button or the link at the bottom of the family page
    to return to Michael and Elizabeth's page.

    1. Mary A. (FOLAND) BRADSHAW
    1843 - 1920
    2. William Henry "Bill" FOLAND
    1845- 1919
    3. John Valentine FOLAND
    1847- 1929

    4. Christian "Chris" FOLAND
    1851 - 1933
    5. Sarah Catherine "Cass"

    1851- 1899
    6. Samuel "Sam" FOLAND
    1854- 1932

    7. Henrietta "Ret" (FOLAND) WELDON
    1856 - 1940
    8. Isaac Randolph "Ike" FOLAND
    1860 - 1945
    9. Sanford Marion FOLAND
    1863 - 1944
    10. George FOLAND
    1866 - 1946

  • First FOLAND Family Reunion, August of 1960, Grand River IA

    Genealogical Sources:
    Reflections of Grand River 1881 - 1981, Leon Journal-Reporter articles and obituaries; Down 100 Years; family documents & records; photograph albums, scrapbooks and genealogical clippings of Pearle V. (BRAMON) FOLAND and Norma G. (FOLAND) BECKER

    FOLAND, Wilma G. (RAMSEY). The Foland Family Record 1960; The Foland Family Record, Supplement One July 1960 to July 1965; The Foland Family Record, Supplement Two 1965 to 1971; The Foland Family Record, Supplement Three 1971 to 1982

    Written, compiled and submitted by Sharon R. Becker, September & October of 2013


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