poetry and prose about place

family history – changes in 10 years

with 4 comments

As I look into my family history, I am often amazed by the changes that occur in families in short periods of time.  An example is found in the early life of my great-grandmother Ella – Mary Ellen (Hawk) Norman.  In the ten years from 1860 to 1870, she experienced dramatic changes in her family.


The 1860 US Census shows Ella’s family living in Chestnut Hills Township, Monroe County, Pennsylvania.  The family included Josiah Hawk (Ella’s father, a shoemaker), Sallyann (Sarah Ann) (Ella’s mother), Owen and Ella (Ellen).  Mariah Hawk, Ella’s paternal grandmother was also living with them.


Hawk 1860


In the next decade, the family underwent remarkable change.  First, five children were born – Flora, Sarah, twins Edwin and Otto, and Emma.  Of these, Otto and Emma did not live (Josiah and Sallie had already lost a child in 1957).  Then Josiah died on June 28, 1865, a month and a half after Emma.  Also, sometime during the ten-year period, Maria Hawk, who lived until 1880, went to live elsewhere.


John Franklin       born Sept. 15, 1855     (died Dec. 26, 1857, two years old)

Owen                       born April 21, 1857 (death date unknown)

Ellen                        born January 4, 1859   (Ella, my great-grandmother, died 1933)

Flora Alice              born June 25, 1860 (death date unknown)

Sarah Ann              born Dec. 11, 1863  (Sadie, my great grand-aunt, died 1921)

Edwin W.               born 1864 (Ed, my great grand-uncle, died 1940)

Otto                         born 1864 (death date unknown, before 1870)

Emma Lydia          born Jan. 7, 1865 (died May 9, 1865, 4 months old)


From: Atwood James Shupp, 1990, Genealogy of Conrad and Elizabeth (Borger) Hawk: 1744 – 1990, Gateway Press, Baltimore).


In 1870, Ella’s mother, Sallie, married again to Joshua Popplewell.


The 1870 US Census shows the results of all this change.  In 1870, the family is living in Williamsport, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.  The family now includes Joshua Popplewell (step-father), Salie (Sara Ann) (mother), Owen, Mary (Ella), Flora, Edwin and Sarah (Sadie).


Hawk 1870


The person most affected by these changes must have been my great-great-grandmother, Sara Ann (Sallie).  During the decade she gives birth to five children (including a set of twins), her husband dies, she remarries, and she changes the location of her home at least once.  In the only photo I have of her, she seems a formidable woman, steeled to withstand all manner of disruption in her life.  I also see great sadness in her eyes.


my great-great-grandmother Sallie -  Sarah Anne (Kresge) Hawk Popplewell (1835 - 1910)

my great-great-grandmother Sallie – Sarah Anne (Kresge) Hawk Popplewell (1835 – 1910)



Our lives are dynamic, full of change.  New people enter our lives, others leave.  The place we call home shifts to a new location.  We go to school and graduate, we take a new job, we retire.  Our focus changes, along with our point of view.  Some change is dramatic, some subtle.  Some change makes us laugh, some makes us cry.


What changes do you see in the decades of your life?


Copyright  2014  Jane Tims


Written by jane tims

July 30, 2014 at 7:33 am

4 Responses

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  1. I love census records and eagerly anticipate the release of the latest batch of them every ten years! So many clues, genealogical gems.

    Your 2nd-great-grandmother Sallie looks very strong, like she has successfully weathered many storms of change. I’m in awe contemplating how hard women must have worked caring for their families while being pregnant for so much of their lives. And many of them endured the heartbreak of losing one or more children, too.

    The most recent changes I’ve been through is the deaths of my father and a brother-in-law, and the soon-to-happen birth of a new granddaughter.


    Barbara Rodgers

    July 30, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    • Hi Barbara. Changes can be sad or happy. We are complex beings, amazing that we can deal with such extremes! Jane


      jane tims

      August 3, 2014 at 8:26 pm

  2. First of all 1860’w was the civil war. I am watching the series again and will study it because one commentator said you cannot understand the US without studying the war. So her movements and losses may have had something to do with that. It was 10 years that changed the US.



    July 30, 2014 at 11:19 am

    • Hi. The civil war was from 1861 to 1865. I had always thought that since Josiah and his daughter died so close together, the cause was an illness. But I will check this angle! Thanks! Jane


      jane tims

      August 3, 2014 at 8:31 pm

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