Begin to Know and Understand

Now we start to understand this family and the lives they led. We sense the struggle of the family: moving from New York to Wisconsin and then having the father die before reaching forty; the young mother, nursing her sick, contagious husband, then left alone to raise five children and keep the farm going. Researching the land sales, we find Cornelia sold the farm in pieces for their maintenance, following Anson's instructions. She kept some of the land and, in 1860, was listed as a farm widow. In 1880, although no longer on the farm, Cornelia was still in Ft. Atkinson, living with her school teacher daughter.

To continue the story of the family's life, the lives of the children were followed, too. The son Marsena served in the Civil War, opening a new study area for details to add to his life story. The children began marrying, and some moved to Illinois, Missouri, and, ultimately, California when the transcontinental train was connected. (The historical events surrounding the completion of the train route also provided fascinating details.) Another son became a doctor and went to Montana, while a third became a dentist and headed to Alaska. Cornelia had done well, seeing that they were educated. The family continued to make its way, and then adventure and the far west beckoned the children, just as it had their parents.

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