Our

Geery

Heritage



James Geery--


Our Geery story seems to begin with the arrival of a Mr. James Geery from Scotland sometime prior to 1740.  It seems that he and his wife, [her name is unknown] probably brought their three oldest children with them on the ship and then had at least three more children after their arrival in America.  We know very little of him, or his background, other than from a brief biographical sketch of one of his descendants, which merely mentions his name as the original immigrant.  This James Geery, first settled in Maryland.  We do know that he had a number of children who lived along the Susquehanna River, alternately between both Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Because two different states (or Colonies) were involved, it makes one think these homes were a long ways apart, but in reality, they were neighboring counties and the various residences may have only been a few steps apart.


James had the following children.  From their dates of birth, it could be that the two youngest may have been from a second wife, and half-brothers to the older children, but other than the gap in their ages, there is no evidence that this was the case.  It is merely stated here as a possibility.  The name of his wife (or wives) is not known. 


1  Ailse Geery          b. abt 1731 in Scotland

2  Mary Geery          b. abt 1733 in Scotland

3  James Geery       b. abt 1735 in Scotland

4  Agness Geery     b. abt 1740 in Maryland

5  John Geery          b. 5 Dec. 1752 in York Co., PA

6  William Geery      b. 27 Oct 1757 in York Co., PA


In the days prior to the American Revolution, Pennsylvania, which was not only a Quaker, but also a pacifist, colony restricted her residents from crossing over the Susquehanna River and taking up Indian lands.  To keep the peace, the leaders (the Penn family) tried hard to be fair to the Indians and to maintain a peaceful coexistence.  In fact, the Penns were not even sure where the western end of their colony was, but for all intents and purposes, it virtually ended at the River.


Marylanders had no such compulsion and were more inclined to travel up a river, than to worry about where a rather arbitrary political boundary might cross through the woods.  And so, as opportunities arose for trading with the Indians, the Marylanders were free to roam up the western side of the Susquehanna into what eventually became known as York County, PA. 


And so it was with James Geery and his sons.  We find them going back and forth from Maryland, just south of the PA boarder, and up into York County. 



William Geery--


The youngest child of James Geery, was our William.  He was born after the family moved into York Co., PA, on 27 Oct. 1757.   [The information about his birthdate was made clear from his son’s, John Geery’s, family Bible, in which he specifies his mother’s birth, his siblings, wives, and children; and which Bible is now in this author’s possession.  Many of the names and dates in this story are derived from that old Bible.  Evidently William’s father, James, also had an old family Bible, but if it still exists, its location is unknown.]


William grew up predominantly in York Co., PA where he met and married Catherine Houts on 27 Oct 1778, on his 21st birthday.   She was the daughter of John Houts and Nancy ________, of German extraction.   There is some evidence that this Houts family came to York Co., PA from New Jersey, but that has not yet been adequately proven.  Catherine was the fourth child in the family with siblings as follows:


1  Christena Houts           b.     3 May 1752

2  Catherine Houts           b.               1757        d. bef 1760

3  Christopher Houts        b.               1758

4  Catherine Houts           b.   14 Sep 1760          d. 2 Jun 1815

5  Jacob Houts                  b.              1762

6  Margritt Houts               b.  29 Jun 1763

7  Elizabeth Houts             b.             1765 


Whether William participated in the Revolutionary War as a soldier, or not, is unknown, but it seems highly likely that he would have.  His older brother, John, was a soldier, and with the opposing British Army stationed in Philadelphia, a patriotic feeling filled the hearts of most able bodied Pennsylvanians, perhaps more so than from any other colony, outside of Massachusetts.


Little is known of William and Catherine’s life in Pennsylvania, but from John’s Bible, we learn that they had only four children together:


John Geery             b. 12 Jun 1783

Mary Geery             b. 14 Apr 1785

Margaret Geery      b. 16 Apr 1787

James Geery          b.  27 Apr 1789


From subsequent US census records, John, at one point, stated that he was born  in Pennsylvania, but in another census, he said he was born in Maryland.  He was actually born in York Co., PA, but the family moved to Maryland, where John remembered living as a young boy.  It is easy to see how the census information could have errors.  His younger brother, James consistently said that he was born in Maryland. 


In the first US census taken in 1790, William Geery is found with his family in Baltimore Co., Maryland. 


This last stay in Maryland was of a short duration and they were probably gone in the early 1790’s.  Like so many other families, following the war, they were on their way west to the Kentucky territory.  Whether they participated in the land speculation that was so rampant at that time, or whether they were just interested in getting their own little spot of heaven, is not sure, but they settled in Madison County, KY.  The exact spot of their residence is not known, and Madison Co., contained a very large parcel of land.  Indeed, all of Kentucky had only three counties at first, but Madison County was the heart of the State, and contained the village of Boonesborough, the one-time home of Daniel Boone. 


They must have lived fairly close to one of the original settlements in that state, as William’s oldest son, John Geery, soon met a young girl, by the name of Elizabeth Guthrie, who was about his same age, and who was born there in Madison Co.  These two teenagers struck up a very close relationship, enough so, that in 1799, at the age of about 15-16, when the Guthrie family moved from the area, to resettle in Williamson Co., TN, John could not get her off of his mind.  A few years later, he followed her there, where they were married on 9 Dec 1805, in Williamson Co., TN. 


The 1800 tax list for Kentucky shows William Geery’s name in “Lincoln Co.” at that time; but the 1810 tax list again shows William Geery in Madison Co.  The 1820 Federal census again lists him as “William Gary” but still in Madison Co. KY.


In the mean time, William Geery and the rest of his family remained, at least for the most part, in Madison Co., KY.  Here William and Nancy’s other children found their mates and settled down to raise their families.  Nancy however, contracted a serious illness and passes away on there on 2 June 1815.   About two years following her death, William remarried a Hannah _______, in 1817.  By this wife, he had two more children:


1  William Geery          b.            1818

2  Sally Ann Geery      b.  9 Sep 1820


William remained for the rest of his life in Madison County, KY, passing away there on 14 Jan 1838 outliving his second wife by two years, as Hannah died there on 26 Oct 1835.


William Geery’s older brother, John Geery, served in the Pennsylvania Militia during the War.  Eventually, he obtained land in Ohio (probably in payment for his service as a soldier)  and lived long enough thereafter to apply for a soldier’s pension in Ohio in 1838.   (See Pension Applications of Revolutionary War veterans on the Internet at HeritageQuest.)   While we are not absolutely certain that this John Geery was the same as the brother of our William, we feel confident that it was the same man, as there were very few persons in the area who spelled their name as our Geery family consistently spelled theirs.  In his pension papers, he (our Uncle John) gives little information about his own family.  He only states that he was born in Pennsylvania, that he fought in the War, and that he subsequently moved to Ohio, where he was living at the time he made his application.  To the interrogatory requesting  proof of his age, he resorted to information he had seen about his birth in his father’s old family Bible.  He said he didn’t know where that was at the time, but that it had been given to his brother, who  had long since moved to Kentucky.  His story matches ours and if this is the same family, then our William was probably the possessor of his father’s old family Bible.  It is not known where that Bible is today, but it was a treasured heirloom for the family back then.  Just having it in the family may have provided the impetus for our John (William’s son, and James’ grandson) to go out and obtain an expensive family Bible shortly after he and Elizabeth Guthrie were married in Tennessee, which Bible he bought on 1 June 1812 for $10, which was a considerable cost in those days.  The Pension application cited above also sadly shows how families lost contact with one another back then when transportation and communication were limited.  It is sad to think of these two brothers actually living fairly close to one another but not having seen or visited each other in many years. 



John Geery--


John, the son of William Geery and Nancy Houts, was born on 12 June 1783 in York Co., PA.  As mentioned previously, he came to Kentucky with his family when just a young boy, of about ten or twelve years old.  Here he met the family of Robert Guthrie, a long time resident of the area, and fell in love with his oldest daughter, Elizabeth Guthrie. 


By the turn of the century (early 1800’s) the threat from the Shawnee Indians had subsided quite a bit in Kentucky, although the Creeks were still giving the settlers in Tennessee a lot of trouble.  There were virtually no real roads and only a few trails through the wilderness, but young John was in love and not to be deterred from attempting to seek out the home of Elizabeth Guthrie.  In 1799 her father had moved his family to Williamson Co., TN where they had good farm ground to plant.  John made his way to their home where he was graciously received.  He and Elizabeth were married in Williamson Co., TN on 9 Dec. 1805.  


For several years they made their home next to his in-laws and seemed happy in this community.  As mentioned earlier, books were a rarity on the frontier, and many people couldn’t read anyway.   It is a credit to his parental up-bringing that John could read and write and the Bible was the text for most students in those days, being about the only book most families owned.  John saved up and purchased a brand new Bible printed in Philadelphia in 1811 and shipped new to a merchant in Tennessee... perhaps one of the items Andrew Jackson purchased in Philadelphia on one of his business trips there to procure merchandise that he could sell as an entrepreneur back in Nashville.  In his newly purchased Bible, John recorded the dates and names of his parents, siblings, wife (eventually -- wives) and children.  (As stated earlier, this valued treasure is in the possession of this writer, but photo copies of some of the most beneficial information, in the hand writing of John Geery himself, will be attached to this document.)


Here in Williamson Co., TN John and Elizabeth had the following children:

1  William Geery                                     b. 22 Sep 1806         d. 11 Nov 1816

2  Robert  Geery                                     b.   1 Dec 1808

3  Mary Geery                                          b.   4 Feb 1811

4  Catharine Geery                                  b. 27 May 1813

5  Margaret Geery                                  b. 16  Jul 1815

6  John Gideon Blackburn Geery          b. 25 Sep 1817


On 11 Nov. 1816 a tragedy struck the family when their oldest little boy, ten year old William, suddenly died.  Death in those days was a common occurrence and John and Elizabeth could count themselves lucky to have lost only one child; but still the pain of losing that one was excruciating.  Our ancestor, little Robert, who just a few weeks later turned eight years old, was not the oldest surviving child with much of the responsibility of helping his father on the farm, now coming his way. 


Not too long after the death of little William, this family decided to pull up stakes and move to a new territory.  Excellent reports were coming in of the farm land in the new state of Missouri that was just opening up to settlers in 1820.  It must have been painful for Elizabeth to say “good-bye” to her parents and siblings, whom she suspected she would never see again, and trudge off to this new country.


They traveled down the Cumberland River to where it meets the Ohio, and then, just a short distance further, it merges with the Mississippi.  From here, they worked their way upstream to a ferry crossing near Louisiana, MO, where they left the river behind them and started moving west until they came to an open parcel not yet claimed.  This was located just barely on the Ralls side of the county line, which separates it from Pike County, MO. 


After marking off his farm ground, John built a large log cabin next to a perpetual spring of water.  Most of the burden of providing for the daily household chores fell on the women and John’s selection of a home site so close to the spring shows his thoughtfulness of Elizabeth.  The country he selected was situated on tree lined rolling hills but the site would be good for an orchard on the hillside, grain could be grown on the cleared tops of the ridges, with an excellent garden below the spring in the bottoms.


But, no sooner had they started their home, then Elizabeth fell ill.  The disease is not known, but in the summer months, along the Mississippi River, which was only a few miles away, many infectious diseases, such as Cholera and Malaria were abundant.  The stagnant water and the warm humidity made this a great breading ground for a variety of illnesses and one of these would surely have been the cause of her death, which occurred on 2 Sep 1820.  From his log cabin, John walked down the hill, passed the spring, crossed the bottom of the ravine and hiked up on the opposite side of the vale where he selected a quiet, restful place in the shade of some large trees.  Here he made a final resting place on his farm for his beloved Elizabeth, and others to follow her over the course of the years.


John was now left with five living children to raise by himself.  These ranged in age from 11 to 3.   He didn’t give up but continued to farm his land.  It wasn’t too long before he found a chance to have a little help, when on 21 Mar 1822 he married Elizabeth Hicklin.  By his second wife, John had no children, but she was good to raise his brood as if they were her own.


This good woman didn’t live long enough either, and she died on 23 Dec. 1830.   Again, John took the coffin for this Elizabeth, and buried her on the sidehill of his farm, next to his first wife. 


There was an interval of less than a year before John was ready to try marriage again.  This time he found another good woman named Elizabeth Costly (or Causton).  They were married on 11 Oct 1831.   By now, John’s children were growing up and some had left the home to find mates of their own.  This Elizabeth lived only until 19 Oct 1842, when she too died and was buried on the family hillside plot, next to his other wives. 


On 31 Oct 1844 John married his fourth and final wife, Jane Pittman.  By this time John was getting old himself, but Jane brought him comfort and companionship in their old age.   John passed away on his farm on 6 Jul 1860 and his children buried him in the family cemetery next to his three previous wives.


About two weeks after his death, John’s widow, Jane Pittman Geery went to the county courthouse and made the following declaration:


“To the Hon. County Court of Ralls County, I have relinquished my right to administer the estate of my deceased husband John Geery and recommend the appointment of his two sons Robert Geery and John G. B. Geery.  Given under my hand this 18th day of July 1860.  Jane Geery.” 


John did not make a will, so the following affidavit was submitted to the court by his sons:


“State of Missouri, County of Ralls:  Robert and John G. B. Geery, that to the best of their knowledge and belief, the names of the heirs of John Geery deceased, and their places of residence are as follows:  Robert Geery and Catharine Shotwell formerly Catherine Geery of Pike County and John G. B. Geery and Margaret Geery of said county of Ralls and Elizabeth G. Copelin and Missouri Catharine Copelin, _________________ in Iowa, and John G. Copelin of St. Louis Missouri children and heirs of Mary Copelin formerly Mary Geery, and Jane Geery widow of the deceased. That said John Geery died without will; that they will make a perfect inventory of, and faithfully administer all the estate of the deceased, and pay the debts as far as the assets will extend and the law direct; and account for and pay all assets which shall come to their possession or knowledge.  Subscribed and sworn to before me this 21st day of July, 1860.  James _______ , Clerk.

Signed by Robert Geery and John G. B. Geery.”


In the mean time, after John’s move to Missouri, his younger brother, James Geery, who had still been living with their folks back in Kentucky, packed up his family and in the early 1830’s moved to Missouri too.  But, by then, most of the ground around Pike and Ralls Counties had already been claimed, so James went further west and settled in Howard Co., MO, where he stayed for the remainder of his life, and where many of his descendants farmed for the several generations.  James Geery (John’s brother) died in Howard Co., MO on 1 Aug. 1868, and his wife, Sarah Rice Geery, followed him in death on 26 Dec. 1873.



Robert Geery--


Robert was born in Williamson County, TN on 1 Dec 1808, and was the second child in the family of John and Elizabeth Guthrie Geery.  But on 11 Nov 1816 when his older brother, William suddenly died, Robert became the oldest living child, with much of the farm work devolving upon his shoulders.  Named after his maternal grandfather, he knew that man and lived near him in Tennessee, until his parents’ move to Missouri in 1820.  Robert was only seven years old at the time of that move, and was still at this tender age when his mother passed away shortly after their arrival in Ralls County. 


Life was tough on the frontier for a young man, but his father needed him to help clear the land of most of the trees, and to plow and plant the crops.  He worked right along side of his father from his childhood and knew how to work long and hard hours.  It was not just something his father wanted him to do, it was a matter of survival for the entire family for them to work and bring in a successful crop. 


In the community near where they lived was another family, who had been their friends in Williamson Co., TN, and who had moved to Missouri with them.  This was the family of Reuben and Lois (Merritt) Parks.  They too were making a new farm out of the wilderness of Missouri territory right along with the Geerys.  They had a young daughter by the name of Sarah Parks, although she was known by her friends as “Sally”. 


Sally’s father, Reuben Parks had died in Pike Co., MO in Jan. 1822 just a copule years after their arrival, much like Robert’s mother; and she was raised by her widowed mother, who died about a month after Sally was married. 


Robert and Sally were married in Ralls County, on 29 Sep 1831 and began building up their own farm ground in Pike County, next to the farm and home of William W. Waddle, which was also next to one of Sally’s brothers--James M. Parks.  Over the next 22 years, they had the following children, all born in Pike County:


1  Mary Geery                                        b.  30 Jan 1833

2  Lois Ellen Geery                               b.  27 Mar 1836

3  John W. Geery                                  b.    2 Dec 1838

4  Rueben Robert Geery                    b.  17 Aug 1842

5  James Geery                                     b.       Feb  1845

6  Thomas Geery                                  b.        Jul  1850

7  Elizabeth Martha Geery                 b.    6 Jan 1853


Robert was not only a farmer, but also followed the trade of being the local tanner of hides.  There were a number of small Churches in the area, but it is not known which one appealed the most to this family.  During the 1830’s there was considerable commotion in Missouri about a new religion that claimed to have been restored by the Lord Jesus Christ himself, and they had a new book of scripture, which many of their detractors called the “Golden Bible”.  These people, “Mormons” as they were called, began settling on the far western side of the state, in Jackson County, and the surrounding area.  Great animosity arose and persecution followed.  The people of Pike and Ralls county seemed little affected for the most part.  However, at one point, after the Mormons had been forcibly evicted from their homes in Jackson County and told they could not return, another group of Mormons from Ohio began marching west with the stated intent of restoring these dispossessed Saints back to their homes.  This second group was referred to as “Zion’s Camp,” and as they approached Missouri, they crossed the River at Louisiana, just a few miles from the Geery farm.  Nothing is known of the disposition of the local inhabitants, but there must have been a bit of a stir with rumors of an invading army coming through their midst, on their way to do battle with the Missourians near Independence. 


No out-right military conflict resulted, but more and more Mormons kept moving into the western counties of the state, north of Jackson County.  Eventually, their residency and the furor it caused, became a statewide political issue with everyone forming some kind of opinion.  Not everyone was opposed to the Mormons, and many felt genuine sorrow for their plight, but no record has been kept of the feelings of the Geerys, or the Parks, on the eastern side of the state. 


In time, the Mormons were expelled from Missouri, and in the cold of winter, 1839, many of them migrated back across northern tier of counties, on their way to Illinois.  For the most part, this migration went to the north of Ralls County, but close enough that again, there would have been a lot of local gossip about this strange group of people.  The Mormons were welcomed and fed by the good people of Quincy, Illinois, who heard with abhorrence, all the terrible sufferings they had endured.  In the spring of 1840, they acquired a swampy patch of land along the Mississippi and began to build a new town called Nauvoo.  This community grew rapidly, with many people gathering there from all over the United States, and then from England and Europe too.  It grew into a very sizable city with river boats heading there as a destination with many curious passengers.  These events too would not have gone unnoticed by the Geerys, but again, no record exists of their opinions of this church.  Tension was relieved when, in 1846, the Mormons left their beautiful city and began a westward migration across Iowa, and then to the Rocky Mountains to build up their Zion in the Utah Territory.


In 1860, following the election of Abraham Lincoln, from the neighboring state of Illinois, the Civil War broke out and Missouri was referred to as a “split state” meaning that it was both a “slave” state, as well as a “free” state, and the people could chose which way they wanted to be.  This was not very satisfactory though, since about half of the people had come from northern states, and the other half had come from the southern states.  There was great turmoil in Missouri with neighbors fighting neighbors and nighttime raids against families within their own communities. 


Coming from Tennessee, the Geerys had southern inclinations, but not so much so that they wanted to kill anyone over it.  However, within their region, there were those who felt that this was a cause worth killing over and a few tragic events were perpetrated causing great anxiety and sorrow to many. 


At this time, Robert Geery was 52 years old when his wife, Sally Parks, became ill and passed away on 23 Oct. 1865.  After that, he married as his second wife, Catherine Kramer on 20 Feb 1866, and by her he had a second family consisting of the following children, all born in Peno Township, Pike Co., MO:


1  Andrew J. Geery                    b.    1  Jan 1867

2  Robert Byron Geery              b.  21 May 1868

3  Sarah H. Geery                       b.         Jul  1870

4  Joseph Geery                          b.  20  Jan 1872

5  Ida Geery                                  b.         abt  1876

6  Edward Geery                         b.         abt  1877

7  Mary Geery                               b.         abt  1878

8  Emma Belle “Molly” Geery   b.  19 Aug  1879



Eventually Robert died on 11 Jan 1899 and in Reading, MO; and his second wife, Catherine passed away some time after 1883. 



Reuben Robert Geery--


RR Geery, as he usually styled himself, was named after both his maternal Grandfather, Reuben Parks, and after his father, Robert Geery.  Born on 17 Aug 1842 in Pike Co., MO.  His family lived very near to some of the Waddle families, including William W. Waddle (sometimes spelled “Waddell” especially in the earlier generations), as well as his son, George R. Waddle and their families.  Reuben went to school with the children of this famliy.  The Waddles were originally from Fauquier County, Virginia, but had stopped for about one generation in Mason County, KY on the Ohio River.  They arrived in Pike County early and were well established with a large and prosperous farm located on Sugar Creek. 


Reuben was struck by one of the daughters of George Richard and Mildred (Sisson) Waddle.  Her name was Lucy Frances Waddle, but she went be the name of “Fanny”, that being a common nickname of this era.  Fanny was born on 14 Apr 1844 in Pike Co., MO.  She was one the second of eleven children born to her father’s first family, (he married a second time and had three more children by that wife).  His first family included:


1  Elizabeth A. Waddle                b.        abt 1843

2  Lucy Frances Waddle             b.  14 Apr 1844

3  Mary Waddle                              b.        abt 1846

4  Virginia Waddle                         b.        abt 1847/48

5  Mildred Georgia Waddle         b.    2 Oct 1848

6  Cordelia Waddle                        b.       Jan 1850

7  William H. Waddle                     b.  17 Nov 1851

8  Samuel H. Waddle                    b.        Feb 1854

9  John W. Waddle                         b.       Oct 1855

10  Martha Jane Waddle              b.  25 Jun 1857

11  James T. Waddle                     b.       Feb 1859


After an appropriate sweetheart courtship of these teenagers, Reuben and Lucy were married on 25 Feb 1864 in Pike Co., MO.   Reuben tried farming for a while, but again there was the old concern about dividing the farm land between too many heirs.  Still, they wanted to be near their families so they continued working at their farm for several years.  During this time, they had four of their five children, which included:


1  John William Geery                    b.    9 Dec 1864

2  Sally Mildred Geery                    b.  25 Mar 1867

3  Cora Bell Geery                           b.  30 Mar 1869

4  Henry Ola Geery                          b. 19 Aug 1871


Following the end of the Civil War, there was another huge explosion of the population moving west to occupy almost every piece of land that could be acquired.  In 1869 the “golden spike” was driving at Promatory Point, in Utah which connected the two coastal regions by rail, and reduced the travel time and expense immensely.  Additionally, following the discovery of gold in California, and then in Nevada, and then Colorado, the stage was set for hundreds of prospectors to search the untamed hinterlands for precious metals. 


With the discovery of rich veins of gold, then silver, and then copper in a little known place that soon became the boom town of Butte, Montana, thousands of people from all over the world flocked to the newest strike zone to make themselves wealthy over-night. 


Reuben and Fanny had a young family at this time, but they were coming to the conclusion that their Missouri farm was not going to provide them with the life they wanted to live.  Sometime between 1872-75 they made the decision to pull up stakes and head west to exploit the opportunities they heard so much about from Butte. 


At least with the railroad, their trip west was much less of a hardship than it had been for earlier travelers.  They probably went west as far as Ogden, UT and then changed trains heading north to Anaconda, MT.  Here, they, with their four small children, arrived before 1875.  


Additionally some of Reuben’s brothers and sisters came to Montana with him, or shortly thereafter.  Not many stayed in Butte, but some moved into the Bitteroot Valley, and then into Salmon, Idaho, and some went on to the Okanogan Valley in Washington State. 


Not long after their arrival in Butte, Fanny and Reuben had one more child:


5.  Harvey Geery                            b.  25 May 1876


Not everyone in these boom towns was a miner.  In time, Reuben did stake a claim on some land and tried to check the creek-beds for ore, but with little success.  His main job was to “freight” the ore.  He had a good team of horses and a heavy wagon and could haul ore from the mines (in Butte) to the smelter at the railroad head (in Anaconda).  This paid well and was safer work.  Additionally, Reuben purchased a far to the town residents. 


Reuben’s mining efforts didn’t pay off too well, and his farm, although pretty, didn’t provide all that much either, but his freighting job supplied his family with their basic needs.  With that being the case, he moved their residence from their Browns Gulch farm to the town of Rocker, about four miles west of Butte, where it was more convenient for him to spend time with his family. This new place was on the road between Butte and Anaconda.  Here the family remained for the rest of Reuben’s life.  He died there on 5 Apr 1918 and lies buried in the Butte City Cemetery on the southeast corner of town. 


After his death, Fanny went to live primarily with her married daughter, Mildred Geery Travers, who had married Reuben Travers on 6 Jan 1892.  They had a cattle ranch east of Buxton, Montana, (about ten miles south of Rocker, and very near the continental divide, over against the side of the valley and up against some tall, cold mountains.  Here she stayed until her death on 26 May 1931, and she was buried next to her husband in Butte. 



Cora Bell Geery--


The second daughter, and third child of Reuben and Fanny Geery was Cora Bell, born 30 Mar 1869 in Pike County, MO.  She was only about 3-5 years old when the family packed up, leaving her grandparents and rode the train all the way to Anaconda, Montana.  This new home must have seemed cold and austere, especially when winter came. 


Cora grew up in a loving home where she was very close to her parents and siblings, but most especially to her only sister, Mildred.  They were more like twins than just normal sisters, and living a ways from town, in Browns Gulch, they had few other friends, outside of their siblings. 


The “boom” in Butte lasted a lot longer than most mining towns.  It continued in its hay-day from the 1870’s until the end of World War I, in 1918, with some mining endeavors still being pursued there yet today.  It was said that the proceeds from the Barkley Pit in Butte financed the entire American expense of World War I.  With such prosperity, Butte, around the turn of the century, was the second largest city west of the Mississippi, behind only Los Angeles.  With that being the case, it afforded a lot of “city” opportunities to the local residents that other westerners didn’t have.  But, it also had lots of problems associated with the quality of people that were drawn to these kinds of wealthy towns. 


Sometime between 1881-84 a small group of people arrived from Vankleek Hill, Ontario, Canada.  This was part of a Fitzpatrick family, with William Fitzpatrick, his bride, his sister, Jane and her husband, and a single brother, James Fitzpatrick.  They had come a long way in hopes of finding a better living for themselves and their families.  They too soon learned that there were better ways of making money other than crawling down deep in the earth where many men died young.  James began freighting ore, like Reuben, and they became acquainted.  Soon, perhaps at Reuben’s suggestion, James bought a small farm in Browns Gulch near Reuben’s and Jane Fitzpatrick and her husband 2nd husband, Thomas Brazell, bought another one near by.  William Fitzpatrick lived in the city of Butte for a time, but eventually, he bought Reuben Geery’s farm in Browns Gulch to be near his brother and sister. 


It wasn’t long before big, tall Jim Fitzpatrick noticed the pretty Cora Bell Geery, and he began to court her.  By 1881, the population of Butte, was so large that they no longer wanted to be a part of Deer Lodge County.  The state Legislature separate the southern section creating Silver Bow County. 


For her 17th birthday in 1886, Fanny Waddle Geery gave her daughter Cora an autograph book.  And, somewhat typical of a young teenage girl, she entered her own thoughts in it the following day:


    “Cora is my name

    Single is my station

    Happy be the little man

    That makes the alteration


    Mar. the 31, 1886         Cora B. Geery”


But it was not a little man who was interested in her.  Jim Fitzpatrick stood about six feet, four or five inches, and he had taken a real fancy to her.  She let him sign her book, and he wrote:


    “Don’t forget me when you’re happy

    Keep for me a little spot.

    In the depths of your affection

    Plant me a sweet forget-me-not.


    Your friend, Jim Fitzpatrick.  May the 6th/86    Browns Gulch, Montana”


Jim already had his eye on this beauty and it soon was obvious to those around them.   Two more entries in her autograph book are given below:


    “Oh blessed vision, happy child

    Thou are so exquisitely wild,

    I think of thee with many fears

    For what may be they lot in future years.


    January the 18, ’87        R. R. Geery”    (her father)


The thoughts of a loving and kindly father, who could see the hand writing on the wall and knew he would soon be giving his daughter away to another man.  Cora’s mother, Fanny Geery, added these words to her growing daughter:


    “To C. G.    February the 18, 1887

   

    Tis not beauty that we prize

    Like a summer flower it dies,

    But humility will last

    Fair and sweet when beauty’s past.


    From your mother,     Mrs. R. G.”


And one additional entry from her very close sister, Mildred:


    “Jan. the 19th, 1887


    To my dear Sister, the only one, Cora,


    If we ever have to part

    And you I cannot see,

    It will cheer my lonely heart

    If you will think of me.


    From your only Sister,     Millie Geery.”


Jim Fitzpatrick’s and Cora Bell Geery’s wedding was recorded in the new county courthouse located in Butte.  They were married there on 4 Aug 1887. 


Their first home was in Browns Gulch, near their families.  Here their first two children were born.  But it was not long before the two brothers, Jim and William Fitzpatrick, heard of better opportunities in a small community of Columbia Falls, MT located north of Flathead Lake in the northwestern part of the state.  They soon packed their belongings and were off to their new destination.  Here they each bought a farm.  Jim’s farm was well situated in the valley very near the beautiful Mission Mountain Range with cleared, level farming ground and a creek running through his property.  His family grew up with a love for hunting and fishing and there was plenty of fish and game in the immediate area.  While here, their family grew with the addition of five more children, added to the first two:


1  Robert George Fitzpatrick               b.    9  Jul 1888

2  John James Fitzpatrick                     b.  26 Nov 1890

3  Pearl Belle Fitzpatrick                       b.  23 Sep 1891

4  Myrtle Frances Fitzpatrick               b.  27 Nov 1892

5  Frederick Henry Fitzpatrick            b.  18 Sep 1896

6  Cora Fitzpatrick                                   b.   9 Sep 1899

7  Mildred Fitzpatrick                              b.   9 Sep 1899   


The last two were twins, which were named after their mother, and her dear sister, who she sadly left behind near Butte. 


Cora Geery Fitzpatrick, and her family were very happy in their Montana home, even though she was separated from the rest of her Geery siblings.  In 1906, she started feeling ill and it seemed to only get worse.  In her personal daily journal, while her husband was away on business, she recorded sadly, “I’m so lonely, I’m so lonely, and I hurt so badly.” 


Soon the family doctor diagnosed her with colon cancer, and there was not much that could be done to help her.  Cora passed away in Columbia Falls, MT on 8 Aug. 1907 and was buried in a family plot in the Fairview Cemetery just a few miles southwest of town.  She was only 38 years old at the time of her passing.  She left her children, ranging in ages from 19 down to the 7 year old twins.  Her parents, Reuben and Fanny were still living in Rocker and their heats must have ached to know of her pain and suffering.  Her loving husband was crushed and in a state of despair for a long time before he was again able to move on with his life and the care of his family. 


Cora’s daughter Myrtle, at this time, quietly wrote the following, which she shared with her sister Pearl, only many years later: 


“A precious one from us is gone.

A voice we loved is stilled.

A place is vacant in our home

Which never can be filled.

We loved her.  Yes, we loved her.

But the angels loved her more.

And they have sweetly called her

To yonder shore.


Myrtle Fitzpatrick


A piece I wrote of our precious mother during my loneliness.”





John Geery Bible

Record of Births

Left column is for John (himself), his first wife, Elizabeth Guthrie, and his mother Catherine Houts.  2nd column is for his first five children.  Our ancestor was Robert Geery, second son.





John Geery Bible

Page of births and deaths

Left column has the birth of his youngest (6th) child, John G. B. Geery and a close friend

Right column has: His Mother, Catherine Houts Geery (entered twice) followed by his Father’s second wife, Hannah, and ending with his father, William Geery.




John Geery Bible

Death record page

Left Column: Oldest son, William (died at age 10), followed by the deaths of his first three wives, each named “Elizabeth”

Right Column:  John Geery’s own death record (written by someone else’s hand)

followed by the record of the death of his daughter Mary “Polly” Geery Copelin wife of John Copelin.





John Geery’s Bible

Marriage page

Left column:  the four marriages of John Geery

Right column:  Marriage of his parents: William Geery and Catherine Houts







Log cabin of John Geery (later owned by his son, John G. B. Geery)

later the frame roof and exterior were added.

Located in southern Ralls Co., MO, just next to the North Pike Co. Line.

Photo take in 2003.






Robert Geery

(old tin-type photo, taken about 1860 in Pike Co., MO)






Sally Parks Geery

(Old tin-type photo taken about 1860 in Pike Co., MO)







Lucy Frances “Fanny” Waddle Geery

about age 18 in Pike Co., MO






Rueben R. Geery

about the time of his marriage in Pike Co., MO






Rueben R. Geery and Lucy Frances “Fanny” Waddle Geery

in Butte Montana in middle age.




Rueben  R. & Lucy F. Geery

in later years







Ruben R. Geery (on right) panning for gold on his mining claim near Butte, MT. 

Man on the left is unknown, but may be one of his three sons. 






Lucy Frances “Fanny” Waddle Geery




Cora Bell Geery

in Butte, MT








Cora Bell Geery








Geery sisters in their teens in Butte, MT

Cora (left) and Mildred (right)








Cora Bell Geery

at about the time of her marriage to James J. Fitzpatrick