Thanks to Lisa Alzo of Accidental Genealogy for the prompts for Fearless Females in honour of Women’s History Month. Although I didn’t have time to participate in all the prompts, I’ve enjoyed the ones I did. It was a great way to honour our female ancestors, who sometimes are forgotten.
My third great grandmother Letis Ellen Knox was born April 14, 1830 in Jay, Franklin, Maine. She was the daughter of George W. Knox and Clarissa Fuller. I’ll refer to her as Letis, as this is the name on the civil war pension file, although she often went by Ellen. The family moved to Mercer County, Illinois somewhere between 1840 and 1850. In February of 1850 Letis gave birth to a daughter, Lucinda. In the census of 1850, Letis and Lucinda are staying with her parents George and Clarissa. On September 20, 1852 in Keithsburg, Mercer, Illinois, Letis marries John H. Littrell of Iowa. The family bounces back and forth between Dubuque, Iowa and Mercer, Illinois. My second great grandmother, Angeline is born February 28, 1855 in Dubuque, Iowa. By 1860 the family is back in Mercer with their children, Lucinda, Charles, Angeline, William, and Sarah.
During this time period, lives change for many Americans including the Littrells. On November 29, 1861 John H. Littrell enlists in Dubuque, Iowa for the 12” US Infantry of Iowa. Letis is left to care for their young children like so many other mothers. Sadly Letis and the children won’t have a joyous reunion with John at the end of the civil war. On October 11, 1862, John is discharged at Fort Hamilton, New York with a certificate of disability. Shortly after he returns home to Dubuque, Iowa he dies of illness contracted during the war. On November 17, 1862 he passes away. Letis is faced with raising the children on her own, with one more child, Harry.
Letis applies for a widow’s pension at Dubuque, Iowa at the beginning of 1863. After not having heard back from the pension office, she marries December 28, 1867 to Iredill Pate in Mercer, Illinois. Letis and her husband, Iredill bounce between Iowa and Illinois. The last census they show up together is the 1880 census, Letis then returns to the surname of her first husband, Littrell. Letis Littrell appears in the special 1890 veterans schedule in Wahoo, Saunders, Nebraska. Why Nebraska? It would make sense that the William Littrell of the 1880 census living in Wahoo, Saunders, Nebraska is her son. In Saunders, Nebraska, Letis applies for a pension, after not hearing anything since her first application in Dubuque, Iowa in 1863.
By 1900, Letis is found in Chicago, Illinois living with her son (Harry), grandson (John Rodgers), and relative (Ida Knox). Once again, Letis returns to Keithsburg, Mercer, Illinois by 1910 to live with her daughter and son-in-law (Sadie and Henry Highfield). She is with still with them in 1915 in Eliot, Louise, Iowa. After this I’m unsure of what happened to Letis, she now 85 years old. I’m on the hunt for more records.