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George W. Whitlock was born on 6 April 1815. On the 1850 census he said that he was born in Virginia, but by the 1880 census, he listed his birthplace as being in Kentucky, with his parents having been born in Virginia. His birthdate is recorded in the Whitlock Family Bible, along with others of his family.
I believe that his father was Robert Whitlock, who was living in Sullivan County, Indiana in 1830. At that time, he had two boys between the ages of ten and fifteen, and also two between the ages of fifteen and twenty. George was fifteen in 1830, so he fits into the family. In 1840, we find George on the census, still in Sullivan County, Indiana, as a married man with a small family consisting of himself, his wife, and two young children.
The same Robert Whitlock who was in Indiana in 1830, was in Simpson County, Kentucky in 1820, when George would have been just five years old. Simpson County was formed in 1819 from Warren County, where Robert was listed on the 1810 census for the area. Robert Whitlock had a large family that included five sons. In 1820, three of them were under the age of ten, as was George. Based on these findings, it is fairly safe to assume that George W. Whitlock was born in Warren County, Kentucky (A) and that Robert Whitlock was his father.
George's first wife was Nancy Ann, whose maiden name is unknown to us. She is also listed in the Family Bible. She was born on 19 April 1820, so she was five years younger than her husband. She was possibly born in Sullivan County, Indiana (B). They were married on 19 June 1836. and since they were listed on the 1840 census in Sullivan County, that is probably where they were married. He was 21 years old and she was just 16.
George and Nancy Ann had four children. Abiah, a girl, was born on 19 July 1837 in Indiana. Robert Burns was born on 27 September 1839, also in Indiana. They would have been born in Sullivan County. Rossea was born on 1 October 1841. On the 1880 census she listed Indiana as her birthplace, but an earlier census showed Ohio. The youngest daughter, Frances Eastes, was born on 6 September 1843 in Indiana.
Sometime between 1840 and 1846, the family moved to Illinois. While Sullivan County shared its western border with Illinois, this was not a short move, but took them to Canton, 238 miles NW of their Indiana home. On 2 November 1846, Nancy died in Canton, Fulton, Illinois (C), at the age of 26. Her oldest daughter Abiah, who was ten, followed her on 15 March 1847. They were both buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Canton.
George was now a widower with a small family. He married Catherine Hilton on 12 September 1847 in Fulton County, Illinois. Catherine was born on 24 April 1819 in Ohio. Her parents were from Maine. She was 28 years old when she married George and became the mother of his little family. It is easy to imagine that she filled a very important place in their home since Nancy had died so recently. They did not have any children together. We can feel fortunate to have a record of this marriage since the Sullivan County courthouse was burned in 1850, destroying all of the county records.
George was a blacksmith. He must have been successful because his real property was valued at $2000 on the 1850 census. He was living in Canton at the time and remained there through the 1860 census. Longfellow's poem is descriptive of the life of a blacksmith. It was hard work that required strength. Everyone needed a blacksmith from time to time.
The Village Blacksmith
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp, and black, and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate'er he can,
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow,
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.
And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing-floor.
He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his haul, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begin,
Each evening sees it close
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night's repose.
Thanks, thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou hast taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought.
In 1860, the Wellington family was living at nearby Buckheart. also in Fulton County. On 21 July 1867 Frances Eastes, the youngest Whitlock daughter, married Horace Wellington in Fulton County. Soon after, Rossea married Horatio Wellington, Horace's brother, on 23 February 1872. They were married in Schuyler County, Missouri, located in the northern part of that state and west of Fulton County where they lived. No further information has been found on their brother Robert.
By the 1870 census, George and Catherine had moved to Pierce, Texas, Missouri (D). George was 55 at the time and still a blacksmith. On the 1880 census they were still living in Pierce. George listed his occupation as "farmer" on this census, possibly meaning that he was retired from blacksmithing. On the census enumeration, their granddaughter, Pearl Wellington, was living with them or visiting. She was eight years old. George's daughter, Rossea, having been divorced from Horatio, had by that time remarried to Samuel Boucher on 27 May 1877. They were also living there at the time.
George’s grandson, Arthur Boucher, in a letter to Cecil Boucher, his brother Luther’s son, wrote, “G. W. Whitlock used to live with us . . . Never saw any of my grandparents except George W. Whitlock, my grandfather. What became of the big butcher knife Grandfather made to skin buffaloes with during the gold strike in California that he never got to use?” Since Cecil had the knife, it remains with that branch of the family. However, Cecil sent the family Bible to me.