ACROSS THE FAMILIES – 1831 to 1840

dogwood blossom

In 1831, a vote to incorporate the town of Equality, Illinois was held. It was ordered that Leonard White, James Caldwell & John Siddall be appointed a committee to draft an ordinance to suppress retailing spirituous liquors on the Sabbath day also to prevent shooting, and running horses in the streets within the bounds of Said Town and to prevent indecent exhibitions of horses within the bounds of Such Town. Ordered meeting adjourned until Friday 15th inst. A. Redman, clerk, Willis Hargrave, President

John Barton Hargrave, 28 y/o son of Hezekiah and Susannah, and his wife Elizabeth Day Hargrave appear to have filed for divorce in 1831 in Warrick County IN.  Their daughter Isabella’s birth is variously stated as 1832 or 1834. It could be the divorce was filed but John and Elizabeth reconciled. It is interesting to note that John did not remarry until 1846 after Elizabeth’s death.

 Black Hawk’s War happened: After the War of 1812, whites settling the Illinois country exerted pressure on the Native Americans. A treaty of 1804, which had no real claim to validity, provided for removal of the Sac and Fox to an area west of the Mississippi. Black Hawk who was born in the Sac village near the site of present Rock Island, Ill., and who had fought for the British in the War of 1812, denounced the treaty and resisted removal. Years of intermittent skirmishing followed. In 1831 the whites used force to impose a new treaty that compelled the Native Americans to retire from their lands. In Apr., 1832, Black Hawk, with some 400 braves and their families, returned to Illinois.  Not receiving the support he expected, he admitted defeat, but when one of the peaceful emissaries he sent was shot down in cold blood, the outraged Black Hawk successfully attacked a larger white force. Several battles took place. The last battle of Black Hawk’s War took place on the Bad Axe River, where Black Hawk was attacked by militia troops and a Sioux war party. Trapped, he displayed a white flag, but this was ignored and almost all of his band, including women and children, were wiped out.

Black Hawk’s War lent energy to the American policy of Indian removal, in which Native American tribes were pressured to sell their lands and move west of the Mississippi River. (Google: Black Hawk’s War)

The old war hawk, Willis Hargrave, 62 years old by then served in Black Hawk’s War as a colonel from Gallatin County, Illinois.

Jeremiah Hargrave, 42 y/o son of Samuel and Elizabeth Martha Tiney Hargrave, served as a private with J Clark’s Company out of Wayne County Illinois.

Lee Hargrave, 30 y/o son of Willis and Jane Brown Hargrave, served in Black Hawk’s War from Gallatin County, Illinois.

Samuel Hargrave, 42 y/o son of Willis and Jane Brown Hargrave, served in Black Hawk’s War as a private with Thomas’ Company out of White Co Illinois.

Richard Sessions, 33 y/o son of Solomon and Mary Hargrave Sessions – served with the 30th regiment of the 1st brigade of Illinois mounted volunteers in the Black Hawk War

Daniel Alexander Sessions, 4 year old son of Richard and Lucretia Haws Sessions was christened in the Mormon Church in 1833. This is the first mention of the Sessions family affiliation with LDS..

John Robert Hargrave, age 79, died on Oct 30 1834 in Union County Illinois and was buried at Anna Cemetery. He was the 4th of the 7 siblings to pass away. Willis, Samuel and Mary remained.

 Phillip Hargrave, 35 year old husband of Nancy Husk(e)y Hargrave son of John Robert and Katherine, died ca 1834 in Union County, Illinois leaving a widow and several young children behind. Thomas Ferrell was named guardian for 4 of Phillip’s children. Because women had very few rights in that day, male guardians were named for children of deceased fathers even though the mothers were still alive and with the children. One can only hope that all the guardians were well intended.

Lucinda McHenry Hargrave, the wife of George B died in Illinois on January 9 1836, thirteen days after the birth of their eighth child. Later that year, he married widow Mahulda Bourland Clark. They produced five children before his death in 1841.

Seth Hargrave, the 35 y/o son of Hezekiah and Susannah, died in May 1836 in Warrick County, Indiana and was buried at Baker Cemetery. His Will was dated April 24 1836 and probated on May 26 1836. His wife, Sarah Leach Hargrave, age 35, died soon afterward, leaving three young daughters orphaned.

Seth and Sarah’s young daughters were fostered within the family. Frances grew up in the household of Hezekiah Harvey and Margaret Gray Hargrave. Jane was fostered by James E and Hannah Sabin Neely Hargrave. It is possible (based on a future event) that Lucinda grew up in the household of William and Alice Melinda Gray.

 The Panic of 1837 was a financial crisis or market correction in the United States built on a speculative fever The end of the Second Bank of the United States had produced a period of runaway inflation, but on May 10, 1837 in New York City, every bank began to accept payment only in gold or silver coinage, forcing a dramatic deflationary backlash. This was based on the assumption by former president, Andrew Jackson, that the government was selling land for state bank notes of questionable value. The Panic was followed by a five-year depression, with the failure of banks and then-record-high unemployment levels. (Wikipedia)

 Martin Van Buren, who became president in March 1837, five weeks before the Panic engulfed the young republic’s economy, was blamed for the Panic. His refusal to involve the government in the economy was said by some to have contributed to the damage and duration of the Panic.

Rachel Hargrave Woods – 15 y/o wife of John Woods and daughter of William and Lettice Campbell Hargrave, died in Warrick Co Indiana in July 1838 following the birth of her child. In 1845, John married another very young Hargrave daughter. The infant daughter survived.

By 1838 several descendants of Solomon and Mary Hargrave Sessions had become members of the Latter Day Saints Church (Mormon) – Some had already moved from the southern Illinois counties to Nauvoo and eventually went on to Utah.

On October 27 1838, the Governor of Missouri signed the Mormon Extermination Order, declaring: “The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated, or driven from the State, if necessary for the public peace.” This military directive forced an exodus from Missouri of about ten thousand men, women and children. In mid-winter, the Mormon families were driven from their farms, homes and lands without compensation of any kind. The vast majority of the Missouri Mormons resettled at Nauvoo in Hancock County, Illinois. For the next seven years, Mormon converts came to Nauvoo. Within a few years, Nauvoo had a population of twenty thousand people. The rapid growth of church membership, the financial success of both members and the Church, the active practice of polygamy and a well-armed militia (the Nauvoo Legion,) fueled the intolerance of non-Mormons. So much for respect for freedom of religion.

Solomon Sessions, the husband of 65 y/o Mary Hargrave Sessions, died ca 1840. His will was proved in Wayne County, Illinois on December 23, 1840.

Sugar Maple Tree

For access to all the articles in this blog series, please go to

Consider DNA testing. The results are fascinating and of increasing importance to our Genealogists.


2 comments on “OUR HARGRAVE FAMILY: 1831-1840

  1. Chad Kemp
    March 14, 2013

    So it seems to me that our family did things..not just sitting around watching history and reaping crops but actually participated in some real American history!
    If I’m correct, wasn’t Black Hawks War in Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee?

    • jnhargrave
      March 15, 2013

      You get it! You get it! That thrills me. I haven’t read Bury My Heart… in 30 years or so, so can’t remember, but it does seem likely that Black Hawk’s war would have been covered. As you know, the American Indian people hold my heart as well. In all those, I am trying to represent them fairly as well.
      Thanks, kiddo.

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