The Somerville Family
The name SOMMERVILLE or SOMERVILLE, is of local origin and wasprobably taken by its first bearers from a village of that name in Normandy,from which place the family went to England about 1066 A.D. in the train ofWilliam the Conqueror. "The Roll of Battle Abbey A.D. 1066" listsamong the knights in Arms with shields who participated in the Battle ofHastings the name "SOMERVILLE."
The family name is found in ancient English and early Americanrecords in the various forms of Somervail, Somervell, Somenfield, Somerfale,Somervill, Summerville, Summervill, Somervil, Sommervill, Sommerville andothers, of which the last spellings are those most generally used in Americatoday.
Families bearing this name were resident at early dates in theBritish counties of Stafford, Gloucester, Devon, Warwick, Ayr and Lanark. Thesefamilies were, for the most part of the landed gentry and yeomanry of GreatBritain.
According to tradition all of the families of the name in England,Scotland, Ireland and America trace their descent from Sir Gualter (Walter) deSomerville, who was rewarded for his service at the time of the Norman conquestof England, by grants of land at Wick-nor, in Staffordshire, and AstonSomerville, in Gloucestershire.
Over the years, the family spread into Scotland and Ireland. TheScottish and Irish branches of the family appear not to have had much contactwith each other.
One line of the family went to Ireland about the year 1692, in theperson of the Reverend William Somerville, an Episcopal Clergyman of Scotland.He was accompanied by his wife, Agnes, daughter of Sir Patrick Agnew, and hadtwo sons, William and Thomas, of whom the latter became a clergyman and residedin the County of Cork. By his wife, the Widow Anne (nee Neville) Perry, he wasthe father of Thomas, William, Edward, John, James, Agnes, Alice, Elizabeth andJudith. Of the sons of the Reverend Thomas, all but the first settled inAmerica.
A James Somerville came from Ireland to America about 1798. Hebrought with him his wife, Mary Ann Linn, and settled first in Pennsylvania. Helater removed to Louden County, Va. and thence to Ohio. He left ten children;Samuel, Mary Ann, John, Margaret,Floyd, Nancy L., Rebecca, Robert Linn, Azor W,and William Clark.
Other Irish Somerville families also emigrated at about this sametime. A possible origin (not documented) of our branch of the family may be asfollows: One James Simmeral (all or whose descendants used the Som(m)ervilleForm of the name) came from County Cork,
Ireland, to Delaware about 1788 and later settled near Cumberland,MD. He is said to have left two sons, JOHN and ANDREW, in Ireland, but theyafterwards joined the family in the south. James also brought with him fourchildren: James, Nancy, Robert and another daughter, whose name is not certain.(A note regarding the name SIMMERAL: Simmeral was the Gaelic, the languagespoken in Ireland at the time, pronunciation of Somerville.)
JOHN & MARGARET SOMERVILLE
First of our line of Somervilles to arrive in the United States was JohnSomerville.John was born in Ireland in 1776 and came to the United States in 1793 as ayoung man of 17. In 1798, he married Margaret Wilson. There is some Question asto the birth place of Margaret Wilson. William Somerville, a son, states thathis mother was born in Scotland. (Page 1041, History of Olmsted County, MN.)However, the U. S. census of 1850 for Ripley County, Indiana (Adams Twp.) givesher birthplace as Maryland. Census records are generally accepted as accurate,so it may be that she was born in Maryland of parents who came from Scotland.
*Stories told by a great grandson of John Somerville tell of the persecutionhis family endured before leaving for America. The Somervilles were ofProtestant faith living in Catholic Ireland. They told of their barn beingburned and cattle killed (poisoned) as well as many other persecutions at thehands of hateful Catholic individuals in the community.
John and Margaret settled led in Beaver County, Pennsylvania (westof Pittsburgh). The following children were born to them: John, Jr. (1803),Nancy S. (1804), Margaret (1810), Rachel (1812), Thomas Wilson (1814), William (11/05/1819);and Andrew Elliott (07/29/1822).
The family later moved to Ripley County, Indiana. The 1840 U.S.census shows John, Jr. and William Somerville already living in Indiana. The1850 U. S. census indicates the entire family was living in Ripley County,Indiana.
The date of death of John Somerville is uncertain. According torecords of the director of Division of Vital Statistics of Ripley County, Ind.,the "Estate of John Somerville was filed October 1, 1849 in Ripley County,and named as widow "Margaret". However, the 1850 census of RipleyCounty (83-83) lists John Somerville and Margaret as living and both age 74.His death must have occurred at about that time, however because Probate 0rderBook 1:77 for Ripley County, Indiana, dated 27 October 1853 states:
"John Somerville Estate"
Thomas W. Somerville, Administrator
Comes said Administrator, files his report (Here insert) and tendershis resignation which report being seen by the Court is approved, and the courthereby accepts said administrator's resignation."
Margaret Somerville survived her husband by a number of years. The1860 census of Ripley County lists:
396-389 Harry Osborn 29
Martha Osborn 23
15 Margaret Somerville 89
Margaret Somerville would, in fact, have been age 84 at this time,but she apparently was living with a younger couple who may not have known hercorrect age, or like some older people she might have added a few years. Thisis the last appearance of Margaret Somerville on census records.
By the late 1850's, most of the family of John and MargaretSomerville had married and some had moved west.
John, Jr. moved to Helena Twp, Scott County, MN. and later toMontana. (No record of marriage.)
Nancy S. married a Robert Johnson
Margaret married George Clark
Rachel married a man whose surname was Cheney, but first noneunknown
Thomas W. married Sarah McCleary
William J. married Rachel Caroline Cunningham
Andrew Elliott married Phoebe Jane Cunningham.
At this point, we shall follow only William J. and Andrew Elliott,who married sisters, daughters of Robert and Rachel Dart Cunningham.
ROBERT CUNNINGHAM &RACHEL DART
Robert Cunningham was born in Abbeville County, South Carolina May4, 1797, and removed with parents to Hamilton County, Indiana, in 1810; thenceto Dearborn County of the same state in 1813; married in 1819; purchasedgovernment land in Ripley County, Ind. remained there 40 years. He owned 500acres of land there, but sold out and came to Viola Twp., Olmsted County, MN.in 1861. He had sent his son, Robert F. Cunningham ahead in 1860 to purchaseland for him. The 1867 plat of Viola Township shows that he owned four separatetracts totaling over 600 acres.
RACHEL DART was born October 2, 1802 in Garret County, Maryland.Garret County is the west-most county in Maryland in the ‘panhandle’ extendingwest under Pennsylvania. She and ROBERT Cunningham were married in 1819 and hada large family with several children dying young in a childhood diseaseepidemic, probably diphtheria.
The children were:
Martha (Mrs. Robert Chapman) Born 1820
Phoebe Jane (Mrs. Andrew Elliott Somerville ) Born 1826
Robert F. (Melinda Spradling, b. 1830) Born 1828
Rachel C. (Mrs. Wm. Somerville) Born 1828
Wm. J. W. Born 1831
Amos D. Born 1833
Mary E. (Mrs. L. H. Golding) Born 1843
Those who died as children were: Delilah (b. 1836), Rebecca (1839),George B. (1841)
Richard H. (1842), Edward F. (1844) and Eliza Ann (1847).
Wm. J. and Amos D. Cunningham were "circuit ridingministers" under the Methodist Conference. Amos D. later filled severalprofessors chairs in various institutions of learning and was at one timepresident of South Bend, Indiana College. The Chapmans moved to Brown County. TheGoldings owned a farm directly south of the Oak Mill Cemetery in ViolaTownship, Olmsted County, MN. Robert F. Cunningham owned a farm abutting on andnorthwest of the Oak Hill Cemetery. The Goldings and Robert F. Cunningham areburied in the Oak Hill Cemetery.
Quoting from the obituary of Robert Cunningham as it appeared in theRochester (MN.) Union May 14, 1886:
"Robert Cunningham died in the town of Viola, Olmsted County,MN. April 30, 1886 after a brief illness aged about 98 years.
"About the time of their marriage, they were converted and everafter remained faithful servants of God. For many years their home was a placeof public worship as well as the itinerant's resting place.
"More than sixty-six years, they served their God together whenlast July 7 (1885), Mother Cunningham passed away, after a long and painfulillness, leaving her aged husband to finish his course alone, yet not alone, ashe often said, for "God was with him at all times." Withconscientious punctuality he maintained the family alter, allowing nothing butsevere sickness to permit it to be deferred for a single day.
"He was stricken down with paralysis and seemed unconsciousfrom that hour and in about five days passed away. He was buried on Sunday, May2, 1886 in the Oak Mill Cemetery near Viola, MN."
Quoting from the obituary of Rachel Dart Cunningham (Mrs. Robert) asit appears in the Rochester, MN. Post July 18, 1885:
"Died Cunningham, July 7, (1885) as her home in Viola. RachelCunningham, wife of Robert Cunningham, in her eighty-third year.
"Grandma, as she was always called, was born in Garret County,Maryland, October 20, 1802 Her maiden name was Dart. In her early life, herparents moved to Indiana, then a territory and settled in Dearborn County,where she was married to her now bereaved husband, having lived in thatrelationship more than sixty-six years.
In early life, she with her husband, sought and found ‘peace withGod’, and at once connected themselves with the M. E. Church, which has beentheir home ever since. They at once threw open their doors to the itinerantpreacher and for many years their home was the only church in the community.
"Grandma lived to raise a large family, seven of whom grew tobe men and women, three son and four daughters. Of the sons, two of them, A. D.and W. G. W. Cunningham, have passed on before. Both of whom died in theministry and at one time belonged to the Minnesota Conference. The remainingson, R. F. Cunningham lives in Viola. Of the daughters, three of whom, Mrs. Goldingand the Mrs. Somerville's, reside in Viola, and the oldest daughter, Mrs.Chapman, lived in Brown County, MN. At her death she had thirty-sixgrand-children and sixty-eight great grandchildren living.
"In the earlier part of her sickness she had her arrangement smade expected that soon she would depart and frequently spoke of her hopes of abetter life to come -- seemed to realize it would be her last sickness. She wasnot permitted to have her mind in the last hours, but as long as she did it wasall bright for the future.
"Her funeral was attended by Rev. M. 0. McNiff and her pastor,Re., W. I. Hackett, and a vast concourse of neighbors and friends. Thus passedaway a wife and mother full of years and good works. Our loss is doubtless hereternal gain"
The Olmsted County (MN) History, page 1051. states: "RobertCunningham is one of the wealthiest farmers in Viola. "Yet little of thiswealth passed on to his children as the result of a family "WILL"dispute which drained many of the assets of the Estate. The following articleappears in the February 4, 1887 issue of the Rochester Record and Union:
"In 1887, Robert Cunningham, senior, of Viola, made his lastWill, and left it for safe keeping with the probate judge in Rochester, By ithe left his property to his wife for life, with the remainder over to his twosons, but his wife and one son died before he did, and in 1884 he made a newWill, and left it for safe keeping with C. S. Andrews of Eyota. By the lastwill he gave his property to the surviving son, R. F. Cunningham, and his fourdaughters, Mrs. Wm. Somerville, Mrs. A. E. Somerville, Mrs. Chapman and Mrs.Golding.
He had a farm in Viola of 280 acres and considerable personalestate. He was 87 years old, but of vigorous constitution. In January, 1885, hewas somewhat exposed going home in a storm, and took cold, and was quite illfor some time, and seems to have lost a measure of his mental capabilities. InJune following, his son took him to Eyota and he burned the second will. Hedied in April, 1886, and the son presented the first will for probate. The fourdaughters opposed, claiming the first will was revoked by the making of thesecond, and that the second will was still in force, because he was incapableof doing business when he destroyed it. The probate court over-ruled theseobjections and in July last, committed the first will to probate.
The daughters appealed to the district court, where the decision ofthe probate court was reversed and the old will was held to be revoked by thesecond will, that the second will was not revoked by its destruction, and thatthe old man was incompetent to do business when he destroyed it. We suppose theprobate court can now take proof of the terms and contents of the second will,and establish it as the will of the deceased, although it had beendestroyed."
The Next Generation
William Somerville, son of John and Margaret Somerville, was born inBeaver County, PA. Nov. 15, 1819. He removed to Indiana in 1835 and marriedRachel C. Cunningham, daughter Robert Cunningham and Rachel Dart Cunningham,October 6, 18/2, He took an active part in the organization of the RepublicanParty; in 1856 he was put on the "stump" to meet all opposition inthe fourth congress district of Indiana. He came to Viola in May,
1860 and took an active part in town meetings during the time of theCivil War. He served as chairman of the supervisors three years and was electedto the 13th Legislature of the State of Minnesota in 1871 representing District12. His father came from Ireland to America in 1793, and in 1798 marriedMargaret Wilson, who was born in Scotland in 1775. Mr. Somerville is ahouse-carpenter by trade, but has engaged in farming most of the time since hismarriage; owned more than 200 acres of land with a good set of farm buildingsand a fine orchard of apple trees. He has devoted much time ornamentation ofhis grounds by setting out hedges and evergreens.
(Olmsted County history). William. Somerville died Oct. 21, 1918 andis buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery, Viola Township.
ANDREW ELLIOTT SOMERVILLE youngest son of John and MargaretSomerville, was born in Beaver County, PA. July 29, 1822, He came to Indiana atthe age of 13, and was married to Phoebe Jane Cunningham July 10, 1845, movingto Minnesota in May 1860. The family came by boat on the Ohio-MississippiRivers, landing at Reads Landing, in Wabasha County, MN.
The family moved overland to Jefferson Township, Winona County (nowNorton Twp.) where they appear in the 1860 census. Between the census date (June1860) and winter of that year they moved to Viola Township, where they lived ona farm in Section 26 owned by Phoebe Jane's father, Robert Cunningham. AndrewElliot was a self-taught "Horse Farrier and Surgeon", and made hisliving both as a "horse doctor and farmer." In those days,veterinarians received little in cash fees, so they often received a pig orcalf, etc. for professional services which they raised to market weight andsold. The farm on which the A. E. Somervilles lived is located about one mileeast of the Oak Hill Cemetery and adjoins a farm owned by his brother, William.Somerville. Both farms are in Viola township.
ANDREWELLIOTT and PHOEBE JANE started their family while still living in Ripleycounty, Indiana. Born there were Rosetta (07/21/1850), Amor (1/15/1852), RobertJohn 3/21/1853, Ledyard C. (8/14/55), Emily Jane (Emma)(4/15/57), Mary C.(1/25/59). First of the children born in Viola Township, Olmsted County, MN.was WILLIAM ELLIOTT (12/24/60), followed by Charles Oliver (3/12/64), andBenjamin Franklin (6/18/66). The 1880 census for Brown County shows that mostof the family had moved to rural Sleepy Eye, MN. (Albin Township, BrownCounty), by the date of that census.
In 1884, Andrew Elliott published a horse doctoring book called"A TREATISE ON THE HORSE AND HIS DISEASES." It was published by A. E.Somerville, Horse Farrier and Surgeon, and printed and bound at the New UlmSteam Printing Office, New Ulm, MN.
The children of the A. E. Somerville's married and settled inseveral different locations.
Rosetta married Wilbur Turner and lived in Chatfield, MN.
Amor D. died at 13 months and is buried in a small cemetery 1.5miles east of Penntown, Indiana (Ripley County).
Robert John married Martha Upson. He had moved to Brown County, MN.by ox cart in 1867, later to rural Kandiyohi County, MN.
Ledyard married Ella Lent, moving to Brown County, Kandiyohi (Chippewa)County, and later to the Vulcan, Alberta, Canada area.
Emily Jane (Emma) married Abram Mulholland and made her home inViola. She and her husband are buried in the Viola Cemetery (Oak Hill)
Mary C. married Jacob Duncan and made her home in Sleepy Eye, MN.Their home was in the west part of Sleepy Eye in an area now occupied by theright-of-way of Minnesota Truck Highway 4.
WILLIAM ELLIOTT married AGNES NAY WIGGIN, and later, following her-death, MARY (Maria) MUECKL.
Charles Oliver moved to Brown County, later to the Bowbells, N.D.area.
Benjamin Franklin moved to Brown County, married Cora Davis, latermoved to British Columbia, Canada.
The Movements of Andrew Elliott Somerville
Andrew Elliott Somerville was born in Beaver County, PA. July 29,1822. His obituary in the Rochester (MN.) Union states he moved to Indiana atthe age of 13 (1835), and was married to Phoebe Jane Cunningham July 10, 1845.The 1850 U. S. Census of Ripley County, Indicates on 432 Roll 69 that he andhis wife and children; Rosette (3 months), Robert E. Chapman (age 8, a nephewof Phoebe Jane Somerville) and John Shields (25) a laborer from SWITZERLAND(page 539) lived as a family unit in Adams Township., Ripley County, Indiana.
(Family 83-83 was his parents, John and Margaret Somerville). Thiscensus was taken as of 26 August 1850.
The A. F. Somerville family moved to Minnesota in May 1860 Otherrelated families moved to Minnesota about the same time. The 1860 census (takenearly June 1860), shows the Andrew F. Somerville family living in JeffersonTownship (now Norton Township.), Winona County (page 26). Between the Junecensus date and later in the summer, the family moved to Viola Township,Olmsted County, MN.
The 1870 U. S. Census shows that the A. F. Somerville family stilllived in Viola Township , Olmsted County. Listed in that census were: A. E. andP. J. Somerville, age 47 & 44, R. J. (17), L.C. (14), E. J. (13), M.C.(11), W. E (9) and 0. (6). The three latter are shown as being in "school"
By 1880, the A. F. Somerville family had moved to Brown County. The1880 census for Albin Township, Brown County, MN. (Family 25) lists A. E.Somerville (57), Phoebe J. (54), Oliver C. (16) and Benjamin (13). So by 1880the family was living in rural Sleepy Eye, MN. Albin Township is in thesouthern-most tier of Brown County and is directly south of the City of SleepyEye. Several of the children of A. E. Somerville also lived in Albin Townshipat that time.
While the 1880 census shows the A. E. Somerville family living inBrown County, they apparently had returned to Viola Township in Olmsted Countya few years later. In 1884 when be published his book on horse diseases andtreatment, the booklet was printed in New Ulm, County seat of Brown County.
By 1885, he had evidently moved back to Viola. A special Minnesotacensus was taken in 1885 - Minnesota Archives Roll 22, enumerated 18 May 1885,lists these families as living in Albin Township:
No. 68 Charles 0. Somerville (21), Eliza L. (19), Alice N., (1), andAndrew B. (0).
No. 67 L. C. Somerville (29), Ella (25), Nettle M. (4), Milo (2) andDell (1).
No. 58 Wm. E. Somerville (24), Agnes Mae (24), Earl (3), Mark 1,Mark Wiggins (62) and Eva Mae Wiggins (15).
No. 62 R. J. Somerville (31), Martha J. (25), Jay (5), Lewis (4),and Eddie (1).
Note that A. E. Somerville is not listed, so he had moved back toViola by this census. Also the obituary of Robert Cunningham, hisfather-in-law, dated April 30, 1886, lists his daughter, Phoebe Jane(Cunningham) Somerville (Mrs. A. E.) as being a resident of Viola Township.
The obituary of A. E. Somerville, as it appears in the Rochester(MN.) Union and Record, Nov. 6, 1896, is as follows:
"Mr. A. E. Somerville passed away Sunday morning (Nov. 1, 1896)after being ill quite a number of weeks. Mr. Somerville was born in BeaverCounty, PA., July 29, 1822, came to Indiana at age 13, and was married toPhoebe Jane Cunningham July 10,1845, moving to Minnesota in 1860. Nine childrenwere born to them, six boys and three girls. Seven children are still living,thirty-eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
"Mr. Somerville was the youngest of eight children of whom onlyone survives. He leaves a wife and seven children of whom three were down fromBrown County to attend the funeral which was held Nov. 3 in the town hall, Rev.Miller officiating. The family have the sympathy of the entire community.
"Mr. Dugan of Eyota, came to the home of Mr. A. E. Somervilleone day last week and brought one of his little boys with him, and left him inthe buggy while he went into the house to care for Mr. A. E. Somerville. Duringthis time the little boy got out of the buggy to play with the youngest childof Mr. and Mrs. Abram Mulholland. A large dog, which belonged to Mr.Somerville, went out where the children were playing. The doctors boy began topat the dog, and the dog did not pay much attention to him, when a few momentslater a little dog came out where they were, and it being so small it attractedthe little boy's attention and he went to take it up when the large dog grabbedhim in the face and shook him quite a while before anyone knew anything waswrong. Mr. Ledge Somerville was in the well house and hearing strange soundsstepped out to see what was the matter. He was a long time getting the boy awayfrom the dog. The boy was quite badly bitten, and if there had been no onearound the boy would have been killed. The dog was killed soon after."
A. E. Somerville is buried in the Oak Hill Cemetery, Viola Township.
It is interesting to note that A. E. SOMERVILL never used the finalE on his surname, and it so appears on his grave marker. He was a tall man,well over six foot. His wife, Phoebe Jane was short in stature. It is said thatshe could easily stand under his out stretched arm.
His widow, Phoebe Jane Somerville, later moved back to Sleepy Eyewhere she bought a small house with a large garden area. My mother, BirdieSomerville Hanks recalls visiting her grandmother in Sleepy Eye while teachingschool. This would have been in the 1906-12 period. Her grandmother was veryupset because a hail storm destroyed her garden, and she said, "What willI have to eat this winter?" My aunt, Mrs. Viola Bond received a card fromher grandmother, Phoebe Jane, in 1910 post-marked at Sleepy Eye. Phoebe Janelived in Sleepy Eye until her death on June 30, 1913 after which she wasbrought back to Viola Township for burial in the Oak Hill Cemetery beside herhusband, Andrew Elliott Somerville.
The Next Generation
WilliamElliott Somerville, son of Andrew Elliott and Phoebe Jane (Cunningham)Somerville, was born in Viola Township, Olmsted County, Minnesota on Dec. 24,1860. He died on March 17, 1925 at Willmar, MN. and buried in Fairview Cemetery,Willmar March 20, 1925. He suffered from a strangulated hernia and died ofcomplications.
William lived in Olmsted County until 1874 when he moved to AlbinTownship, Brown County, and operated a farm owned by Mark Wiggin, whosedaughter, Agnes Mae he married on March 20, 1881 at Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. Shewas born Jan. 24, 1861 Island Pond, VT., the daughter of Mark Wiggin ofHethuen, Mass. and Eliza Jane Mansur of Island Pond, VT. She left Vermont atage 12 (1873) and moved with her family to Brown County, Minnesota.
She had two sisters, Gertrude (Mrs. Orville Lent), and Evelyn (Evie)(Mrs. John Woolleys of Lamberton, MN.
Fourchildren were born to William and Agnes May: Earl (b. Feb. 9. 1882), MarkWiggin (b. May 26, 1883), Lee Lot (b. Dec. 7, 1885) and Birdie Glen (b. March12,1889). Agnes May was a quiet person, very good natured and a hardworker, but not strong and bothered with throat trouble, also catarrh. Sheeventually developed tuberculosis. She was a very religious person and her lastwords to those at her bedside were, "Can't you hear the church bellsringing?" While Agnes May was ill, and to care for the four youngchildren, William hired a recent immigrant from Germany, Maria Ann (Mary)Mueckl , a sister of his farm neighbor, Mrs. Carl (Lena) Manderfeld.
Mary stayed at the home until the death of Agnes (Feb.13, 1890).Following his wife's death, William cared for the three young boys, but askedhis sister, Mary (Mrs. Jacob Duncan) of Sleepy Eye to care for 11-month oldBirdie. After a few weeks, Jake and Mary Duncan wanted to adopt Birdie, butWilliam would not hear of it. He wanted to keep the family together, so heasked Mary Mueckl if she would come back to care for the home and the children.She did. Later that year, Sept. 14, 1890, William and Mary were united inmarriage. After his re-marriage, William called his boys together and said,"Your mother is in heaven. I have a new wife and I want you to call her'MOTHER', "which they did with love and respect all of their lives. Marywas a real mother to Agnes May's four children, as much so as she was to thechildren which she and William had later.
William and Mary Ann Mueckl were married on Sept.14, 1890 at SleepyEye, MN. She was the daughter of Maxamilian Mueckl and Kresentia Hoffman. Shewas born March 13, 1868 at Zenching, Bavaria, Germany. She attended commonschools; was an excellent student, and had she stayed in Germany, her teachers wereeager for her to go on to higher levels, which very few persons (women) did,then. When she was only 14, she cared for her mother who had"dropsy". She wanted no one but Mary to care for her.
Mary then went to a nearby town and became an apprentice to learncooking at a hotel. She was from a line of school teachers.
She was an immigrant to America in 1888 and to Sleepy Eye on March13, 1888. She was of Catholic background. She had a brother Maxamilian Muecki,who lived in Sleepy Eye and raised a family. He was a carpenter. Her sister,Lena, married Carl Manderfeld, a school teacher and later Clerk of Court for 35years in Brown County New Ulm, MN.) They had a daughter, Viola, a graduate ofColumbia University, and holding a master's degree. She taught at first in theLaboratory School of The University of Chicago, then became an associateprofessor in the German Department of the University proper. The Manderfeldsalso a son, Emanuel who had a master's degree from the University of Minnesota,worked as an electrical engineer in laboratories of RCA in New York and laterCalifornia.
Cecelia Muecki, Mary's other sister never married. She worked forher entire life as a professional cook in wealthy families, primarily inCincinnati. It was from her estate that Mary's children, and children of RaySomerville inherited small amounts of money when she died. She spent her lastyears in the St. Alexander Home in New Ulm, MN.
Seven children were born to the union of William and Mary: EmmaCecelia (b. 4/18/1891), Max William (b. 12/9/1893), Alexander Ray (b. 6/4/1895- died 11/5/1895), Esther Caroline (b. 9/17/1896), Isabel Ruth (10/1/1898), RayAlexander (b. 8/6/1904) and Viola Daisy (b. 3/22/1907).
William and Mary continued to live on Albin Township farm for ashort time after their marriage, but William soon purchased a 160 Acre farm ofhis own in home Township, Brown County, MN. which is northeast of the City ofSleepy Eye.
In 1898, William sold the Brown County farm and bought a 320 Acre.farm in Woods Twp.,Chippewa County, MN. He received enough from the sale of theBrown County farm to pay for the Chippewa County farm and have enough left overto build a new house and barn. In moving from Brown County to Chippewa County,William shipped the furniture, machinery and livestock by railroad. The twocider boys, Earl and Mark, rode in the box car to feed and water the livestockand look after the other items. The rest of the family drove overland by buggyand wagon. It was a two day trip. The first day, they drove until lateafternoon. They stopped at a likely looking farmstead where the farm familytook them all in to bed and board for the night.
There were no improvements on the Chippewa County farm except for alarge granary which the family lived in until the new house was built. Thehouse was built under the supervision of Max Mueckl, Mary's brother. Williampaid his brother-in-law as head carpenter $2.50 per day and helpers $1.75 perday. The house cost approximately $1,000.
In 1904, William, then 45, thought the several young children athome could receive a better education if he moved to town. He moved to Willmarand left the farm in the hands of the two older sons, neither of whom wasinclined to farm, so he sold the farm for $10,000. Only Isabel was born on theChippewa County farm. All the older children were born in Brown County, and theyounger children in Willmar.
When he moved to Willmar, to about 6½ acres, William immediately putin a huge garden. Nary Somerville always treasured her large strawberry bed.One year she canned 150 quarts of berries--a gargantuan task. She also cannedpeas, beans, fruits. William had potatoes, corn, squash and an apple and plumorchard. Everything was kept free of weeds. The garden products filled a largestorage area of the dirt-filled cellar, which also served as a shelter in timesof windstorms. Nary whisked the children (and quilts) to the safety of thatarea. The garden was a godsend in keeping food on the table for a large family.
In the course of making a living, once he left the farm without atrade, William did odd jobs, usually involving his teem of horses. He met andwon the affections of townspeople. Not only was he extremely outgoing, but hehad a full-blown sense of humor. He never forgot a good story--and must havecreated many of his own.
He might be traveling down Becker Avenue, past the bakery, when Dr.Branton would come by. "What's your latest story, Bill?" In thetwinkling of an eye, Bill would relate a tale that would end in a punch linethat "took in" his hearer. He'd catch the hearer in a tale, then goon, "But, putting all joking aside . ." and off he'd go to catch himall over again in a second tale. Wit seemed to be a common characteristic ofmany of the older Somerville clan.
A recollection by grandson Merrill Chesebrough of a visit to GrandpaSomerville’s home is as follows:
"Grandpa always made his own root beer. He would save and fillthe hires extract bottles with root beer for the grandchildren. Grandpa wouldlead a parade around the house, then down into the basement where he would passout bottles of root beer to each of the grandchildren. Then he would lead theparade up the stairs out onto a porch where he would give each youngster athrill ride on his foot, lifting his leg up high, as he told stories to thechildren."
Following his early death (age 64) in 1925, Mary Somerville was leftwith a world of good friends and neighbors in addition to a devoted family.(Only Viola was still at home). She had extremely limited financial resources.When Viola considered going to college-this would leave Mary alone--in hertruly unselfish manner, she said, "of course, I'd like you to stay, marryand have a family. But when I look at your friends who have page 10done justthat and see what problems they have, I can’t ask you to do that. It is yourlife and you should do with it as you will." In ensuing years, she toldeveryone she was so happy that Viola had made the choice of attending college.
Left alone, she could no longer afford the house. For a time, sheresponded to widowed neighbor's call for help with his five motherlesschildren.
To be near the church, she rented a small apartment downtown. Shecould walk to church, ladies aid, and funerals. She spent several summers withIsabel and Jessie Aarvig, also several with Birdie and Earl Chesebrough whereshe looked after grandson, Merrill, while Birdie worked at the Le Roy Independent.She visited other families too from time to time. Always, she kept in closetouch with the grandchildren, whom she adored. Even though writing in Englishwas not easy for her, she corresponded with the ones in service, and bakedgoodies and sent packages to them.
She never formally joined the Methodist Church. Yet when there wasan anniversary and the list of oldest living members was printed, their namewas among them. Perhaps the Rev. John L. Parmeter added her name as she alwayslent support. She furnished hundreds of sandwiches and dozens of cakes when"solicited"
At her funeral--by choice in the Methodist Church--the Rev. RolandHohn mentioned that Mother Somerville's hearing was impaired. He quoted her assaying, "I can’t always understand the words, but they sound niceanyway."
Mary Somerville was a woman with a heart of gold. She loved and wasloved by all who knew her. Her spirit of forgiveness was exemplary. She wasalways a peacemaker, ready to give another the benefit of the doubt.
She passed away March 16, 1944, and was buried in Fairview Cemetery,Willmar, beside her husband, William.
The Children of William. Elliott Somerville and Agnes Mae Wiggin
EARL - born February 9, 1882, in Albin Township, Brown County, MN.He was married to Agnes Theresa Hultgren at Kerkhoven, MN. June 1, 1904. Shedied June 19, 1908, of complications of childbirth when son, Irwin was born.Mary Somerville cared for Irwin until he died in infancy.
Earl then married Edith Emelyn Hultgren, Agnes' sister, January 3,1912. Two sons were born to this marriage: Earl, Jr., born March 25, 1915 andWayne, born January 31, 1919.
Following Edith's death, Earl married a third time to Jessie BerniceCollinson Jones from Willmar. They lived at Bird Island until Earl's death,then she lived in Willmar until her death.
Earl lived for many years at Raymond, MN. where he owned a jewelrystore and operated the theater. His sons were born here.
MARK WIGGIN SOMERVILLE - born May 26, 1883, in Albin Twp., BrownCounty, MN. He married Ethel May Doble at Montevideo, MN. Oct. 1, 1904. Shedied in 1905. He then married her sister, Edith Doble on Aug. 16, 1906 atMontevideo. Mark died Oct. 27, 1918 from tuberculosis, but his actual death washastened by an attack of influenza in the first year of the influenza epidemicin 1918. He is buried at Fairview Cemetery, Willmar, MN.
Mark Somerville'sObituary 1918
Children of Mark and Edith Somerville were: Harold Elliott (b. March16, 1907 - died June 30, 1977), Florence Evelyn (b. June 10, 1909, diedSeptember 8, 1995 in Brainerd, Minnesota),Violet Mae (b. 3/16/1911), EvangelineGrace (b.8/26/1913 died March 31, 1994 in Bremerton, Washington) Derwin Markand Dorothy, (b. 9/21/1916). Dorothy died 07/10/1917).
LEE LOT SOMERVILLE - born 12/7/1885 in Albin Twp., Brown County, MN.He married Mathilda Olena Berg 9/25/1912. She was born 6/30/1893 in Minnesotaand died 5/11/1977 in Canoga Park, CA. Lee died 10/5/1975, also at Canoga Park,CA. Children of this marriage are: Stanley C. Somerville (b. 7/6/1913 atWillmar), Alice Vivian (b. 11/4/1915 at Willmar), Eugene Victor (b. 2/3/1918)died 11/30/1996 at age 78 in Anaheim, California after a long illness, andDebris Corinne (b. 1/10/1924).
BIRDIE GLEN SOMERVILLE - b. 03/12/1889 in Albin Twp., Brown County,MN. As her mother died when Birdie was so young, she remembers no other butMary, to whom she was exceedingly devoted. She married Earl MathewsonChesebrough, b.07/04/1870 in Plainfield, Conn., but later of Willmar, on June27, 1912 in the Somerville home on West Litchfield, Ave, the Rev. John L.Parmeter officiating. Earl died of a stroke Nov. 28, 1937. One son, MerrillEarl, was born to this marriage (03/27/1919).
After being a widow for several years she married George SelbinEcklund. He passed away March 17, 1960 after a long illness.
On August 20, 1964, she was united in marriage to Howard B. Hanks atthe Little Brown Church, IA. This was an unusually happy and companionablemarriage. Birdie passed away Dec. 11, 1981 at her home in Le Roy.
Earl and Birdie first owned the Grant County Review at Herman, MN.,then purchased the Le Roy Independent, Le Roy, MN. Birdie, together with herson, Merrill, continued to publish it until 1969.
The Children of William Elliott Somerville and Mary (Maria) Mueckl
EMMA CECELIA - b. 04/18/1891 in Home Twp., Brown County, MN. She wasmarried to Benjamin Wesley Parmeter on July 17, 1915 in the family home inWillmar, the Rev. John L. Parmeter, the groom's father, officiating. Ben andEmma lived for many years at New Ulm, MN., where Ben was employed by the NewUlm Wholesale Grocery Co. They later moved to Dade City, FL. Two sons were bornto them at New Ulm: Lincoln (b. 02/23/1919) and Burton Monroe (b. 09/22/1921).
MAXIMILIAN WILLIAM - b. 12/09/1893 in Home Twp., Brown County, MN.Max married Ruth Pond of Pipestone, MN. March 11, 1916. Max worked for the U.S. Postal Service, for a time on a rail train to Pipestone, later in St. Paul.Three children were born to this marriage: Marjorie (b. 12/6/1916), Darrell (b.03/16/1920) and Geraldine (b. 07/03/1924).
ALEXANDER BAY - b. 06/04/1895. (Died 11/05/1895).
ESTHER CAROLINE -- b. 09/17/1896 in Home Twp., Brown County, MN. Shemarried Edmond Nolan Carrell, a rancher, on May 26, 1922 in Livingston, MT. Twochildren were born to this marriage: Joyce Elaine, 08/15/1925 and Edmond N.,Jr., 07/23/1931. Ed and Esther ranched in the Shields River Valley betweenWilsall and Clyde Park, MT. until selling the ranch and moving to Livingston.During many of these years, Esther taught school, for a number of years in theBrackett Creek School, Joyce married Robert Bonnell and Edmond., Jr. marriedMargie McClung (07/23/1949).
ISABEL RUTH - b. 10/01/1898 in Woods Twp., Chippewa County, MN. Died07/29/1985 in Willmar. Isabel married Jesse Aarvig May 24, 1919. They farmed inthe Willmar area all of their married life. Jesse died 04/8/1968. Both areburied in the Fairview Cemetery, Willmar in lots adjoining the William and MarySomerville lot. One son was born to this marriage, Dean Hartley Aarvig on Oct.15, 1920.
RAYMOND ALEXANDER - born 08/06/1904 at Willmar, MN. Ray marriedDoris Szymanski in Waukegan, IL. on July 16, 1921. He died May 28, 1933 fromtuberculosis. He is buried In Concordia Cemetery in Forest Park, IL. Rayattended Coyne Electrical School In Chicago, later Lane Technical High School.He was in electrical work during his working years, first winding armatures forG. E., later working for a company which installed sound systems in the ChicagoOpera House, Morrison Hotel, Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicagoand others. He 'moonlighted' in several jobs, overworked himself and developedTB.
Children of this marriage are: Ray Arthur, b. 08/16/1922; DorothyLaVerne, b. 03/09/1924;
Patrick Dean, b. 06/27/1926; and Robert Hugo, b. 04/26/1930.
VIOLA DAISY - born 03/22/1907 in Willmar, MN. She married CyrilBarclay Bond of Hutchinson, Kansas on Sept. 10, 1934 at Chicago, IL.
Viola was graduated from Willmar (MN.) High School; the ChicagoTraining School (later merged with Garrett Theological Seminary); and holds aBachelor of Philosophy degree in Religion from the University of Chicago. In a45-year career, she held secretarial, editorial, supervisory, or administrativepositions in such firms as the International City Managers' Association; FooteBros. Gear & Machine Corp.; Booz-Allen & Hamilton; Borg-Warner(Ingersoll) Research Center.
At Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. she was executivesecretary to the Development Fund, then to President (now Bishop) Dwight E.Loder and later to Dr. Orville H. McKay. She ended her career as administrativeassistant in Nursing Service at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, IL.
Cyril was graduated from Hutchinson (Kansas) High School; holds aBachelor of Arts degree from Kansas City University (English major); and aBachelor of Divinity degree, Bonebrake (now United) Theological Seminary inDayton, Ohio. He pursued graduate studies in the University of Chicago DivinitySchool and professional training in the School of Social ServiceAdministration, prior to becoming a social worker for the State of Illinois,then the Chicago Welfare Administration.
His career included a period of professional fund raising forhospitals, but his major work was as a civilian in the signal Corps, Air Force,and finally the Defense Supply Agency (DCASR), where he was a contractadministrator. He was retired in 1969. The Bonds, who live at 1020 West VillaDrive, Des Flames, IL., have spent their summers at their cottage which is partof the Lake Louise Christian (Methodist) Community, Boyne Falls, Michigan.Contributing to the foregoing Somerville family history are:
As of 1/9/1997 Viola who is now a widow lives at: The Moorings; 811East Central Road #409; Arlington Heights, Illinois 60005.
M. E. Chesebrough, F. 0. Box 119, Le Roy, MN. 55951
William Wesley Harden, 1902 NW 6 Ave., Austin. MN. 55912
Viola Somerville Bond (Mrs. Cyril B. Bond), 1020 West Villa Drive.,Des Plaines, IL.
Dr. Paul Somerville, 5 Village Drive, west, Odieda, FL. 32765