A Little Family History as told by Isabel Spencer Saunders


I’m named after my great-great-Aunt Libby. My Cousin Kitty sent me this history of her:  
Hannah Decker West was the mother of Eva Luella Colburn, the mother of our grandmother Dora Luella Miner Spencer. 

Hannah West’s mother was Dutch and didn’t speak English.  Hannah’s first marriage was to Mr. Tyler and they lived in New York, near New York City, and they were quite prosperous, even affluent. They had two children:  James and Elizabeth (Libby).Mr. Tyler died young and Hannah married Mr. Colburn.  The Colburns had four children:  Talmadge, Gertrude, Dora, and Eva Luella (our great grandmother). She was called Ella.< Hannah was not happy with Colburn.  He went through a lot of their money.  He went out west and was never heard from again.  It was rumored he might have been massacred by the Indians in North Dakota.  Libby taught school in New York.
Jimmy planted pear trees in what would now be Central Park, but they moved before he could see them at maturity.
The family moved to Shebance, Illinois (south of Kankakee) (Don’t know why they moved.) Hannah said the water was terrible there and she and her girls would just have to drink tea.  Libby also taught there.  She played the organ at the Kankakee Episcopal Church, so everyone started going there except her mother who was a “foot washing” Baptist.  Later Dora became a Christian Scientist.  They didn’t believe in medicine, but Ella said, “Well she uses Vick’s salve.”  

Eva Luella Colburn and Judson David Miner met in Shebanse and probably married in the Kankakee Episcopal Church.  (Later, they went to St. Luke’s in Ridgeland which is no longer there.)  They went to Portland, Oregon, where their son Enos was born.  Ella loved it and called it the “garden spot of the world.”  However, they had to go back to Illinois because Judson’s mother was ill and his brother, Peter, had died.  Peter died during the Civil War of yellow fever and is buried in Mississippi.  After the death of Judson’s mother (Catheren Lavinia Ackley Miner), they moved to North Dakota and farmed. It was so cold, they had to tie a rope from the house to the barn and bang on pans, so they could get back during the blizzards. Ella got pregnant with Dora Luella (Mimmie) and they moved back to Illinois. Ella said she would never spend another winter in that place. They moved to Ridgeland in 1898. Mimmie was eight. Aunt Dora married Ezra Brown and they also moved to Ridgeland. Aunt Libby also moved there and had her own home. She had been in love, but her boyfriend said she was so delicate she should never marry as she would probably die in childbirth. She somehow had money and married a Dr. Develling when she was “past middle age” as Ella said. Ella also said Libby would never have married him if he hadn’t hypnotized her.  It seems he was a scoundrel and when Mimmie was about 18, she (Aunt Libby) told her to “never marry; you can never trust a man.”  “Don’t believe a thing he tells you.” 

Ella and Jud had a tuning fork in North Dakota and would entertain themselves by singing hymns.  When they lived in Ridgeland they formed a quartet with Eugene and Mary Sykes.  They put on programs and plays for the community. 


As you probably know, Judson David Miner was Mayor of Ridgeland and lived and had a store on Jackson Street.  He also kept the vital statistics for the town.  During the Depression, he forgave debts of people who owed him money and ended up giving away everything in the store.

About Libbi

Writer for 30 years. Genealogy a hobby for about 40 years. Yes, I'm in my 50's, I learned about genealogy at my mother's knee!
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