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William LaForge History
William LaForge was born on July 25, 1811 in Franklin County, Indiana.
He was the seventh child of John Lefforge and Mary Smith. Of John's
parents nothing is known at this time. Mary was named as an heir in the
will of Barefoot Smith in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. Barefoot stated
his relationship to each of his heirs except Mary, so we don't know just
how she was related. John changed the spelling of his last name from
LaForge to Lefforge after he moved his family to Indiana from New
Jersey. William used the original spelling of LaForge, for the most
part, his entire adult life.
William married Eliza Brewer Wythe, daughter of Joshua Wythe Jr. and
Hannah Pond, in Brookville, Franklin County, Indiana on September 30,
1830. They had two children: Alexander who married Emily Jennings and
Emily who married Edward Jones. Eliza died on September 14, 1834.
William and Eliza sold property in Franklin County in 1833. It is
thought that they moved to Vigo County, Indiana between 1833 and 1835 as
that is where William was issued a land patent on October 1, 1835. It
must be noted that many times those receiving land patents never lived
on the land.
After the death of Eliza, in either Vigo County or Franklin County,
William married Jane Tinbrook on February 3, 1839 in Franklin County. Of
Jane's family nothing is known. They had three children: Jacob, Jane
and Mary. Jane and Mary were twins. Jane married William Thorp and Mary
married Alexander Chaney.
By the time the 1840 census was taken William had moved the family to
Macon County, Illinois. He stayed only a short time for by 1841 he had
moved on to Piatt County (Illinois). Jane and Mary were born after the
move to Piatt County. Jane Tinbrook LaForge died, in Piatt County,
between 1844 and 1846. As of this time her grave has not been found.
When Jane died William was a widower for the second time and was left
with five children. On October 13, 1846, in Piatt County, he married
Eliza Morrow, daughter of James Morrow and Phebe Beedle. Eliza was
fifteen or sixteen years younger than William. They had three daughters:
Ann, Sarah M. and Serilda Adaline. By the time the 1850 census was taken
Eliza had given him two daughters: Ann and Sarah.
In October of 1852 William, along with other Piatt County families, left
Monticello, Illinois on a wagon train heading for Burnet County, Texas.
Two members of the wagon train were the Matsler brothers, George and
David, with their families. David Matsler's first wife was Sarah Jane
Morrow the sister of Eliza Morrow LaForge.
William was in Burnet County, Texas by December 1852 as Eliza sent a
message to her Aunt Eliza Beedle Collins, who was still in Piatt. In a
letter written by Rebecca Matsler, wife of George Matsler, Eliza said
that all of her children were ill and so was she. Eliza asked that her
Aunt Eliza Collins write to her. It is my belief that Ann, Sarah and
Jacob died in Burnet County. No trace of the three has been found after
the 1850 census.
William bought his first parcel of land in Burnet County on February
23, 1853 from Benjamin and Sarah Stewart. This is the first official
record of William in Texas.
In April 1854 William and Eliza's daughter Serilda was born. She was the
only one of William's children born in Texas. Serilda married Evan
William was a charter member of Valley Lodge No. 175 - A. F. & A. M.
William was present when the lodge was granted their charter and set to
labor in 1855. He held the office of Senior Warden.
By March of 1856 Eliza may have been ill. She wrote her will on March 4,
1856. Her will was presented for probate on February 23, 1857. In her
will she stated that her father was James Morrow of Montgomery County,
Indiana. Her tombstone has not been found in any of the Burnet County
After the death of Eliza, William and James Rountree donated land for
the first school in Oatmeal. They deeded the land on December 25, 1857.
The deed was recorded at the courthouse on March 31, 1858.
William stayed in Burnet County until after his daughter, Jane, married
in 1859. He sold all of his land on March 6, 1860 and left Texas and
went back to Indiana, taking Mary and little Serilda with him. He
settled in Grant County. William has not been found on the 1860 census
but was probably nearby and just missed as Mary and Serilda were living
with their sister, Emily, and her family on the 1860 Grant County
The first official record of William's return to Indiana is from the
Indiana Masonic records. He joined the Xenia Masonic Lodge, in Miami
County, on July 31, 1860. On November 20, 1860 he married his fourth
wife, Mary Pence Long. Mary was the daughter of Martin Pence and
Elizabeth Corder. Mary was the widow of Adolphus R. Long when she
married William. William and Mary had two daughters: Melissa and Alice
R. Melissa married Elijah Williams. Alice was married twice. Her first
husband was Ebenezer Williams, the second was Joseph N. Dilkes. William
owned 70 acres in Sims Twp in the 1870's.
Mary died on June 22, 1899 and is buried next to her first husband in
the Converse Cemetery near Richland Twp, Indiana.
William died on March 10, 1903 in Grant County, Indiana. He was a
resident of the Grant County Infirmary for the last ten years of his
life. As of this date a tombstone has not been found.
I have the honor to be one of the great great granddaughters of this
devoted father and loving husband.
Contact -Charlotte Lucas
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