Saturday, July 2, 2016

Surname Saturday - Elijah Happy

Elijah Happy is my third great-grandfather on my maternal side. He was born August 2, 1833 in Fayette County, Kentucky to James and Catherine Vaughn Happy. He was the fifth of six children, two of whom died in childhood.
James and Catherine were farmers by trade and when Elijah was 17 they moved the family to Ray County, Missouri to begin farming just a few miles southwest of the county capital of Richmond.

On April 21, Elijah married Marcella Reed in Carroll County, Missouri.
Elijah continued to farm in Ray County owning his own land. The couple had a total of 11 children.
Elijah was of age to have served in the Civil War and was included on a draft schedule in Ray County, along with his brother Cornelius, but Elijah did not serve in the war in any capacity I could locate. 
U.S. draft registration from Ray County, Missouri, taken June 1863
I am blessed that Elijah was active in the community because I have come across not one, but two biographies about him. Elijah and Marcella belonged to the Missionary Baptist Church and he was a member of the Richmond Lodge of A.F. & A.M., Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons. Elijah's farm was 200 acres and, according to his biography in the 1881 History of Ray County, he was "one of the most substantial farmers, and valuable citizens of his neighborhood." Mighty fine words. A second biography, printed in the Portrait and biographical record of Clay, Ray, Carroll, Chariton, and Linn Counties, Missouri, states he was a Mason connected to the Master Lodge No. 57 at Richmond (Mo.) and in politics a follower of Jefferson stating he "is thoroughly persuaded that the principles of Democracy are best adapted to the welfare of the country."

The biographies are interesting and certainly paint a picture of Elijah. He appears to have been active and respected member of the community. And the couple did well in life. According to the 1880 census they even had a servant, John Mosley. Elijah and his wife, Marcella, farm throughout their lives and live very close to several of their children as the years go on. Marcella dies in 1891.

It appears that Elijah remarries after Marcella's death. On the 1900 census he is listed with a wife named Martha, having been married for 5 years. 

Elijah Happy 1900 census
I also found a marriage record for this union dated January 13, 1895. Elijah and Martha were married 20 years when she died January 9, 1915. Elijah lived for another six years before he passed as well on June 5, 1921 at the age of 88. He is remembered in his obituary as "one of Ray county's oldest and most highly respected citizens." Interestingly, Martha is not mentioned in his obituary, only his first wife, Marcella. He is also buried next to Marcella.
Elijah and Marcella Happy's gravestone in Richmond Cemetery, Richmond, Missouri
This post is part of my on-going goal of 2013 to research each of my 32 3rd great-grandparents more in-depth. Elijah is #17 on my list.


Wendy said...

A "substantial farmer and valuable citizen" -- what a nice way to be remembered.

By the way, it's good to see a blog from you again.

John D. Tew said...

Welcome back Heather! I just noticed you are posting again.


Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Thanks, Wendy! I've missed chatting with everyone. Now time to get caught up!

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Thank you, John. I've missed it and it's good to be back!