On the Farm – Family Finds

The large majority of my pre-20th century ancestors were farmers. Most lived and worked on farms they owned or rented. Some of my male ancestors worked on the farms of others as farm labor, earning a living until they could purchase a farm of their own. One of my ancestors had a unique route to farm labor and then farm owner. My 4th great grandfather Jacob Kready, 1748-1828, came to America during the American Revolution as a soldier hired by the British. Ultimately he became a successful farmer in Pennsylvania.

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Probate of Jesse King 1868

Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania.

Jesse King, 1805-1868

Jesse King was born in Ohio (probably in the vicinity of Chillicothe) in 1805, he was a son of Philip King and Mary Leah Wright, both of Pennsylvania. Philip King was a farmer, he married Leah Wright in 1801 in Somerset, PA, they had six children, of whom Jesse was the third. The King family emigrated to Fairfield County, OH, when Jesse was a small boy. During the War of 1812, Jesse’s father, Philip King, served as a soldier in Capt. James Taylor’s company from Ross County, OH. In 1831, Jesse married Catherine Sivey  in Fairfield County. After their marriage, they removed to Franklin County, OH where Jesse’s parents and many siblings were already living and farming. Jesse and Catherine were the parents of six sons, the four oldest born in Franklin, the other two in Mercer: William, Solomon, John, Philip, Henry, Jesse and Franklin, who died in infancy. After Philip King’s death in 1846, much of the King family, including Jesse and Catherine, removed to Van Wert County, to farm the 200+ acres she had previously purchased and the 40 acres of bounty land granted for Philip’s war service. Jesse purchased 160 acres in Mercer County, erected a log cabin, cleared his land and became a prominent farmer and citizen. Jesse filled the office of justice of the peace for eighteen years, was township trustee a number of times, and also held other offices in the county. Four of Jesse and Catherine’s sons served in OH units during the Civil War. One son, Philip, died of wounds received at the battle of Nashville, in December, 1864. Jesse was an active member of the United Brethern Church, holding at different times all its offices, he died at his home after contracting typhoid fever in 1868.

What is Typhoid Fever?  Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection, spread by consuming food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Symptoms include a gradual onset of high fever, weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, and headaches. People may carry the bacterium without being affected; however, they are still able to spread the disease to others. Deaths from typhoid among soldiers in the Civil War exceeded those of any other cause.

Probate Record

Jesse King was a 3rd great grandfather on my maternal line, I found his probate record online at Ancestry.com, ‘Ohio, Wills and Probate Records, 1786-1998’, Mercer County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas, Record of Wills, Vol 1-4, 1825-1886, Case #1200. It consists of nearly 60 pages and covers 4 years of settlement, Jesse’s wife Catherine Sivey King was the executrix. There are several pages of particular interest:

  • Pages 4 and 5 are his will, item 4 of the will is a legacy for his granddaughter Susan Candice King, the daughter of his deceased son Philip who died in action at the battle of Nashville.
  • Page 18, the credits to the estate totaling nearly $5000, most of which are sale of land to the heirs.
  • Page 24, purchase of burial clothes.
  • Page 30, value of the estate totaling $4000 for the 160 acres of land and $99 for 3 horses and 24 sheep. (what about the cows and hogs?)
  • Page 31, debts due the estate, cash and gold on hand equaled about $2000.
  • Page 34, expenses or payments made by the estate totaling about $1200.
  • Page 54, $50 for grave stones.
  • Page 60, the estate ‘donates’ $600 to Henry H. King to make him equal to the other heirs with respect to money he gave prior to the death of his father Jesse.

Here are the 60 pages of documents relating to the probate of Jesse King’s estate in 1868 collated into a PDF file.

Jesse King 1868 Probate


Frank Takeo Flucawa

Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, Japan, little is documented of his early childhood. Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family.

Frank Takeo Flucawa
(1883 – 1974)
A Brief Biographical Sketch
by Barbara J. LaFara
grand-niece to F.T. Flucawa

Born Takeo Furukawa on 15 March 1883 in Tottori-Ken, Tokyo, JapaMeiji Gaukinn, little is documented of his early childhood.  Family oral history stories say that the young Takeo experienced hunger, poverty and the loss of his family. Additionally, the stories tell of friendship, spiritual learning and scholarship. As a young man, Takeo became a Christian and attended a school founded by missionaries, Meiji Gakuin in Shirokane, Tokyo, Japan.  It is documented that Takeo graduated Futsu-Gakubu or high school in 1902 and Koutou-Gakubu or liberal arts and theology in 1905 from Meiji Gakuin.


Kanagawa-maruThe year 1905 was very significant in Takeo’s young life. Besides graduating from college, he also immigrated to the United States. On May 19, Takeo departed from Yokohama on board the Kanagawa Maru, arriving in Seattle, Washington on June 2.  It is documented that he had $100 and his final destination was Chicago with the intention to attend the university.  For reasons unknown, Takeo did not complete his enrollment at the University of Chicago and instead headed to Indianapolis, Indiana with the plan of enrolling at Butler College. Butler was founded and operated by the Disciples of Christ ministry. Takeo worked in service jobs to support himself, including as a bartender and steward at the University Club of Indianapolis. By 1908 he began writing his thesis for his doctoral dissertation, a process he would never complete.

Takeo Flucawa

At loose ends, Takeo lived in a boarding house on W. 18th Street, worked tending bar and volunteered at several missions in 1910. It was at a mission that Takeo met his future wife Grace Osborne, a fellow volunteer. Grace was a young, divorced mother with a six year old son named Glenn. Takeo and Grace married on 30 December 1912. It was at this time that Takeo began using the name ‘Frank Flucawa,’ he believed it was easier for Americans to pronounce.

For awhile, the young couple rented rooms on N. Illinois Avenue, but eventually they got a small farm near E. 16th Street and Pleasant Run Parkway. Frank and Grace engaged in running a poultry farm, raising chickens, geese and turkey. At the time, the United States had laws in place that prohibited Asian immigrants from owning land, but this never seemed to be a problem for Frank. It may be that these laws were not well known in Indiana since they were primarily written for the more ‘xenophobic’ western U.S.

Frank and Grace often played host and hostess to various family gatherings on their little farmOsborn Family gathering 1918. Frank and Grace, along with their good friend Kisaburo ‘Shibby’ Shibusawa had created a charming ornamental garden on the property, perfect for family photos.


Life went on in a very pleasant manner for nearly 30 years for the couple, their family and their friends. Then 1942 came along, the United Stated declared war with Japan, Grace’s 94-years old father died, two nephews enlisted in the armed services and Executive Order 9066 was issued by President Roosevelt. There was a great deal of sadness at the Flucawa home; so much that the couple decided to move away from Indianapolis to a more rural area, New Castle, Indiana.

Executive Order 9066 caused the imprisonment of over 100,000 Japanese-Americans, all from western states. The suspension of basic civil rights was frightening to Frank and Grace, fortunately, application of the law was mostly non-existent in Indiana. Frank, and Shibby, did register with the local sheriff, but that was the extent of any action. It was during this time that Frank and Grace became Quakers, giving action to their objection to wars. They were both active in organizing local vegetable gardens, Red Cross fund raisers and writing regularly to their nephews overseas. Sadly, their nephew Carl died in action in Germany. But, nephew Robert returned safely from the south Pacific.

Grace and Frank Flucawa

Life returned to a sort of normal after 1946, raising poultry again and now operating a commercial flower garden. First the garden was at Cherry Street and Hawthorne Road in New Castle, but eventually expanded to a larger property on South Memorial Drive. Frank and Grace enjoyed a great deal of popularity because of their beautiful flowers. However, in November 1954 Grace passed away and Frank lost his partner in life of nearly 42 years.

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 basically repealed the 1924 act that had prohibited the naturalization of Asians, as well as many Europeans. Now that Grace was gone, Frank felt a certain practical need to become a U.S. citizen. So, on 17 June 1955 Frank became a citizen and legally changed his name to Frank Takeo Flucawa.Naturalzation doc

Frank went on operating ‘Flucawa Flower Gardens’ with the help of his good friend Shibby. But, in October 1964 Shibby left this world at the age of 82, leaving Frank on his own. Frank carried on as best he could, he was well past the age when many men retire, but that was not his nature. He kept active in his garden, judging flower shows around the state, mentoring other Asian Americans in the community and attending Quaker meetings.

Frank Flucawa

Finally, at the urging of his nephew Robert, Frank sold his hot house and flower farm property in 1968 and retired to a little house on S. 16th Street in New Castle. It was at this home that Frank passed peacefully from this world to his reward on 29 May 1974. Frank was laid to rest at Mound Cemetery in New Castle between his beloved wife Grace and his best friend Shibby.