Parker/Collis genealogy pages
Genealogy of the Parker and Collis families
First Name:  Last Name: 
[Advanced Search]  [Surnames]
CLOSE, Elizabeth

CLOSE, Elizabeth

Female 1858 - 1919  (60 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Notes    |    Sources    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name CLOSE, Elizabeth 
    Nickname Libby 
    Born 25 Dec 1858  , Adams, Indiana, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Female 
    Died 8 Jul 1919  Eureka, Lincoln, Montana, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 9 Jul 1919  Tobacco Plains Cemetery, Eureka, Lincoln, Montana, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I183  Parker/Collis Genealogy
    Last Modified 13 Feb 2012 

    Father CLOSE, James,   b. 1826/1827, Ohio, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1880, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age > 54 years) 
    Mother DOUGHERTY, Nancy Ann,   b. 1836, Ohio, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Dec 1910, Decatur, Adams, Indiana, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 74 years) 
    Married 2 Jun 1855  , Allen, Indiana, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Notes 
    • Indiana Marriage Collection, 1800-1941 <http://www.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=5059&enc=1> about James Close
      Name: James Close
      Spouse Name: Naney A Dougherty
      Marriage Date: 2 Jun 1855
      Marriage County: Allen
      Source Title 1: Allen County, Indiana
      Source Title 2: Index to Marriage Record 1824 - 1920 Inclusive Vol
      Source Title 3: W. P. A. Origtial Record Located: County Clerk's O
      Book: 3
      OS Page: 332
    Family ID F103  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 1 SLY, Alvannah Loren,   b. Abt 1854, Michigan, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Aft 1898, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age ~ 45 years) 
    Married 23 Sep 1877  Hinton, Mecosta, Michigan, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
    +1. SLY, Clara Ann "Carrie",   b. 30 Nov 1878, Ausable, Mecosta, Michigan, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Jul 1957, Port Orchard, Kitsap, Washington, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 78 years)
    +2. SLY, Addie May,   b. 3 May 1881, Oscoda, Iosco, Michigan, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Jan 1953, Spokane, Spokane, Washington, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 71 years)
    +3. SLY, Ernest Wayne,   b. 26 Jul 1883, Mackinaw City, Cheboygan, Michigan, United States Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Sep 1943, Highland, San Bernardino, California, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years)
    Family ID F26  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family 2 SMITH, Richard,   b. 1861, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Feb 1832, , Lincoln, Montana, United States Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 14 Jul 1900  Rockford, Winnebago, Illinois, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  [1
    Notes 
    Family ID F104  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Elizabeth Close Sly (2).jpg
    Elizabeth Close Sly (2).jpg

  • Notes 
    • Things to do:
      1. send for homestead application and or land records.
      2. Stump farms
      3. Subsistance farms
      4. R R in Lincoln county
      5. History of Lincoln county (Historical society?)
      6. local mail delivery?
      7. Bay County newspapers? property sales, etc.
      8. 1860's Gold rush in Montana - became a state in 1864.
      9. 1880's railroad crossed Montana

      Timeline:
      1858 15 Dec Elizabeth born Adams Co. Indiana

      1919 8 Jul Libby died of breast cancer in Eureka, Lincoln Co., Montana

      1900 Census, Michigan - searched all of Bay County, Pinconning twp and found no Smith, Libby or Richard nor did I find any Slys

      After her husband, Lorian Sly, left for the gold fields (about 1888) during a recession, Elizabeth Sly took in roomers to make ends meet. After a few letters from Lorian, she never heard from him again. Elizabeth (Close) Sly eventually married Richard Smith, one of the roomers, (between 1894 and 1901) and moved to Montana near Eureka to homestead. Elizabeth (Libby) and Richard Smith raised her grand daughter, Bertha Sherman. Libby raised vegetables and strawberries to sell to the neighbors. She also sold cottage cheese, eggs, milk, chicken, cookies, etc. She was well liked by everyone. Richard Smith was a bricklayer, then a ditch tender of the irrigation ditch (circa 1916). It is said that little by little he lost most of his land through lawsuits he initiated. The homestead burned and he lived in the little cabin on the property. It is said that he was onery, but Bertha remembers him as kind to her. The land was eventually bought by Fred and Maye Alverson. She was a cousin to Bertha Sherman. Richard Smith died in Eureka, Montana. The following was taken from a letter dated 19 February, 1970, to Marilyn Parker from Maye Alverson, (daughter of Jennie Close Butler who was a sister to Elizabeth Close Sly Smith.) " Dick Smith's place was built on a piece of land that was not his and when he went to prove up, found it out. So he bought 3 acres from a Henry Wedymeyer. When Dick got too bad, he moved to town with one of their old neighbors and I think some one took what they wanted out of the house and touched a match to it, as it was burned. So nothing was left." "When Dick was buried, I was surprised as he was a real good looking man. He always wore a mustach and the undertaker shaved it off. The reason he wore a mustach, he had a big birth mark on his upper lip. And he was so clean." " Old Dick wasn't too gifted in work. It was always Aunt Lib that did the work. Even worked out at cooking. It's still a wonder to me how things and people got by in those days. (Lib for Elizabeth).
      Elizabeth (Close) Sly Smith was diagnosed with cancer at the Mayo Clinic and Bertha often administered Morphine to her grandma to make the pain bearable. Elizabeth died in July 1919.

      "The Story of the Tobacco Plains Country,
      the Autobiography of a Community"
      Page 164 is in a chapter on "Fortine Area Homesteads." It says, "Among many other Michiganders who homesteaded in this vicinity were Dick Smith and his wife, and Mrs. Smith's son and daughter, Ernest and May Sly. For years Dick Smith was the community "radical"--always fighting the capitalist lumber companies and writing accusing letters to his Congressmen: "Just sore at everybody in the world," as Harry Weydemeyer puts it. Mrs. Smith died and her son and daughter went west, but Dick stayed on, living alone at his homestead, and died there at a ripe old age, still kicking."

      Boom and Bust: Montana's Homestead Era By Gary Glynn
      Although the homestead era in Montana lasted for more than 70 years, the vast majority of those who homesteaded in the state did so during a ten-year period beginning in 1908. The original Homestead Act was signed by Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. The new law stipulated that any head of household over 21 years old could stake out a 160 acre farm on government land with only a $10 filing fee. If the farmer lived on the homestead for five years and improved the property, he or she would receive title to it. Several different variations on the Homestead Act were passed over the years, and depending on which one a farmer filed under, he could receive 160, 320, or as much as 640 acres.
      Despite giving away land for free, the Homestead Act proved to be a failure in the arid West, where even 640 acres was simply not enough land to enable a farmer to succeed. It was an invitation to disaster.
      Nevertheless, to many the promise of free land was irresistible. By 1900, half a million families had moved West to homestead. It wasn't until the early 1900s that large numbers of would-be farmers began arriving in Montana, lured by a slick advertising campaign paid for by railroad magnate James J. Hill, the man who controlled the Great Northern, the Burlington and Northern Pacific railroads. Hill knew that customers for his railroads were hard to find in sparsely populated Montana, and he realized that with the help of the Homestead Act, he could convert the empty plains of Montana into a potential gold mine for his railroad empire. All he had to do was convince farmers that the dry plains of Montana were rich farmland.
      By 1908 his campaign to bring thousands of small farmers into Montana was in full swing. Hill had thousands of brochures distributed throughout the United States and Western Europe extolling the virtues of the Great Plains as a farmer's paradise. Hill also promoted the "Campbell System" of dry-land agriculture, devised by South Dakota farmer Hardy Webster Campbell. Campbell stated that with deep plowing and scientific agricultural methods, the plains of Montana could produce tremendous yields of grain. Hill also hired another agricultural expert Professor Thomas Shaw, who described eastern Montana as a farmer's paradise. By 1910, Shaw was operating 45 experimental farms in Montana, and the favorable results of his experiments were widely publicized.
      Along with promoting the promise of free land in an agricultural paradise, Hill announced cut-rate fares on his railroad to entice farmers to move to the state. His promises of free land, cheap transportation, and rich soil appealed to many people, and Montana's Homestead Boom was on.
      Most of the newcomers were Americans, but thousands were Germans and Scandinavians drawn by Hill's European advertising campaign. The cowboys and miners of the state, who had flooded into Montana during earlier booms, watched the trainloads of newcomers arriving, and derisively nicknamed them "honyockers."
      By 1908 the boom was in full swing, and every westbound train brought new homesteaders. They erected tar paper shacks and hitched up their plows, eager to make their fortune in the golden fields of wheat. The Great Falls land office averaged 1000 to 1500 homestead filings a month in 1910, and agriculture surpassed mining as the state's number one industry for the first time. At least 40,000 homesteaders filed claims in the state during the first twenty years of this century, and new farming communities began springing up all over the eastern plains.
      For several years it appeared as if the small farmers would succeed and prosper. A period of unusually high rainfall blessed the new farmers, and the freshly plowed prairies produced record crops of wheat. When James J. Hill passed away in 1916, it looked as if his plan to populate the empty plain of eastern Montana with homesteaders had paid off.
      The one thing that James J. Hill and his agricultural experts had not counted on was drought, and periodic droughts are a fact of life on the Great Plains. The spring rains failed to appear in 1917, and by the summer of 1918 the drought was widespread. Suddenly, thousands of Montana's homesteaders were in serious trouble. Their crops burned up in the fields, and the nonstop winds blew the carefully plowed and powdered topsoil away. Finally, hordes of grasshoppers arrived to complete the devastation. Many farmers found themselves unable to pay their bills, and by the summer of 1919 thousands had been forced from their farms. The same railroads which had brought the homesteaders into Montana now carried them away. The banks and seed merchants and implement dealers, all of whom had fueled the homestead boom with easy credit, declared bankruptcy in record numbers. Although the Homestead Act remained in effect until 1935, the homestead boom had ended in Montana by 1918.
      The steamboat trade, with its expense and limitations, dropped off sharply in the mid- 1880s, as the first railroads reached Montana and opened up to passenger service. "Emigrant cars," specially designed for the prospective settler, afforded dismal and cramped accommodations to those with enough money to pay for the cost of trip. Passengers in emigrant cars were often forced to spend their journeys sitting upright on uncushioned, backless benches. On many trains, the management offered thin straw mattresses (at a cost of $3.00 each), which could be laid on the floor beneath the benches. One settler remembered, "My mother had a real hard time getting any sleep on the train. Anytime she laid down under the benches, her feet stuck out into the aisle, and the conductor would come along and kick her." Privacy in the cars was minimal, with no dividing partitions and a common toilet and cookstove for as many as 30 emigrants. Wealthier settlers could rent out entire boxcars, in which to transport not only their family members, but also their household goods, farming equipment, and up to six heads of cattle.

      Bay County, Michigan land records? The date is before Libby and Richard Smith's marriage?
      Smith Libby J Sec 32 T 15N R 4E 80 acres Land office 04 (East Saginaw) Document #639 signing date 1874/04/10

      1880 United States Federal Census Elizabeth Sly
      Name: Elizabeth Sly
      Home in 1880: Fremont, Isabella, Michigan
      Age: 21
      Estimated Birth Year: abt 1859
      BirthPlace: Indiana
      Relation to head-of-household: Wife
      Spouses's Name: Loren A.
      Father's birthplace: OH
      Mother's birthplace: OH
      Occupation: Keeping House
      Marital status: Married
      Race: White
      Gender: Female
      Household Members: Name Age
      Loren A. Sly 26
      Elizabeth Sly 21
      Carey A. Sly 1
      Laura Bronk 10 nurse

      The 1894 federal census, Michigan, Bay Co. Pinconning Village, dated June 8, 1894 (film #915292) page 206 family 822:
      Smith,Richard, age 30 M Board, single, carpenter bp Indiana, father bp Canada, mother bp Indiana
      15 years in state.
      Sly, Elizabeth. age 35 F wife marr, 3 children, 3 living, bp Indiana, fath bp Canada, mo bp Indiana
      15 years in state
      Sly, Carrie age 15 F daug single, bp Michigan, father bp Indiana, mother bp Indiana
      Sly, Addie M age 12 F daug single, bp Michigan, father bp Indiana, mother bp Indiana
      Sly, Earnest age 10 M son single, bp Michigan father bp Indiana, mother bp Indiana


      Marr: film # 1004849, Book A, page 53 "Marriages, Mich, Mecosta County" #787

      Montana Death Index, 1860-2007
      Name: Elizabeth Smith
      Age: 61
      Estimated birth year: abt 1858
      Gender: Female
      Death Date: 8 Jul 1919
      Index Number: Lin 34

  • Sources 
    1. [S10] 1900 Federal Census of the US.