Thursday, March 10, 2016

Diary of James Milo Nosler: Introduction, part I

As a birthday present in 2014 my mother purchased for me the full transcript of my 3rd great uncle James Milo Nosler's diary from the University of Washington.  I believe the transcript was originally typed out by a direct descendant, a girl in her teens [!], but I will have to find out where I originally read that.

Not cheap, but that is how much 453 pages of copying costs (someone probably spent the better part of a day or so just photocopying this diary for me!).

If you want a copy from UW then this is the info you'll need.

This is James Milo Nosler's introduction to his diary:

Weston College Iowa*
May the 24th, 1870 
As near as I can ascertain, over a century ago a man, his wife and little boy, by the name of Nosler began their voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, and on the way the man and wife both died and the boy (about seven years old) was brought on to America, and he is the only Nosler that I know of having ever crossed the Ocean.  From him I think all the rest of the name now in America are descended.  I think he was my grandfather and his four brothers' father [NOTE: this immigrant boy is Sebastian "Boston" Nosler, c. 1738 - 1813].  

Irv Blabon has speculated the Sebastian Nosler might possibly be a corruption of Sebastian Hassler.  Since I can find no Nosler in the immigration records whatsoever, and do find Hasslers, including a Sebastian Hassler man immigrating to Philadelphia in 1749, around the time Sebastian Nosler would be coming over, I think Blabon might be on to something.  I do find one possible Hassler DNA match to my dad (through a search for Hasler), and that match indicates the Hasslers were originally from Walkringen, Bern, Switzerland and traveled on through the Rhine before coming to America.

As you can see his ancestry beyond his parents is very much a work in progress.  James' older brother William "Will" Nosler (not shown) is my direct ancestor.

More from the diary:

My grandfather's name was John Nosler and he lived in Virginia [most likely Montgomery County, Virginia] at the time of my father's birth, but when my father had arrived at the age of twelve years his parents moved with him to Tennessee, where he remained with the rest of the family on Duck River, ten miles from Knoxville, undergoing all the hardships and privations of a backwoods farmer of those days.

I suspect that James had the river wrong (the Duck River is in the west part of Tennessee and Knoxville is in the east part of Tennessee).  I think he meant the CLINCH River, which was about ten miles out from Knoxville and ran between the border of Knox and Anderson Counties, where James' mother Nancy Hibbs' people were (around Clinton).

He received a meager education at the district school, and when twenty-one years of age was married to my mother Nancy Hibbs, and in the course of a year or so they, with nearly all the rest of their relations on both sides, moved to Indiana.

They were poor and were compelled to live hard; fell the mighty forests and clearing up the land for future cultivation.  They made their own clothing, and in fact depended on but very little save what their own hands, and yet I have heard my father say that those were the happiest days of his life; he was a very robust, strong man and being energetic withall he soon placed himself in the front rank of farmers, and when I, your humble servant, first saw the light--(of a tallow candle) my parents were in circumstances beyond the reach of want. 
They were then the proprietors of a well-cultivated farm with good buildings, orchard, and also a good gristmill and saw mill which sufficed all the country around with the necessities of life.  My father was of German descent, although he never learned to speak the language to any great extent and forgot all he did know by the time he was grown up, my mother purely English as far as I know. 
I was born in Putnam county, Indiana, on the 30th day of April, 1843, and being the youngest of eight children, I, of course, was the baby and when anything turned up that I marked my displeasure, I, as a matter of course, would set up a howl that never failed to touch the sympathies of the old folks and bring down vengeance on the head of my offender. 
Well, I was born in a brick house on the banks of Dur (?) Creek [likely Deer Creek] on a road heading from Little Cat to Green Castle, seven miles south of the latter.  My mother was there at the time I was born and I, being somewhat short in stature, it was pretty generally conceded to call me Milo with James preferred, making it plainly James Milo--the James part being after James Nosler and Webb's two uncles and now I have been waiting twenty-seven years for my  ? ?, alas I wait in vain.  There was Wieth, Caroline, Mary, JOhn, Emily, and Will, but I rather think, as near as I can remember, that "I was monarch of all I survey". None dared dispute my right.
Nosler, Hibbs (note John Nosler's father-in-law, Mahlon Hibbs, down in the lower left), and related names all reflected in in land ownership map from HistoryGeo, in Putnam County, Indiana.

* likely Western College, Linn, Iowa (about midway between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City), which became Leander Clark College.  From what I could figure out from the diary entries, James and his family had been trying to make a life out in Montgomery County, Kansas, but were tiring of the lifestyle and James had been discussing heading out to Oregon with other family members.  At her request James had sent his wife Sallie and their daughter Flora (2 1/2 years old) on the train from Hamilton (Greenwood County??), Kansas to Western back on March 19, 1870, likely to stay with her family there (I should try to see if I can figure out which train that would be at that time).  I don't find her or Flora, or James for that matter, in the 1870 Federal Census (which was supposed to be taken on June 1, 1870) but since they were moving around so much it is no wonder!

NOTE: A nice summary of James's time in Montgomery is given in a query by long-time Nosler genealogist and cousin Irv Blabon back in 1998:
"I am looking for information on the communities of Independence, Verdigris City, and Liberty. James Milo NOSLER was one of the founders of Liberty and Montgomery . In his Journal he mentions a trading post near Montgomery ( a city he and others founded) . Later it was agreed to make a community between Montgomery and Vergigris City, which they named Liberty. James Milo carried the mail and was made Justice of the Peace in 1869. He did not remain in Kansas long." 

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