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Sawyer and Ozee Family Ancestry

Attached is a letter that my maternal grandfather, Harry Emerson Ozee wrote to my cousin, Janet Crabtree (mother was Helen Adell Ozee), explaining some of the Ozee and Sawyer family history in Cole County, Il. My grandfather, Harry, was born in Trilla and was the son of Henry Michael Ozee and Georgia T. Sawyer Ozee, both of whom are buried in Mattoon. More to come.

Dick Bowers (son of Georgia Frances Ozee Bowers)
ambbowers@gmail.com




Nevada Mo Feb 25, 1952
Dear Janet;
Your letter reference to our ancestory will try and give you a few details as I remember it we have little or no record of it as it was hearsay and handed down mostly from my mother. She traced her ancestory back to William Brewster who came over on the Mayflower in 1620 from England . She also stated that one of her Grandfathers crossed the Delawar with Washington on Christmas night in 1776 when they defeated the British and another fought in the war of 1812. Her family name was Sawyer. We will start with my Great Grandfathar John Sawyer who was one of the pioneer settlers in Kentucky and emigrated from, there to near Mattoon Ills. in the year 1826, while he lived in Kentucky he was a neighbour of Thomas Lincoln the father of Abraham Lincoln . It was in Kenteky that Tom Lincoln Married Nancy Hanks the mother of Abraham Lincoln . about the years 1816 Tom Lincoln moved from Kentuuky to Indiana and Nancy Banks Lincoln died shortly after. Tom Lincoln then went back to Kentucky and married Sarah Bush Johnston a widow, who was the sister in law of Great'grand-father John Sawyer, thus my great Grandfather was a brother in-Law of Thomas Lincoln which would make Sarah Bush Lincoln a great great great Aunt of your.

Abe Lincoln was only seven year old when his mother died and he attributes his success in life to her training and teaching and what little schooling he could get in those days , he was very fond his step mother and made several trip to Illinois to visit her even after he was elected President .

As I previously stated Great Grandfather John Sawyer settled near Mattoon Ills , In about the year 1829 when he was about 20 years old , Tom Lincoln left Indiana and moved to Illinois he was enroute to Sangamon county which is near Springfield Ills , on their way to Sangamon County they stopped and visited three weeks with Great Grandfather Sawyer then proceeded to their destination. It turned out that it was severe winter in Sangamon County very cold and about 4 feet snow all winter . in the Spring Thomas Lincoln decided that he had enough of Sangamon County and started back to Indiana, he again stopped at Grandfather Sawyers place who Talked him in to locating there in Coles County Ills. he bought a 40 acre farm about five miles from Grandfathers place , later he entered 80 acres of Government land in what was known then, as "Goosenest Prairie" about 15 miles south east of Mattoon Ills or four miles from where I was born and reared. Abe helped build a long cabin and barn and split enough rails to fence it, having got his father and mother settled he left home to make his fortune and went from there to Salem Ills where he clerked in a store and made a flat boat trip to New Orleans and later studied law. This homestead where he left his father and mother is now a state park ,the log cabin log barn ash hoppers rail fence and house funishing has been reproduced and looks the same is in earl days when it was build. Your Aunt Frances and I visited it several years ago. Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln are buried near by in a small country cemetry known as Shilo cemetry. This brings us up to Grandfather Charles Sawyer who was born in 1820 near Mattoon, on later, though think he was bora in Kentucky, in1849 when the gold rush was on in Calif. he went with a party, from Ills they drove ox teams to Calif fought the Indians across the plains and landed in Calif after a trip of six months. He settled down to mining and teaming and accumulated a nice nest egg and decided to return to Illinois , he went to San Francisco caught a sailing ship sailed to the isthmus of Panama walked across it and caught a ship for New Orleans , landing there on Christmas day 1851 with three thousand dollars in gold , he caught a steam boat to St. Louis and walked overland
to Mattoon Ills a distance of 120 miles (All this was before they had any Railroads) he married and bought a farm where my Mother Georgia Sawyer was born July 22 1853. Which brings us up to my mother . She received a college education which very few had in those days , and was a school teacher. She, her mother and Dtr Zelpha Three generations of the Sawyer Family taught school in the Wabash school , south of Mattoon Ills . When a small child she saw the great Lincoln and Douglass debate In Charleston Ill in 1858 . In 1875 she was married to Henry Michael Ozee and they bought a farm about seven miles south of Mattoon ,where I was Born July 9th 1881. I got a country school education also a year in college where I learned Telegraphy and took my first Job as agent and opr for the Illinois Central RR at New Lebanon Ind In may 1901, I came to the Mo Pac in 1903 , I have been agent and Telegrapher , manager of Relay office , train dispatcher Chief train dispatcher and car distributor , next May will have had 51 years railroad service , very few men in my department on the road have had more service than I.

So Much for the Sawyer side of the family, will now start with the Ozee's The name is French and have been told that one of my ancestors came over with Lafayette and fought in the American Revolutionary war. Later settled with the early french settler the Chotaus and Lacleeds in St. Louis. Great Grand father Ozee bought furs and traded with the Indians and could speak their languages, later going to Kentucky . Where Grand father Joseph Ozee was born in the year 1813 , he moved to Indiana where Father Henry Michael Osee was born Nov 17 1846 , about the year 1862 Grandfather Ozee moved to a farm about l6 miles south of Mattoon Ills. at the age of 17 in 1863 father entered the army as a teamster and served until the duration of the civil war in 1865 , later he bought a farm and was successful farmer and stock raiser he had a liking for Politics and held several important. office under the Repubiican administration and was one of the political leaders of the county . Grandfather Ozee died in 1890 and is buried in Dolge grove cemetry in Mattoon Ills . My father died in 1906(?) and is buried in Muddy cemetry about 7 miles south east of Mattoon Ill. Mother died in 1915 and is buried in the same cemetry . Great Grandfathar Ozee lived to be 100 years old , I do not know where he is buried . Trust that this will be of some help to you , as the Sawyer side of the family was quite prominent in the early days in Illinois.

Trust that this will help you in your work ,and if you wants anything else let me know .

Love Grandad

dear Bob and Dick ; Janet had to write a theme about her ancestory and I am giving you a carbon copy of what I wrote her, though you might want to know something about it sometime , lets hear from you
Granddad

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