Cecil and Church Family Photo and History

Contributed by Nels P. Swanson

This is the family picture of Jasper Stephen CECIL and his wife Sarah Jane 'Jennie' Mullin. 50th Wedding Anniv. Sept 1916...they lived in Hennepin, Putnam, Illinois.
picture ID from Grace Monimia Watts Swanson ..from left; Florence M Cecil Church, Cecil Church, Jennie Cecil, Jap Cecil, Jayne Church, Mozella Cecil. @ 1919 at their house or at the Watts house in Peru, (based on the flowers in front of Jap and Jennie ..it must be their 50th Wedding Anniv. Sept. 1916)...

This picture was in my mother's pictures. She was the former Grace Monimia Watts of Peru, Lasalle, Illinois. b'1904 d.1991 m. 1942 Oscar Swanson ...
-- Nels P. Swanson

While working on the Daft family, a friend had found some interesting paintings done by Kate Monimia Cox Daft. Kate is my great grandmother b.1848-d.1897. They were dated 1880 and with them was a note; to be given to Kate's grandson, Harry Daft, done Nov 1938, signed Florence Church. My friend asked if I knew of Florence Cecil and how she was connected to the Daft family. I did not have an answer.

In going through my collection of family records and pictures from my mother and aunt, I found the picture of the Cecil Family. My mother had identified the people on the back of the picture. Jasper Cecil is identifed as 'Uncle Jap' and his wife as 'Aunt Jennie'. The others were identified as Florence Church, Cecil Church, Jayne Church, and Mozella Cecil.

This picture prompted me to search for the family on Ancestry. I found many trees connected to this family, but little information about them. So I created my own tree based on this family and began connecting other trees and census and records from Ancestry.

What I found was that Jasper Cecil and parents were in Peru, Illinois in the 1850 census. Kate Monimia Cox and her mother were there at the same time and Kate was a few years younger than Jasper. Did the families know each other? I don't know. However, Jasper's parents, father b. Pennsylvania and wife b. Kentucky were similar to Kate's parents. Kates father b. Pennsylvania mother b. Kentucky and bother families had traveled to Illinois about the same time in the 1830s from Kentucky. Occupations of fathers were different, Kate's father was a Physician and Cecil's father a blacksmith.

Jasper's daughter, Florence b. 1871, was a close contemporary to Kate's daughter, Rebecca Monimia Daft b. 1874. They, I believe, did know each other. Whether it was just a close friendship and thus referred to as "Uncle Jap' and "Aunt Jenny' by Rebecca Daft to her daughter's(my Aunt and my mother) or is there a family connection. Going back to earlier generations in Pennsylvania, there is one wife with a middle name of 'Morrow', a possible connection to the 'Morrow' family of Pennsylvania?
Kate's grandmother was a 'Morrow' from Pennsylvania who married James G Armstrong in Kentucky and moved into Indiana then Illinois by 1836, when Kate's mother(Rebecca Armstrong) married William John Cox, 1836 in Ottawa, Illinois. James G. Armstrong, a Physician, in Ottawa died in 1840. One of Kate's Uncle's was named, Morrow Pogue Armstrong.

There appears to be some information that indicates or hints at a family connection. But no proof. Another tidbit is that Florence' daughter, Jayne Church, was born 1902 and was two years older than my mother. In 1930 Jayne is listed as a teacher at Illinois State Normal. It is during the 1920's-1930 that my mother and my Aunt attended Illinois State Normal. Where they students together? Or was Jayne one of their teachers?

Back to the note with the paintings. November 1938 was a few months after my grandfather's death. My grandmother, Rebecca Monimia Daft Watts was in the process of finalizing his estate. During 1938 they sold the house and by 1940 my grandmother was living in Peoria with her son. It would appear that my grandmother entrusted the delivery of the paintings to Harry Daft to her friend/relative, Florence Cecil Church. If Florence actually owned the paintings in question, why would she pass them on to Harry Daft at that time in history? Florence lived until 1967 so it would seem if the paintings were hers, she would have them until 1967.

More questions than answers!
-- Nels P. Swanson