DeKalb County Missouri
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Joseph Hahn Dalton
submitted by researcher, Louis Dolton




Joseph Hahn Dalton

Joseph Hahn Dalton was born in Galesburg, Illinois, on Tuesday, September 1st, 1840, to Richmond and Priscilla Dolton. Joseph's father, Richmond, was a farmer, so it was natural that Joseph should become one. Joseph grew up working on his father's farm, learning about soil, seed, weeds, and weather. He made friends with the plow, the mule, and other farming implements. Joseph moved around a bit. Some time prior to 1855 Richmond moved his family to Dekalb County, Missouri, moving by steamboat. In Lucetta Weishaar's obituary, Richmond's daughter, Lucetta (Dalton) Weishaar (Joseph's sister), is quoted as remembering that, "She was born at Goldsburg, Illinois, and moved to St. Joseph with her parents when she was a small girl. The trip was made by steamboat." Lucetta was actually born in Galesberg, but Goldsburg and Galesberg sound similar when you say them so I think maybe folks misunderstood her when she told them where she was born. In the 1860 and 1880 US Federal Census Richmond is listed living in Washington Township, Dekalb County, Missouri, as a farmer along with his wife Priscilla and their children. So it's likely that while the family traveled to St Joseph, Missouri, they actually continued their travels from there to Washington Township and that's where they made their home. Joseph left Dekalb County and moved to Madison County. There he courted the woman who was to be his wife, Sarah Isabel Thornton. She had a huge family, but he was used to large families. Still, it took a lot of courage for him to propose marriage to that young woman. Joseph was always tall for his age and as an adult stood 6 foot 1 inch tall. He had brown hair and blue eyes and was of a lean build. He sported a large, well groomed mustache. He worked hard at farming; from daylight to dusk. He was strong and had great endurance. There was always a surplus that he could take to town and sell for hard cash so he could buy the things the family needed that he could not make or raise himself.

At the outbreak of the American Civil War, Joseph and his little family was living in Madison County, in South East Missouri. There was a large group of Sarah's family living there. Here again, Joseph was farming. The land here isn't the best farming area. The region is actually a high and deeply dissected plateau. Geologically, the area is a broad dome around the Saint Francois Mountains. The County is heavily forested, hilly, has no rivers, and few creeks. Fortunately, the iron plow was built in 1837 by John Deere at Grand Detour, Illinois. This made plowing easier and faster as it didn't break as often. Missouri's Civil War actually began about seven years before the American Civil War in the conflict known as "Bleeding Kansas." "Bleeding Kansas" was a conflict that simmered and occasionally broke out into armed conflict between an anti-slavery faction known as Free-Staters and a pro-slavery faction referred to as "Border Ruffians." It took place in the Kansas Territory and the western frontier towns of the of Missouri between 1854 and 1858. The conflict was over the question of whether Kansas would enter the Union as a Free State or slave state. What happened was that, as it became apparent that Kansas would pursue statehood, many people from the North and South hurried to Kansas in order to try and vote Kansas over to their side.

In 1861 at the start of the Civil War there was fighting over whether Missouri would enter the war as on the side of the North or the South. In the end, Missouri voted both to enter the war as a free state and a slave state. The governor, who was pro-slavery, convened the legislature in the town of Neosho, Missouri that declared Missouri's secession from the Union and alliance with the Confederate States. The Confederacy recognized this conventions work and accepted Missouri into the Confederate States. However, only the State Convention could do this. When the governor left town, the State Convention declared his position vacant and filled it. They met and voted overwhelming to stay in the Union with the North. President Lincoln recognized the convention's work and acknowledged Missouri as part of the Union. But, this was all over, and the Civil War was underway when Joseph moved to Madison County, Missouri. Missouri was the northern-most state where slavery was legally permitted. That meant that the Civil War in Missouri was going to be vicious and it was. Missouri was the site of more engagements (over 1,000) than any state except Virginia and Tennessee. Throughout the war, no one in Missouri was secure in their person or property.

For the siege of Vicksburg, Missouri furnished thirty-nine regiments: seventeen Confederate and twenty-two Union. Missouri sent more men to war, in proportion to her population, than any other state. The number of documented Missouri Volunteers who served was over one hundred and ninety-nine thousand. In 1862, Joseph Dolton's's first daughter was born; Almeda Dolton. The name Almeda is used in many cultures. The American meaning of the name is "field of cottonwoods." Joseph served the Confederacy during the American Civil War with General Sterling "Pap" Price who became one of the important Confederate generals in the war. Joseph was my 2nd great grandfather. "On May 10, 1861, Claiborne Fox Jackson, Governor of Missouri, and General Price met with the Missouri head of Federal troops, Nathaniel Lyon. This meeting, which took place at Planter's House Hotel in St. Louis, did not end well, and it was clear that the Federal troops intended to drive Jackson and his government, which had proven to be secessionist, out of power. Price and Jackson fled St. Louis, burning bridges and cutting telegraph lines as they went. Price gathered the Missouri State Guard against the advancing Federal army of General Lyon. After defeating the Federal army at Wilson's Creek in August 1861, Price continued to occupy southwest Missouri until March 1862. At that time, the superior Federal army of General Samuel Curtis drove Price south into Arkansas, defeating him and Confederate troops under General Benjamin McCulloch at the Battle of Pea Ridge.

Price took his remaining army and officially joined the Confederate army. He took a command under General P. G. T. Beauregard, fighting in Tennessee, Mississippi, and Virginia. In 1864, Price returned to Missouri with an invasion of troops designed to disrupt the state election and pull Union resources away from conflicts in the East. Following the major conflicts at Pilot Knob and Westport, Price and his army were repelled. Price's 1864 raid was the last major military action inside Missouri during the war." In 1863 or 1864 Joseph packed up and moved his family to Kansas for awhile. The American Indians had just ceded the last of their lands in Kansas to the US Government in 1854 and so this land was opened up to settlement. Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 establishing the Kansas Territory that included the land from the Missouri border to the summit of the Rocky Mountain range (now in central Colorado).

Joseph's family might have traveled up through St Louis, Rolla, Jefferson City, Columbia, and Kansas City where they crossed over into Kansas. This would have been a trip of about 450 miles and would have taken over fifteen days overland. But, rivers were the highways of that time and the Missouri River splits Missouri in half traveling from St Joseph, MO, to Independence, MO, to St Louis, MO. A steamship could have gotten Joseph's family there in less than a week. There were many such boats going up the Missouri from St Louis because Independence, MO, was the jumping off point for the Santa Fe Trail, Oregon Trail, and California Trail. Later this jumping off point for the Oregon Trail, and California Trail moved up to St Joseph, MO, as it got travelers several days closer by the river, than Independence, before they had to start walking. St Joseph was just across the river from Kansas. Once they got to Kansas Joseph bought a small farm and got back to work providing for his family.

Frank and Bill Dolton were born in Kansas during this time. Bill was born the year the Civil War ended. I guess that means Joseph came home at least once during the War. Several years after the end of the Civil War, they moved back to Missouri, just across the border in Clarksdale. James Dolton was born after the family returned to Missouri in 1868 and the rest of Joseph's children born after James were born in Missouri. On June 10, 1880, the day D.B. Todd, census taker for the 1880 US Federal Census, visited Joseph's farm in Washington Township, DeKalb County, Missouri, there were eight family members living in the home. There were Joseph, Sarah I., Almeda A., Frank, James I., Edmund R., Birdy, and Ennis (who died at age three). There may also have been daughters named Hattie and Lissie. Hattie's given name may have been Harriet or Harriett since Hattie is a common nickname for Harriet. But, I have no evidence to support this. I don't know where I found a record that Joseph and Sarah had a daughter named Hattie Dolton. I've searched for Hattie, Harriet or Harriett Dolton or Dalton and cannot now find a source, but I'm reluctant to delete her record. The same thing is true for Lissie Dolton who may be Elizabeth Dolton. The fact that they share the same date of birth and date of death is a matter of concern. Perhaps they are one person named Elizabeth Harriet Dolton. There is an "E Dolton", the daughter of J Dolton and SE Dolton, in the 1875 Kansas State Census who I have not recorded as a child of Joseph and Sarah, but she was born about 1862 rather than 1868.

The children of Joseph and Sarah were raised like most kids in the heartland of America at the time. There was no road noise, no airplanes flying overhead, no television or movies, no computer games. When they were young they stayed around the house, did a lot of running around, played tag and hide and seek, and wrestled with each other, climbing trees, chasing birds and varmits, throwing rocks or maybe a ball, and playing with their dog. On rainy days they stayed indoors and drew pictures, read to each other, and played checkers. But, whatever they did, they got in trouble and tested the rules to see how far they could go before Mom would get after them with a fly swatter or wooden spoon. As they got a little older they played mumbly peg with their pocket knives, shot marbles, rode the plow horse, and hunted varmits. Mom made dolls for the girls out of whatever materials were available. They had chores like taking care of their siblings; feeding the chickens and pigs, fetching in wood, coal, and water; cleaning the globes on the kerosene lamps; setting and clearing the table; and Dad built a little stool they could stand on so they could help with washing and drying the dishes. The girls would stand on a kitchen chair and stir to mix something in a bowl while Mom was working on something else. There were the inevitable visits to grandma and grandpa's house. Certainly they went there for Thanksgiving and Christmas. There was so much food. They went to visit aunts and uncles where they got acquainted with their cousins and learned a new set of rules. Because every family had their own set of rules about everything including playing in the house, cleaning up your plate, and rules for games. You know it's true.

Then, just as the boys got big enough to feel their oats and start ranging further afield, Dad decided they were big enough to start helping with the farm work. They got reined in and some of them felt this was unfair and became a little rebellious because of course none of their friends had to do this. But, with time, they got over it and begin to enjoy working with their father and doing the work that would lead to them becoming adult men. They learned about taking care of the larger farm animals, mucking out stalls, plowing, planting, weeding, and harvesting. They learned about the seasons, seed, fertilizer, the weather, soils, and reducing erosion. Both the pleasant and unpleasant sounds and smells stay with them forever. The pleasant smell of Mom's lilac plant growing by the back door, the wind blowing through the line of trees north of the house, the clean smell after a rain storm passes by, the earthy smell of the freshly turned soil in the field behind your plow, and the smell of the kitchen when you come in from cold spring day of work.

Joseph was a subsistence farmer, but he was successful. He and his family was able to be well dressed, well fed, and had the wherewithal to travel to attend family reunions. In 1906 there was a large Dolton reunion in Kansas City where about seventy family members and in-laws showed up. Joseph and his family made the sixty mile trip down from Clarksburg, Missouri, to Kansas City to the reunion to see his father, some of his thirteen siblings and their families.

Richmond Dolton (1815 ? 1899) + Priscilla Hahn (1823 ? 1861)
Joseph Hahn Dolton (Birth 9/1/1840 in Galesburg, Knox, Illinois;
Death 1/16/1918 in Clarksdale, Missouri)
+ Sarah Isabel Thornton (1838 ? 1888)
Almeda A Dolton (1861 ? 1921)
Frank Dolton (1864 ? 1952)
William R Dolton (1865 ? 1878)
James Joseph Dolton (1867 ? 1952)
John Calvin Dolton (1871 ? 1872)
Edward Ransome Dolton (1873 ? 1933)
Bird Dolton (1876 ? 1937)
Ennis Dolton (1880 ? 1883)

[Researched and Written by gg-grandson Louis Dolton.]


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