Fruits #4 – Sebastian Fruits & Family left our midst – wonder what would have been in his life had he stayed here?

Finding Fruits in MoCo is fairly easy – they are Fruits, as in people with a capital F indicating that important fact, but in Page County, Iowa, if you search Fruits then almost invariably. you receive fresh, raw, dried, canned, choice and – for sale!! Page County is of course where Sebastian John Merriott old George Fruits and wife, Catherine Stonebraker’s fourth child tootled off to live!

Sebastian was born the second day of the year in 1815, Butler County, Ohio, of course lived in Montgomery fifteen years or so then went to farming near Shambaugh, Iowa where he passed away Feb. 23, 1891. Would have had a nice obituary had he stayed here, but alas, I found none in Page County. While here, on 24 November 1835, he married Matilda (also found as Mathilda) May Wray (born in Ohio 14 May 1814 and died 8 Nov 1889). They are buried together in Butler Cemetery (thanks to Ron Livengood for the FindAGrave photo), Shambaugh along with several of their children and grands. Sebastian was a farmer for many years, and in 1859, he was prominent in creating the Page County Agricultural Society holding one of the first offices (Director) of the newly found and badly needed group. He purchased 80 acres June 21, 1853 in Page where they raised their fairly large family. Evidently, he must have given property for a school, as well because part of his land had a school on it. Several people were mentioned as attending“Fruits’ School,” and guessing some of his children did, indeed.

For 23 years, Matilda was birthing babies, ten in all, the first born eleven-months after their marriage in MoCo, this one being David Marshall Fruits, who was a sgt. in Company A, 8th Regiment of the Iowa Cavalry. In 1859 he had married (Page County) Mary Miranda Frier and they had two of their four sons and two daughters before he went off to war where he served as a Sgt. His family moved to Cowley County, Kansas.

The second child of Sebastian John Merriott Fruits and Matilda May Wray was Sebastian Meriott (called Ott) also born in Montgomery County marrying Mary Spitler 27 Jan 1861 in Page County. Sadly, he passed away two years later, I believe in the Civil War, but don’t quote me on that one!

George William was born April 25, 1839 in Montgomery and passed away 5 January 1893 buried Butler Cemetery in Shambaugh. He married Elizabeth Journey and they had several children, including Sebastian, Charles, John, Albert, George and Henrietta; however, I don’t know what happened to Elizabeth or any of the children, but son John born 22 April 1870 in Clarinda, Iowa died March 6, in 1939 at the Park County, Iowa County Poor farm from hypertension, myocarditis and other complications.

Minerva “Jane” Fruits was born 3 August 1842 in MoCo, died Page Co 22 Aug 1923 and married George Bix, who was born in Bodham, Norfolk, England. Died Page Co Jan 1912. Don’t believe they had children but at his death, he supplied Jane with a mighty fine inheritance, also leaving money to their church and a friend, as well as part of his property to a Bix nephew whom he dearly loved!

Sebastian’s daughter, Matilda Ann Fruits was born about 1843 also in Indiana not long before they likely left this great place. She never married, found in the census records with her parents. Do believe she had a heart condition, sadly.

Mary Catherine was often called Mary C, Catherine or Kate in records. She was their first born in Page County, Iowa where she grew to adulthood. On May 18, 1866 in Page County, she married Solomon Beery. Solomon was the son of Joseph and Anna Beery, one of ten children. His father deeded him 80 acres of land not far from the Fruits family. The family engaged for a dozen years or more on the farm, but then he decided he wanted to go into the merchandising business in Shambaugh. That they did. Their children numbered eight: Lorenzo, David M (named for her brother, David Marshall Fruits), Anna, Mary E and Esta F, as well as Joseph, Evaline, and Earle who passed young.. They were extremely respected community members and were active members in the Church of Christ in Shambaugh.

The next sister, Sarah Elizabeth, married Emanuel Beery. They lived in the Clarinda, Iowa area and were blessed with five children: Martha M, Lizzie, Minerva, Earnest and Peter born between 1870-1881.

Martha Caroline, was born in Page County 8 June 1851 and passed away in Shambaugh on 26 Oct 1912, buried in the Butler Cemetery. She married a Putnam County, Indiana boy born there 19 April 1848, (George William Harrison) died 2 June 1930 Boise, Idaho) – they had four children, Robert Sebastian, George William, Frances Mary and Julia Williams (died one year old). Note: although it often makes for confusion when doing genealogy, I personally love how you see George and Sebastian throughout this Fruits family.

Julia Ann Nevada – odd, some of these Fruits have three or four unusual names while others have one or no more than two plain ones. Julie passed away on 7 July 1932 in Shambaugh. She is buried in the same cemetery with her parents and husband, another Beery, James. Solomon and James Beery were brothers but not sure how Emanuel is relation, I would guess a 1st cousin. I believe four children were born to this Beery clan – Loren, May, Roy and Noah Ben.

Thus you have more fruits from the best-known Fruit, old John George Alamo Fruits and his fourth child, (John) Sebastian. And, just think had he stayed here, someone in your family might have married into Alamo George’s. Ya’ just never know. Rest in peace, Sebastian, and all!

Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her column, Around the County, appears each Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County. You can reach her at [email protected]