Ya’ll Know ‘Ol George – Now, Read About His Kids #1 Right Here
Can’t imagine there would be even one person reading this who has not heard of one of our most famed Revolutionary War soldiers, George (often called George Jr or Alamo George) Fruits. His wife was Catherine Stonebraker and his children mainly married a member of other Alamo-oriented families.
Well, believe me there has been much written about Alamo George; I myself have two or three times featured him, but this little mini-series for the next few weeks in my column isn’t going to be about him per se, but about his children.
First up, is Jacob Fruits, born 13 March 1806 with many references that he was born in Indiana but since that is ten years prior to statehood, I would think not. His sisters Susan and Elizabeth were born in Butler County, Ohio and that’s where I’m about 99% sure he was born. Certainly, he grew-up in Indiana and married right here in Montgomery County to Catherine Weir on October 2nd in 1830. She was the mother of their eight children: Catherine, Henry, Margaret Jane, Mary Ann, Sarah Elizabeth, George, John Sebastian, and Robert F; all but the last two born in MoCo.
In 1844, Jacob and Catherine moved their family (ranging from a nine-year-old son and four daughters, one being seven, one five and two age three to Iowa. What a trip that must have been! Three more sons were born while they dwelled in Page County, Iowa. Two of Jacob’s brothers, William and Sebastian were there as well but not at the same time and William only a brief three years. Of course, more about them in upcoming articles!
In 1850, Jacob owned 100 acres of improved land in Page County with $75 worth of farm equipment which I guess produced his 1500 bushels of Indian corn and 200 bushels of oats. His animals included four horses, five mules (I changed the name from what the Agricultural Census had these animals listed as – I’ll let you guess), two milk cows, 30 heads of cattle, 30 sheep, 370 swine and five oxen which he likely used for their overland trip to California two years later.
Catherine and Jacob’s children included Catherine born ten months after their wedding, in Montgomery County. She would marry John Linebaugh and would mother five children of her own, but only three growing to adulthood.
Henry, Jacob’s second child was born here in 1835, settled and died in Petersburg, Illinois. He married Frances Hudspeth who produced him a son and three daughters.
Margaret Jane, third child of Jacob died in Sebastian, California. She married George Ragle in late November, 1854 in Sonoma, California, living in the same home until her death 1 Feb 1918. Believe they had only one son, Alexander whom they adopted. The Ragles have a beautiful stone. Most of the children do, but Jacob sadly has none, just in the cemetery records.
Fourth child for Jacob and Catherine brought 1841 in – well, close to it – born the 2nd day of that year. Sarah Elizabeth died in Berkley, California Dec 19 in 1921 thus was a few days from being 81. She is also buried in the cemetery at Sebastopol with most of the rest of the family. She was first married to Francis Marion Pierce but he passed young and she remarried James C. Gentry and had their first child at age 27 (William, and also five others, the last one Florence born when she was 41).
Mary Ann was also born in 1841, in Montgomery on September 18th. She was just 47 when she passed away in November 1888. She is buried where most of her brothers and sisters and father are, in
Sebastopol, Sonoma County, California (Pleasant Hills). She married Abraham Linebaugh and they were parents of at least two children, Robert and Nellie who died when she was 14.
George would be the next child, showing-up in the 1850 census as age six and 1860 as a farm laborer, age 16, but …. Where oh where did George Go? I don’t know! If anyone else does, send his info my way, please!
John Sebastian (named for Great Gpa’ Stonebraker) was born March 19th, 1847 in Page County, Iowa and died at age 73 (19 April) in Klamath Falls, Oregon – is not buried in California with most of the family but in Linkville Pioneer Cemetery in Klamath Falls. He married Rachel McFarling and he fathered three children (Arthur, Warren, John). He was an active Mason there and considered a pioneer in that community.
Lastly, there was Robert F. Fruits, who was born August 23, 1850 in Iowa and died in San Luis (where he’s buried) 24 March 1910. He and Ella Swain were parents of three sons: George Alexander; Robert E. and Henry C. (a WWI veteran).
There is a small controversy regarding Catherine Weir Fruits. It is generally noted that she passed away in 1852 but whether it was on the way to California, just into California or when they got to where they were going but certainly it was in that time frame. Not long afterwards with all the children, he needed a wife and here you can see at age 52, he married widow Martha Ann Gauldin. They were married until his death in June, 1876. He had been planning a trip back to Indiana to see his parents “both over 100,” which was incorrect as his mother died at age 90 four years later. Ironically, his father excited to see him coming home, passed away just two months later.
So, there you have a brief overview of the oldest child of Alamo George Fruits. Jacob was said to have been honest, independent in thought, straight-forward in all his dealings and had been a continual subscriber to the Sonoma Democrat since 1830 (long before he went to California – maybe it was those fantastic ads that wooed him there)!!
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].