Thursday, April 13, 2023

Couser Family: The First Generation

William and Sarah Waddle Couser, represent the top-level generation for the Couser family and is designated generation Number 1. William was born in 1780 in Ireland. He married Sarah Waddle, who was born about 1781 and also from Ireland. According to his family, William resided in the Parish of Ballymore, probably near the small village of Poyntzpass. The William and Sarah Couser family were members of the Presbyterian faith and attended services at the Cremore Presbyterian Church, under the preaching of Pastor Alexander Strain, near the village of Poyntzpass.  William passed in 1842 and was buried in an unmarked grave in the old Acton Parish Cemetery Graveyard, situated between Poyntzpass and the village Acton in County Armagh.

Following his passing, Sarah Waddle Couser and four of her children, William, Ellen, Joseph, and Sarah, started their immigration to the United States on the steamer Oxford, departing on July 15, 1847.   The voyage lasted thirty-five days and they landed in Staten Island, NY, on August 19, 1847.  All five members of the family were sick upon arrival and were quarantined for 10 days, likely in the Quarantine Marine Hospital.  When they landed at Staten Island, they were not allowed to have their baggage, and thus their clothing, books, and family records were all lost.  Sarah Waddle Couser did not recover and died on August 21, 1847.  Sarah was buried in an unmarked grave on Staten Island, NY.  It wasn’t clear that Samuel, their second son who previously arrived in America in 1830, was allowed to visit Sarah before she died but did attend her burial.  Because of ill health, the other family members didn’t attend Sarah’s burial.

The 19th century immigrant remains, which were previously buried on Staten Island in unmarked graves, were dug up and reinterred in an underground vault on the grounds of the new courthouse in Staten Island's St. George neighborhood on April 27, 2014.

Map of County Armagh, Ballymore Parish
Map of County Armagh, Ballymore Parish within Blue Circle

Front Gate Acton Cemetery
Front Gate of Acton Cemetery Graveyard

Acton Cemetery, Unmarked, Unkept Graves
Acton Cemetery, Unmarked, Unkept Graves

Acton Cemetery, Unkempt, Unmarked Graves
Acton Cemetery, Unmarked, Unkept Graves

Quarantine Maritime Hospital,  Staten Island
Quarantine Maritime Hospital,  Staten Island

Site of Moved Unmarked Graves, Former Maritime Hospital

Saturday, April 8, 2023

William Quinter Calvert

William Quinter Calvert, a minister of the Brethren Church, was married to the daughter of Thomas Couser, a 2nd generation member of William Couser lineage. Wm. Q. Calvert and David Gray Couser recorded the Couser family history and presented this narration to a Couser Family Reunion held on September 27, 1898 at the old Thomas Couser home. The Couser homestead was located nearly one mile southeast of May Hill, a village in Bratton township, Adams Co., Ohio.

Wm. Q. Calvert was born on August 7, 1851 in Franklin township, Adams Co., Ohio to Mills Calvert and Susannah Garman Calvert. Mills Calvert, born November 8, 1818 in West Virginia, was a farmer and minister of the Church of the German Brethren. His grandfather was Francis Calvert who was in a long line of Calverts, one of whom was Gov. of Maryland and one was Lord Baltimore of Maryland's earliest history. Mills Calvert died on June 12, 1877 and is interred at Dunkard Ridge Cemetery, Elmville, Highland Co., Ohio.

Wm. Q. Calvert accepted Christ at the age of 13, and by the time he was 19, he had taught eight terms of school. At age 21, Wm. Q. Calvert married Susan Elizabeth Couser on January 30, 1873 in May Hill, Adams Co., Ohio. Susan E. Couser, the 8th child of Thomas Couser and Rachel Orr Burns Couser, was born on December 14, 1854 in Adams Co., Ohio. 

Wm. Q. and Susan Calvert had 11 children, including Cora Emma (1874-1953), Susan (1876-1876), Thomas Mills (1878-1960), Albert (1880-1880), Jesse Arthur (1881-1952), Tirzah (1883-1976), Anna Rose (1887-1912), David William (1890-1971), Walter Quinter (1892-1906), George Carmen (1896-1982), Hazel (1901-1992).

William Quinter and Susan Couser Calvert Family
William Quinter and Susan Elizabeth Couser Calvert Family

In April, 1877, Wm. Q. Calvert and his uncle William Calvert were called to the Brethren Ministry. The group of Brethren Churches in that part of Adams County, Ohio, consisted of the May Hill Church, Strait Creek Church, The Ridge Church and the Marble Furnace Church. They underwent independent reorganizations in 1880. Wm. Q. and William were brought into the ministry structure for these churches, and were elevated to the second degree of the Brethren ministry. It was said Wm. Q. Calvert, in order to meet the breadth of his preaching assignments, traveled two thousand miles annually, mostly on horseback. He had the joy of seeing more than 250 church followers under his preaching, supervising a 100 funerals, and officiating at 150 weddings.

William. Q. Calvert resided in Ohio until 1900, when he moved to the Inglewood and Glendora areas of California, where he was engaged in Evangelical church functions. After his wife Susan passed in 1912, he moved to La Verne CA In 1913, where he served in the Brethren ministry until he retired. Wm. Q. Calvert married Mary V. Ebersole on January 30, 1916.

At age 74, Wm. Q. Calvert passed at his home at 333 E Fifth Street, La Verne, CA, on December 16, 1925. He was interred at Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, CA., along with his wives Susan E. Couser Calvert and Mary V. Calvert.
Grave Marker, Wm. Quinter Calvert
Grave Marker, Wm. Quinter Calvert

Grave Marker, Susan Couser Calvert
                                                 Grave Marker, Susan Couser Calvert

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Arthur Pearle Couser

4th Generation: Arthur Pearle Couser

Arthur Pearle Couser, born on Feb. 8, 1877, was the third son of John Burns Couser and Rachel Alice Guthrie Couser. He was born in Mondale, Harrison County, Iowa. In 1889, by the time Arthur Pearle was 3 years of age, John Burns Couser and Rachel Couser moved to a farm in Lincoln township, Story Co., Iowa. Arthur P. received his early education through the 8th grade in a country school located northwest of Zearing, IA. He later received further education at Iowa State Normal School in Cedar Falls, now known as University of Northern Iowa. Arthur Pearle Couser married Daisy Lois Fleming on March 26, 1902 at the Christian Church of Zearing. Arthur and Daisy attended the same country school but only knew of each other. Arthur P. and Daisy were married by Rev. Simon Skogsberg. Arthur was a member of the Evangelical Church, which was the planned site for the wedding, but this church burned down days prior to the wedding date and the wedding was shifted to the Christian Church at Zearing. 

Arthur Pearle and Daisy Wedding
Arthur Pearle and Daisy Wedding
Arthur and Daisy Couser celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on March 26, 1967 at a large gathering of family and friends at a dinner held at the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Zearing, IA. The event was covered by a local newspaper and reporter. The report covered their courtship, noting that they met after Arthur Pearle’s father, John Burns Couser, hired Daisy Fleming as a hired hand on the farm. Shortly thereafter, they developed the beginning of a life-lasting relationship, where they took long walks and discussed their future plans for their life together, their plans for a home on a farm, where they would live and raise their family.

65th Wedding Anniversary, 1967
65th Wedding Anniversary, 1967

Arthur Pearle Couser was a life-long member of his church of Zearing, IA and held many positions and offices in the church. He was a well-known and versatile farmer, pioneering in soybean production. He was also an avid gardener, school teacher, amateur artist, sorghum maker, 4-H leader, and a beloved father, grandfather and great grandfather. Arthur Pearle Couser passed on August 20, 1976 at the age of 99. Daisy Fleming Couser passed on September 30, 1969 at the age of 89. Both Arthur P. and Daisy Couser are interred at the Zearing Cemetery Mausoleum in Zearing, Story Co., Iowa.

John Burns Couser Story

John Burns Couser, the fourth child of Thomas Couser and Rachel Orr Burns Couser, was born on December 3, 1845 in Adams Co., Ohio. During the American Civil War between 1861-1865, as a young lad of 19 years of age, John B. Couser enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 5, 1864 in Gallipolis, Ohio in Company G, 172nd Ohio National Guard. He also enlisted on February 11, 1865 in Company K, 188th Regimen of Ohio infantry volunteers. During his military service, he was appointed as an orderly to the generals in the camp, and was honorably discharged on September 21, 1865. For his service in the American Civil War, he was awarded a pension as a war survivor, as reported in the Omaha Daily Bee, July 5, 1902.

John Burns Couser Family

Back Row (L-R): Flora Wright, Alta Aaron Couser, Grace Craft Couser, Carrie Craft, Grandmother Rachel Couser, Maude Albright, Cora Albright Couser, Henry Herbert Couser, Ollie Wright, Daisy Fleming Couser, Arthur Pearle Couser,  Mary Elizabeth Skogsberg, unknown, Mrs. Albright, May Couser, Arthur L. Couser

Middle Row (L-R): James Burns Couser, John Craft, Rev. Simon Skogsberg, Baby Skogsberg, William. Albright, Thomas Grant Couser

Front Row (L-R): Boy Skogsberg No. 1, Boy Craft No. 1, Boy Craft No. 2,  Boy Skogsberg No. 2, Skogsberg Boy No. 3, Harry Couser, Edward James Couser

John Burns Couser married Rachel Alice Guthrie on October 5, 1871 in May Hill, Ohio, and lived on a farm in that area for 1½ years. In 1873, they moved to Southwest Iowa near Modale and California Junction. By 1880, John and Rachel Couser moved to the site that became their family farm in Lincoln Township, Story Co., IA, where they resided for 22 years. Later, they moved into the town of Zearing, IA.

In his obituary, his accounting describing the early years of married life on the farm included: “The early years of married life were filled with hardship and privation; homes were far separated and no ready means of communication; many day visitors were Indians; night vigils were frequently interrupted by howling packs of wolves; money was hard to obtain; markets were far distant and fuel must be brought by team and wagon over swampy prairies for a distance of 25 miles. Winters were long and severe. The first Winter they were in Story County snow came before any corn was husked and it remained until Spring. Men went thru their corn fields dragging a sack behind them picking the ears protruding from the snow.”

To the union of John Burns Couser and Alice Guthrie Couser, five children were born. The eldest was Thomas Grant Couser, who was born in Ohio, on July 8, 1872. Quinter Antrim Couser was born on August 18, 1874 and died in his infancy on September 20, 1876. Arthur Pearle Couser was born on February 8, 1877 in Modale, Harrison Co., Iowa. Alta Aaron Couser was born on March 3, 1879 in Iowa. The last child was Herbert Henry Couser, who was born on October 29, 1881 on the family farm in Story Co., Iowa.

John Burns and Rachel Couser
John Burns and Rachel Couser

John Burns Couser resided on his family farm in Lincoln Township before the town of Zearing was founded in 1881, and later incorporated in 1883. John Burns Couser was raised in the Presbyterian faith and remained deeply united with church service since age 15. After moving to Lincoln Township in Iowa, he became united with the Evangelical Church, which was initially located in the first school house in Lincoln Township called Winkham School. The Evangelical church later moved to a new location in the town of Zearing after its founding. John Burns Couser functioned as the church’s financial steward for 38 consecutive years. 

In his obituary, John Burns Couser was said to have provided a great service to humanity, as a soldier, school teacher, farmer, stockman, township assessor, and devoted church worker. John Burns Couser passed on May 31, 1927. Rachel Alice Guthrie Couser passed on February 24, 1944 in Zearing, IA. John and Rachel Couser are interred at the Zearing Cemetery, Zearing, Story County, Iowa.