Tuesday, May 2, 2023

John Thomas Couser Family

John Thomas Couser, third generation
John Thomas Couser
John Thomas Couser was the sixth child of Thomas and Rachel Orr Burns Couser. He and his siblings represent the third generation of the William Couser family lineage. He was born on December 5, 1849 at the Thomas Couser home near the village of May Hill, Bratton Township, Adams County, Ohio. The 1870 US Census indicated, at age 20, he resided with his parents, along with siblings, William Henry (age 28), James (age 24), Susan Elizabeth (age 15), David Gray (age 17), Margaret Rachel (age 13), Nancy Haddassah (age 10), and Joseph Andrew Richie Couser (age 8).

At age 21, John Thomas Couser married Rachel Ann Fillmore on February 9, 1871 in Mount Etna, Adams County, Iowa. Rachel Ann Fillmore was born in June of 1851 in Maryland to John Henry Fillmore and Sarah Fillmore-Zook. During their marriage, John Thomas and Rachel Fillmore Couser had 8 children: William Henry (1872-1924), Thomas Albert (1873-?), John Anthony (1874-1952), Sarah Etta (1879-1894), Bert Leroy (1881-1957), Joseph David (1885-1961), Edith Mae (1888-1982), and Irving (1894-1949).

John Thomas Couser and his family remained in Shelby County, Iowa for the next 2-3 decades, where he worked as a farmer, teacher, and was a member of the German Baptist Church. The US Census in 1885 revealed John Thomas Couser, at age 34, resided near the town of Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa, with his wife Rachel (age 32), and children William Henry (age 12), Thomas A. Couser (age 10), John Anthony Couser (age 7), Sarah Etta Couser (age 5), and Bertie R. Couser (age 2).

John Couser, Rachel Couser, Grave Site
John T. and Rachel Couser Grave Site

South Dakota

In 1898, John Thomas Couser and family moved to Marshall County, South Dakota, and In 1900, county records indicated he owned property in Dumarce, La Belle and Veblen Townships. The 1900 US Census revealed he lived with wife Rachel, sons John Anthony Couser, Joseph David Couser, daughter Edith M. Couser, son Irwin Couser, and house guest Anna M. Kimball, who was originally from Shelby County, IA. In 1901, Anna M. Kimball married John Anthony Couser.

In Marshall County, John Thomas Couser operated a farm in the aforementioned townships and taught at several rural schools. In 1908, he left the farm and moved to reside in the city of Britton, SD, also in Marshall County, remaining there until the time of his passing. He and Rachel Couser purchased property in Britton, on block 11 and lot 9, from Albert and Emma Brash on December 31, 1904 for a sum of $1000.00. He and wife Rachel were members of the German Brethren Church in Iowa, but after moving to South Dakota, they became devoted members of the Methodist Church in Britton, SD. The Methodist Missionary Society was hosted at the homes of Mrs. J. T. Couser and Mrs. C. N. Carver on several occasions. The 1910 US Census indicated John T. Couser resided in Britton, Ward 1, Marshall County, SD. with wife Rachel (age 57), son Irving (age 18) and mother-in-law Sarah Hyatt Fillmore (age 80).

After failing health for a week, John Thomas Couser passed on June 5, 1918 at age 68. He was buried on June 7, 1918 at the Britton Cemetery. Rachel Ann Fillmore Couser passed on September 28, 1932, at age 82. They were both interred in the Britton Cemetery, Old Cem Block 269, Lot 1, Spaces 5 & 6.

At the time of his passing, besides his wife Rachael, survivors included William H. Couser of Bonesteel, SD; John Anthony Couser of Veblen, SD; Bert L. Couser of Libertyville, IA; Joseph David Couser of Britton, SD; Mrs. Mae Fitting of Lake City, SD and Irving Couser of Galesburg, IL.

Children: John Thomas and Rachel Couser

Wm. H. Couser Wedding
William Henry and Leora Couser
William Henry Couser

William Henry Couser, first born of John Thomas and Rachel Couser, married Leora Etta Kimball on March 10, 1897 in Kirkman, Shelby County, Iowa. In the Spring of 1899, he settled near Laurel, Cedar County, Nebraska. In 1910, William H. Couser resided in Precinct 14, Cedar County, NE and was engaged in farming. THE "LEGACY OF NEBRASKA" book in 2017, by Todd Williams, featured the William H. Couser Barn located in Cedar Co., Nebraska. It was built for William H. Courser during 1912-13, in the second phase of centric barn construction in Nebraska, and convention holds that the design for the barn came from the University of Nebraska.

According to Williams, of the 35 “round” barns in the state of Nebraska, Cedar County claimed the Couser barn. It was actually a dodecagon or 12-sided cattle and horse feeding barn. The Couser barn is unique among other round barns for being 12-sided as polygonal-shaped barns were built with layouts including six, eight, ten and fourteen sides.

Round barns of the period 1905-1920 have feeding stalls around the outside ring. Twelve beams in the center of the main floor provide support for the roof and ground-level hay storage. One side of the barn has an extended face and traditional roof gable to accommodate the hay loft. Because of the light frame wood construction and weight distribution carried by the walls, the interior of the loft is unencumbered by beams. This allowed for efficient use of space for hay storage. The barn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
William Henry Couser Round Barn, Cedar County, Nebraska

Wm. Henry Couser Round Barn
William Henry Couser Round Barn, Cedar County, Nebraska

Approximately five years after the barn was built, William Henry Couser and family moved to South Dakota and resided in the Bonesteel area in Gregory County.  William Henry Couser passed in 1924 and is buried in the Britton Cemetery, Marshall Co., SD. The grave is located at OldCem Block, 269, Lot 1, space 3.  His wife Lenora Kimball Couser passed on February 3, 1932 and is buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery in Valentine, NE.  

Leora Kimball Couser
Wm. H. Couser Grave Marker

William Henry Couser is often confused with his father’s older brother of the same name, who died on March 18, 1912 and was buried at Tranquility Cemetery, Tranquility, Adams Co., Ohio.

John Anthony Couser

John Couser, Anna Couser,
John A. and Anna M. Couser

John Anthony Couser, the 2nd child of John Thomas and Rachel Couser, was born on July 31, 1874 in Maryville, Union County, Ohio. At age 27, he married Anna M. Kimball in Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa on February 27, 1901. John A. and Anna Couser initially lived with his parents in Marshall County, SD, and later resided on his own homestead. He worked as a farmer and later he retired to live in Sisseton, Roberts County, SD. John A. and Anna Couser had three children: Earl Chatham Couser (1902-1995), Elmer Anthony Couser (1903-1969) and Ester Elizabeth Couser (1905-1969). John A. Couser passed on June 10, 1952 and Anna M. Couser passed on April 1, 1969. Both were buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Sisseton, Roberts Co., SD.

Joseph David Couser

Joseph D. Couser
Joseph D. Couser
Joseph David Couser, the 5th child of John Thomas and Rachel Couser, was born on September 9, 1885 in Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa. At age 24, He married Mary Lavina Jones on November 25, 1909 in Britton, SD.
Mary L. Jones was born on October 13, 1891 in Partland, Chautauqua County, NY. He and Mary had seven children including: Verna Mae (1910-1991), Valetta Irene (1920-1981), Frederic (Fritz) George (1911-1984), Charles Anthem (1913-1986), Elwin Vern (1916-1917), Gayle Francis (1918-?), and Melvin Everett (1923-1987). 
Mary L. Jones Couser
Mary L. Jones Couser

This marriage ended in divorce and in 1930 Joseph D. Couser lived with his mother Rachel Couser in Miller Township, near Britton, SD. In 1940, the US Census indicated Joseph lived with his common law wife Cora in Long Hollow Township in Roberts County, SD. In 1940, Mary Lavina Couser lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa with sons Charles A., Melvin E. and daughter Valetta I. Couser. Joseph David Couser passed on November 5, 1961 and is buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Sisseton, Roberts County SD alongside his wife Cora. 

Mary Lavina Couser passed on September 27, 1972 and is buried at Cedar Memorial Park Cemetery, Cedar Rapids, Linn County, Iowa.

Irving Couser

Irving Couser was born on October 10, 1894 in Marshalltown, Marshall County, Iowa. The 1900 US Census indicated Irving at age 8 lived with his parents and siblings in Marshall County, South Dakota. At age 18, he lived in Britton SD with his parents, John Thomas (age 61), Rachel Couser (age 57) and grandmother Rachel Zook (age 82). Irving married Mattie Douglas and in 1925 Irving lived in Galesburg, Knox County, IL., along with Mattie’s father, John R. Douglas, mother Sarah Douglas, brother Earl Douglas and William K. Glenn, Charles Spitzer and Lewis Turney. Irving passed on December 6, 1949 in Rock Island, IL.

Edith Mae Couser

Edith Mae Couser was born in September of 1888 in Iowa. She married Peter Fred Fitting in 1904. Edith Mae and Peter Fitting had six children, including Garnett, Ruby May, Pearl, Harold, Floyd and Irving F. Fitting. In 1930, the US Census indicated Edith Mae resided with husband Fred Peter Fitting and daughters Pearl age 17, Ruby age 14 and son Irving age 19 in McKinley Township, Marshall County, SD. Peter Fitting passed on April 20, 1943 at age 62. Edith Mae married Lyman Miller Booth on February 14, 1944 in Vancouver, Clark Co., Washington. Edith Mae passed at age 93 on April 1982 in Pasco, Franklin County, Washington.

Sarah Etta Couser

Sarah Etta Couser was born on February 14, 1879 and passed on July 27, 1894 at age 15. Etta is buried at Brethren Cemetery in Batavia, Jefferson County, Iowa.

Thomas Albert Couser

Thomas Albert Couser was born in 1873 in Harlan, Shelby County, Iowa. At age 23, He married Della Stoker, age 18, on December 22, 1896 in Shelby County, Iowa.

Bert Leroy Couser

Bert Leroy Couser was born on December 23, 1881 in Harlan, Shelby County Iowa. He married Ethel McCleary on February 5, 1902 in Fairfield, Greene County, Iowa. The 1910 US Census indicated Bert L. Couser resided in Des Moines, Jefferson County, Iowa with his wife Ethel and children Helen M. and Avis J. Couser. In 1930, Bert L. Couser, at age 48, resided in Flint River Township, Des Moines County, Iowa. In 1940, at age 58, he resided at 405 E. Geines St., Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa. Bert L. Couser passed on January 31, 1957, and is buried at Fell Cemetery, Libertyville, Jefferson County, Iowa. Ethel Couser, born in 1885, passed in 1967 and is buried at Fell Cemetery. Bert and Ethel Couser had two daughters, Helen Marie (1902-1918) and Avis June (1905-1989).