Kit # 111701. Catherine Johnson b .ca. 1790 KY + Thomas Whiteaker 1806 Logan Co, KY, d. ca 1863 IL > Rebecca Whiteaker b. ca. 1829 KY + James Powell 1850 Hamilton Co, IL, d. bef. 1860 > Bettie A. Powell b. ca.1852 IL + James Madison Wilson 1871 Bates Co. MO, d. 1936 KS. HVR1 Haplogroup T2 Kit # 102580. Catherine Johnson 1790 KY + Thomas Whiteaker 1806 Logan Co, KY, d. ca 1863 IL, Elizabeth Anne Whiteaker b. 1835 IL + Barthelomew Irvin 1858 Hamilton Co IL, d. 1892 Gallatin Co, IL > Sarah Catherine Irvin b. 1859 Hamilton Co IL + Hiram Moutry Crouch 1879 Wayne Co. IL d. 1943 OK. HVR1 Haplogroup T2
HVR1 Mutations 16126C HVR1 Mutations 16126C
16187T 16187T
16294T 16294T
16296T 16296T
16304C 16304C
16519C 16519C
HVR2 Mutations 73G HVR2 Mutations 73G
151T 151T
263G 263G
309.1C 309.1C
315.1C 315.1C

Johnson > Whiteaker > Powell
Johnson > Whiteaker > Irvin
Copyright © October 2015
Mary Fern Souder

This project was begun to try to identify the ancestry of Bettie A. Powell who was born in Illinois ca. 1852, married James Madison Wilson in 1871 in Bates County, MO, and died in 1936 in Wyandotte County, KS. Her death certificate listed her parents as Rebecca Wittinger and James Powell.

Following is the pedigree that was eventually established:

Generation 1: Catherine "Caty" Johnson, was born ca. 1790 in Kentucky, and married Thomas WHITEAKER on 13 December 1806 in Logan County, KY. (It is possible that Thomas descends from the Whiteaker family of England that immigrated to Baltimore County, MD, by 1729. Later generations spelled the surname as Whitaker and are found in Kentucky and Illinois. There was a high degree of intermarriage between the Colonial Whiteaker and Johnson families, which resulted in numerous contemporary men named Johnson Whitaker).

The family of Thomas and Caty Johnson Whitaker has not been located with certainty until the 1840 census in Gallatin County, IL, where they had two sons (which were named John and Johnson) and three daughters. Thomas made his will on 17 October 1846 and it was filed for probate 18 November 1846 in Hamilton County, IL, which adjoins Gallatin County, IL. The Will named his wife, Katherine; children, Johnson, John, Katherine, Rebecca J., and Elizabeth Annie Whiteaker; and son-in-law Washington Fuller.* (George "Washington" Fuller married Mary Whitaker on 11 January 1829 in Butler County, KY.)

In the name of God, Amen. I Thomas Whiteaker of the county of Hamilton & state of Illinois Being weak in body but of sound mind & memory do make ordain & Publish this my Last will & Testament.
First my farm on which I now live I give to my Beloved son John Whiteacre (sic), Reserving to my Beloved wife Katherine Whiteaker her Lawful Dower in the same & my personal property I wish disposed of as follows, viz.
1st. That my beloved son Johnson Whiteaker shall have five dollars in trade.
2nd. That Washington Fuller my son-in-law shall have five dollars in trade.
The Remaining part of my Personal property after paying my Just Debts & funeral Expenses shall Be Equally divided Between John Whiteaker, Katherine Whiteaker, Rebecca J. Whiteaker & Elizabeth Annie Whitaker, my beloved Children. Reserving in Every case to my beloved wife her Lawful Dower. I further will and wish that there shall be no sale of any property belonging to me But that each shall have the part bequeathed as theirs in property that now belongs to me.

This 17th of october Anno Domini 1846
Signed: Thos. Whiteaker
Signed In presence
of Clay (sic) Crouch
Evelina Bowers
Eliza J. Crouch

State of Illinois
Hamilton County
Before me the undersigned probate Justice of the Peace of said county this day personally appeared Cloyd Crouch & Evaline Bowers two of the subscribing witnesses to the within will who being duly sworn on their oaths say they were present and saw the Testator sign said will in their presence, and that they believe and do state (this clause repeated) that the said testator was of sound mind and memory at the time of signing the same.
C. Crouch
Evelina Bowers
Sworn to subscribers Before me this 18th day of Nov 1846
Jno. W. Marshall, PJP

On 12 November 1850, Catherine WHITTACUR, age 60 was enumerated in Household # 41, District 10, Hamilton County, IL, with her children John, age 25, Rebecca, age 21, and Elizabeth, age 17. Catherine, John and Rebecca were born in Kentucky, and none could read or write. Daughter Elizabeth was born in Illinois and could read and write. Catherine had no occupation listed, but her son John was a farmer with real estate valued at $800, presumably left to him by his father in the above Will.

John Whitaker was also enumerated in 1855 and 1865 in Hamilton County, IL. (These mid-decade enumerations did not give names of anyone but the head of household). In 1855 John (age 30-40) had a household that included one male under age 10, one female age 20-30, who may have been his sister, Catherine Whitaker who did not marry Barthen Irvin until 1858. There was also an elderly woman in the home age 60-70, and this is presumed to be John's mother, Catherine.


In 1859 John K. Whitaker (aka John Whiteaker listed above) married Sarah G. McDonald in Hamilton County, IL, daughter of Alexander Hugh McDonald and Mary Powell. The couple divorced in 1876, and Mrs. Sarah Whitaker was married second to Bradley S. Dycus, a physician, on 28 July 1884 in McLeansboro, Hamilton County, IL. On this marriage license Sarah reported her place of birth as Clarksville (Montgomery County), TN and her parents as A. H. McDonald and Mary POWELL. Some Trees on have appropriated the children of Alexander H. McDonald and put them as children of Alexander A. McDonald and wife Mary Ann FISHER, but this cannot be correct.

SARAH G. DYCUS, formerly SARAH G. WHITAKER of McLeansboro
Probate Section b. Box # 72, File # 23
Date Written: 8 December 1910
Witnesses: John H. Smith, Lottie Smith
Date of Death: 22 January 1911
Contains: Real Estate & Personal Property
Executor: Charles P. Whitaker
Name of heirs and relationship mentioned:
Son, Charles P. Whitaker
Others mentioned: Nancy Ollie Mayberry, a child I took when she was 4 years old.

"Last Will and Testament of Sarah G. Dycus formerly Sarah G. Whitaker of McLeansboro, Hamilton County, IL. To my son Charles P. Whitaker one half of Lot Numbr 49 in Heard’s second addition to the town now city of McLeansboro, Illinois. Also to my said son I give one-half of all my personal property of every kind and character. (These assets are repeated with the other half being given to "my niece Nancy Ollie Mayberry"). The said Nancy Ollie Mayberry being a child I took when 4 years old and raised as a member of my family, and being as mutch (sic) a member of my family, and being as mutch (sic, repeated) attached to her as if she was my own child."

The following obituary was published in "The Times" in Hamilton County, IL:

"SARAH G. WHITAKER d here Jan 22, age 67-10-0. B. Clarksville, Tenn. Mar 22, 1843, dau of Hugh A. (sic) McDonald. Family moved to Knights Prairie in1850. M. Nov 15, 1859 to John K. Whitaker, had 3 ch, only Charley sur. They adopted her niece, Ollie Mayberry,* when she was small. A sister (another transcription says aunt), Mrs. Martha Yates of Berkeley, Cal. surv. Relatives from a distance attending funeral are Mrs. Thomas McDonald & her dau Mrs. D. E. Froehlick, both of Shawneetown. Bur Odd Fellows Cem. (Obit Jan 26, 1911, paper)."

Nancy Ollie Mayberry was actually Sarah Whitaker's grandniece. Nancy Ollie was the granddaughter of Sarah's sister, Margaret Elizabeth McDonald who married Jacob Mayberry, through their son Henry T. Mayberry who married Elizabeteh A. Matclock.

Published in the Times-Leader - 11 July 1947, Hamilton County, IL

Children of Henry T. & Elizabeth Ann Mayberry, who d. while Nancy Ollie, b. 1890, was a baby. She was raised by the Charles Whittaker family.* George P. Mayberry went to Cuba with Capt. M. E. Buck's Co in 1898; went to Phillipines in 1899, 30th Ill. Vol., returned to U.S. & stayed in California. Nancy Ollie married Mr. Brooks, 1917, & moved to St. Louis, MO. This week George P. Mayberry, age 67, of Manteca, Calif., returned to McLeansboro & Nancy Ollie Brooks drove from St. Lous, MO, with her 2 sons, Preston & Robert, to see him. They do not know the whereabouts of a brother, John Franklin Mayberry, that Nancy has not seen since 1917. *Since Nancy Ollie was born in 1890 and Sarah McDonald did not die until 1911, Nancy was probably raised by Sarah McDonald and Sarah’s son, Charles Whitaker who never married, was considered the head of household.

Generation 2: Rebecca J. Whiteaker, mentioned in the Will of her father in October 1846, was enumerated as Rebecca Whittacur, age 21, in the home of her mother, Catherine, on the 12 November 1850 census in Hamilton County, IL.

Near the family of Catherine Whittacur on the 1850 census was James POWEL, a physician aged 39, born in Tennessee with real estate valued at $800, and listed as a boarder in the household of Jefferson Garrison. This household was enumerated on 11 November 1850.

On 29 November 1850, Rebecca Whiteaker and James POWELL were married in Hamilton County, IL, by S. A. Martin, Minister of the Gospel. James and Rebecca Powell (with or without children) have never been located after their marriage, and it is assumed that they did not survive until 1860. A copy of the original marriage bond would have provided the name of the bondsman and witnesses to the marriage, and possibly the names of the parents, but marriage bonds from this time period in Hamilton County have not been preserved.

Since Mary Ann Powell McDonald’s daughter, Sarah G. McDonald married John Whitaker, and John Whitaker’s sister Rebecca married James Powell, it seems very probable that Sarah McDonald and James Powell, who were brother-and sister in-law to each other, were closely related through the Powell family in some way.

Generation 3: Bettie A. Powell was born between 4 April 1852 and 25 December 1853 in Illinois, and locating her family of origin has been very difficult. She has not been located with certainty on the 1860 census, and not at all on the 1870 or 1880 census records. Family records left by her late daughter and grandson state that Bettie "moved around a lot as a child and young adult." Conflicting family legend is that she was born in Peoria, Peoria County, IL, or Murphysboro, Jackson County, IL.

One possibility for Bettie A. Powell in 1860 was Elizabeth A. Powell, age seven and born in Illinois, who was enumerated in Household # 26 in in Louisville, Clay County, IL. She lived in the home of Elizabeth Fleming, a single woman age 40 and born in South Carolina. Elizabeth Fleming was a domestic who owned real estate valued at $200 and personal property valued at $25. They were the only two persons in the household.

Bettie’s was first married to James "Madison" Wilson on 22 June 1871 in Crescent Hill, Mingo Township, Bates County, MO, by E. T. Wells, Justice of the Peace. The couple had two children and divorced by 1885. Bettie was married second to Judson S. Oliver on 23 July 1891 in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, KS, by W. P. Elliott, Clergyman.

Because Bettie lived to an advanced age, beginning in 1900 she enumerated on eight federal or state census records. In each of these eight instances Bettie claimed she had no knowledge of where her parents were born. This consistent lack of parental birth information that was otherwise universally known in American families during this time period suggests a significant irregularity with her relationship to her birth parents. These include early death, divorce, abandonment, adoption, and being raised by non-relatives or remotely extended kin.

However, we did learn from these census records that Bettie could read and write, and after her second husband died she opened her home in Kansas City for boarders. One of her granddaughters reported that Bettie fell on the sidewalk outside her home and broke her hip. She went to the hospital and died there.


Mrs. Bettie Oliver, 82 years old, who had lived at 62 South Fifth street, died yesterday at St. Margaret’s hospital. Her only survivors are five grandchildren, Mrs. Chester Gibson, Sanford, Kan.; George W. King, jr., Denver, Colo.; Otha King, Burdett, Kan.; Mrs. Dallas Wells and Miss Pearl Wells (sic), both of Rozel, Kan., and five great-grandchildren. Funeral services were to have been held at 3:30 o’clock this after noon at the Full Gospel Tabernacle, Seventh street and Riverview. Burial will be tomorrow in Larned, Kan. The Kansas City Kansan, Monday Evening, April 6, 1936, p. 2.

After much research for Bettie had already been accomplished the first breakthrough for any specific information concerning her ancestry was given on her 1936 Kansas death certificate. It named her parents as James Powell and Rebecca Wittenger. A question mark was written in the blank that asked for her parents’ places of birth, but it reconfirmed her place of birth as Illinois. The informant for this information was the record clerk in the hospital where she died, and it is assumed that Bettie, or a close relative, gave the information when she was admitted.

A thorough investigation of all Wittenger families was undertaken, and none were located in the Midwestern part of the United States in the 1840’s and1850’s. However, the marriage record of one Rebecca Whitaker and James Powell was located in Hamilton County, IL, and the best next action seemed to be mitochondrial DNA testing of a maternal descendent of Bettie, along with a maternal descendent of Rebecca Whitaker’s sister, Elizabeth Annie Whitaker (1835-1891). Following is information for Elizabeth Annie Whitaker and one of her daughters:

Generation 2: Elizabeth Annie Whitaker, daughter of Thomas Whiteaker and Catherine Johnson, was born 21 February 1835 in Illinois. She became the second wife of Bartholomew "Barthen" Irvin (sometimes listed as Erwin) on 5 October 1858 in Hamilton County, IL. The rites were performed by Charles H. Heard, Justice of the Peace. The couple became the parents of seven children of their own (four daughters and three sons) and he had seven children by his previous wife, Mary.

Obituaries published in "The Leader" in Hamilton County, IL, included this abbreviated one, published 31 December 1891:

"Elizabeth Ann Whitaker d. Dec. 26, age 56-10-5. d. in Gallatin Co., Ill. m. to Bartholomew Irvin in 1858. Leaves 2 sons & 3 dau. Funeral was at M.E. church in Belle City, Ill. Dec. 31 paper." (Belle City is located in Hamilton County, IL, and in the 2000 census had a population of 60 persons. Elizabeth's date of birth has been calculated from this obituary - M. F. Souder).

Generation 3: Sarah Catherine "Sallie" Irvin, oldest child of her parents, was born 13 October 1859, in Belle Prairie, Hamilton County, IL. She married Hiram Moultry Crouch in October 1879 in Wayne County, IL. Hiram was the son of Cloyd Crouch (1821-1884) and wife Eliza J. Medley Crouch (1824-1877) who were both witnesses to the Will of Sarah Irvin Crouch’s grandfather, Thomas Whiteaker, in 1846. Hiram and Sallie Irvin Crouch were the parents of four daughters born in Illinois before they moved to Texas.

Hamilton County, IL, officials made the decision that they would not allow any publishing of their county records dated after 1850. Their reasoning was that they wanted family historians to come to them. Therefore, when this research was conducted in 2009 none of their court records were publicly available. It is with the deepest gratitude that I wish to thank Micki Faruzzsi, a genealogist in Hamilton County, IL, who faithfully copied the many records necessary to conduct this family project.

Mitochondrial DNA Results:

Participant # 111701 is a maternal descendent Bettie A. Powell, born ca. 1852 in Illinois. Participant # 102580 is a maternal descendent of Elizabeth Annie Whiteaker, born 1835 in Illinois, who married Bartholomew Irvin in 1858. The participants who represent these two women are a perfect match, thus substantiating that Bettie A. Powell’s parents were Rebecca Whitaker (not Wittinger) and James Powell. Further, as of October 2015, these two maternal lineages had no other matches in the FTNDA database!

HVR1 = 0
HVR2 = 0

Last Updated on 10/8/2015
By Wallace W. Souder