There may be several readers out there that may recognize the title of this blog posting as a line uttered by actor Spike Milligan cast as M. Bonacieux from the movie “The Three Musketeers” from 1973. Although that moment in the movie is a very funny scene, I am applying that same line from the movie here for a more genealogical purpose. (If you have never seen this movie, I highly recommend you see it, and its sequel from 1974. The movies are practically verbatim of the book “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas).
It has been my experience, as it has been for many of you, to have ancestors that share the same given name within a family group. A common occurrence among our ancestors. Children were named for their parents’ brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, and aunts and uncles; etc. etc. Let the confusion commence.
Such is the case for Jesse Timanus…my 5x great-grandfather. I do not know much about his short life, but what I do know and have records for tells me volumes about who his parents were, about when he was born, who he married and the time period of when he passed. Jesse was born about 1784-1785 to Johan Jacob Timanus and Dorathy Shearmiller. As of now, it appears there is no record of birth for Jesse, or any of his siblings, but I did find a few other records that give credence to Jesse being their son.
First, I found this:
This is the Registry of Administrations Granted in Baltimore County, Libre 2, Page 285, recorded for Jacob Timanus, dated 15 Dec., 1798. His wife Dorothy is being granted the letters of administration and their oldest son, Charles is named as one of the securities.
On 5 May, 1905, in the Baltimore Sun newspaper, a rather large article was written about the Timanus family under the title Maryland Heraldry by Emily Emerson Lantz. In the article, Ms. Lantz reprises the genealogical history of the Timanus family, which includes my 5x great-grandfather, Jesse Timanus, and the War of 1812 Battle for Baltimore that he and his brothers were involved in. She names all 6 brothers, and their 3 sisters, and all being the children of Jacob Timanus and Dorathy Shearmiller. See a copy of the entire newspaper page here.
An interesting line caught my eye – Jesse died unmarried?:
So, this little tidbit gave me pause to wonder, but only for a second. As you will see, it also prompted another reader of this article to respond at the time. The informant being interviewed for the May 5th article was Judge Luther Timanus (1825-1913), son of Jacob Timanus (my Jesse’s brother) and Margaret Mansfield, apparently he was quite informed of his family history…to a point.
According to the 1810 census taken in Patapsco, Upper Hundred, Baltimore Co., Maryland, Jesse Timanus falls into the 26 thru 44 age bracket (which matches his approximate birth year), with 3 females under the age of 9, 1 female age 16 thru 25 and 1 female age 26 thru 44:
I also found the marriage record for Jesse Timmons (probably a transcription error) and Ruth Baker, 12 June, 1802:
On 7 May, 1905, in the Baltimore Sun newspaper, in response to the article of 5 May, 1905, Rev. John Jay Timanus (1835-1907) of Sharon Hill, PA wrote Ms. Lantz to inform her that some of the information given in the original article was not quite accurate, especially this line:
Image courtesy of Newspapers© – See the entire response here.
Rev. John Jay Timanus was also the son of Jacob Timanus and Margaret Mansfield. The information Rev. Timanus gave fits more in line with the records I have for Jesse Timanus and Ruth Baker. Jesse was married and did leave only daughters.
The last record I have of Jesse is his military record for serving in the 36th Reg. (Jessop’s) Maryland Militia during the War of 1812, specifically, the Battle of North Point and the Battle for Baltimore (the Bombardment of Ft. McHenry) with his 5 brothers, George, Charles, Henry, John, and Jacob.
In the 1820 census for Baltimore County, Ruth Timanus is listed alone with 2 females ages 10 thru 15, thus giving us the indication that Jesse passed away sometime between 1814 and 1820:
Here is where the naming confusion begins. Jesse Timanus’s brother Charles had a son named Jesse, supposed to have been born about 1811. Back in 2015, I began seeing Ancestry trees that had melded my Jesse Timanus and the younger Jesse Timanus together. I needed to straighten this out, if not for others’ sakes, at least for my own. I needed to prove that this younger Jesse Timanus “was not the man”!
Jesse Timanus, “The Younger”
As with any ancestor, I started at the beginning…looking for a birth record for a Jesse Timanus born sometime between 1810 and 1820…found nothing. I looked for a will of his father Charles that passed in 1851…found nothing. I changed tactics and began looking for a marriage record for young Jesse Timanus, using variations on the last name and…bingo, I found a marriage record between a Jesse Simanns (transcription error) and Jane C. Means on 16 Oct. 1844 in Montgomery Co, Ohio:
Interestingly, I also found him in the 1840 census, 4 years prior to the above record:
Since he was born sometime between 1810 and 1820, he falls exactly into the right age bracket of someone 20 to 30 years old. The next record on my “hunt list” was the 1850 census, and I used every single trick in the book that I’ve learned from doing this type of research. I used variations on the names, both given and surname. I even used his wife’s name with variations as a search criteria, and still no record for 1850. I did locate a couple of Cincinnati directories for the period between 1840 and 1850, which showed a Jesse Timanus, Stone Mason. Stone masonry was a trade that ran in the family. Jesse’s brother Charles, Jr. was also a noted stone mason in Baltimore (both young Jesse and Charles Jr. were my Jesses’ nephews).
My next step was to locate some type of death record for young Jesse Timanus. I went to my usual haunts, Ancestry and FamilySearch. I did not find anything solid or concrete, so I went on the internet to locate cemeteries in the Cincinnati area, and came upon the Spring Grove Cemetery which had a search capability. I typed in Jesse Timanus, and found his burial record for 1858:
This is what I was looking for…what a treasure trove of information. The thing that caught my eye was the information filled in for Disease – Hemorrhage. I needed to find out more, so I went to my reliable source of daily news worthy articles…Newspapers.com. I typed in Jesse Timanus into the search field, then typed in the time period 1840 – 1860, and the location of Ohio. A plethora of newspaper reports about the young Jesse Timanus unfolded before my eyes.
In genealogical research, just like historical research, we will run across those major and minor events of the past, sometimes short lived, along with the people involved in those events, and the effect that those events had on others. Those events that were recorded in black and white can often trigger a wide variety of emotions, whether read at the time or read today. The thing we need to keep in mind for those of us today is, we must not feel the need to hide the recorded actions of our ancestors, no matter what level of anxiety we may feel about sharing those actions.
One of the first rules of genealogy is “tell, don’t dwell”.
Before I reveal the articles I found regarding Jesse Timanus, the younger, I feel it necessary to give you some background of Jesse’s aspirations. Jesse was a stone mason, and after digging in deeper, it appears he was a part of the Free Masons & the Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.):
Jesse’s position is noted as N.G., which stands for Noble Grand, an elected position – this was a part of the I.O.O.F. of the time. He was also elected Secretary at other times.
There were two other groups that Jesse Timanus had involvement with that needs some clarification. The “Know-Nothing” Party, and the “Miami Tribe”. Both of these groups had one thing in common. We’ll address them one by one.
The “Know-Nothing” Party was a Native American Party, renamed the American Party in 1855. It was an American nativist political party that operated across the nation in the early to mid-1850s primarily as an anti-Catholic, xenophobic and hostile to immigrant organizations, originally started as a secret society. Members would acknowledge each other with the code phrase “I know nothing”.
The “Miami Tribe” was a secret society that rose up in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1853, which was an extreme political party, estranged from the local leadership at the time. The party’s main goal was the primary exclusion of German held public office positions, the “Catholic” threat, free thinkers and non-native born workers. Jesse Timanus was considered a “Chief” in this group.
Based on more research, the Miami Tribe moniker along with the title of “Chief” were just analogical terms used to describe members in the group as “Native American”, but in the sense that members were born natively to this country and were brought up Protestant Americans.
I must remind readers here that political parties of the past were just that…of the past.
So, why was Jesse Timanus, the younger part of all of this? How did he get ensconced with these groups? I never discovered a clear answer to these questions, but the trail of recorded financial, mental and emotional destruction and chaos he left behind rattled the very core of local government in Cincinnati and Hamilton County. Also, do an internet search on the term Locofocos:
In 1858, it appears that Jesse Timanus could not handle the situation he was in any longer, and took tragic action to free himself from it. On Sat. 30 Jan. 1858, Jesse took his life into his own hands:
This explains the use of the word “Hemorrhage” on Jesse’s burial card.
After the younger Jesse’s death, it seems that Jesses’ wife Jane (Means) Timanus wanted nothing more to do with living in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1860, Jane and her children were living with Jane’s brother James Means in Iowa. Jane’s father, Robert was also living with them. For whatever reason, Janes’ son John M. Timanus was not with them (more about him in my next post):
Jesse Timanus, the younger and Jane Means had these children:
Sarah Jane (Timanus) Crafts, b. 15 Aug. 1845, d. 2 May, 1930, m. Rev. Wilbur Crafts – no issue
John Means Timanus, b. 1849, d. 20 Feb., 1932, marriage status unkown – no issue
Fanny Carr (Timanus) Pardee, b. 17 Aug. 1855, d. 6 Oct. 1929, m. 1883 Gerry Waldo Pardee – had children
Jane (Means) Timanus died in 1893 as a result of the following – reported in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Fri., 24 Nov., 1893:
Her remains were removed to Cincinnati, Ohio and laid to rest next to her husband in the Spring Grove Cemetery:
Now that I have proven to myself that there were two separate Jesse Timanus family members, and that the younger one was the namesake of my Jesse Timanus, it is my hope that there is the possibility that this could change some peoples’ minds. I at least was able to add the image of the younger Jesses’ burial card to his Find-a-Grave memorial page, with the approval of the owner of the page.
Things to remember when you encounter confusion of names within a family:
If you are having a hard time proving things with your ancestor, because there seems to be confusion with another family group member, start researching the namesake of your ancestor. Chances are you will have better luck unravelling the mess your ancestor is stuck in.
Document everything you find on the namesake ancestor, thus giving you the appropriate proof you’ll need in the future, when questions may arise within your family or distant cousins.
The added bonus is you are discovering parts of history that your ancestral family were involved with that may have been hidden from you, good or bad.
Don’t be afraid to share what you have discovered…every family has their black sheep, and yours will be no different.
Unless the records you find match those on Ancestry trees of Wikitrees, do not assume that somebody else’s family tree is correct.
Please note – I request of all readers, please do not leave or send any comments regarding the political groups described in this post, unless it has to do with the historical impacts of such groups. I will not respond to any comments that try to make comparisons or judgements from today. The purpose of this post is to bring to light the events in the younger Jesse Timanus’ life that affected many and seemed to help few.
A Special Timanus Halloween Treat Here
Spring Grove Cemetery
Special thanks to:
Historical Society of Baltimore County – Jim Long
Howard County Historical Society – Shawn Gladden
Hamilton County, Ohio Genealogical Society
Cincinnati History Library and Archives
Find-a-Grave Timanus Contributors
And, Cheryl, my wife who’s love I cannot do without and continues to support my work
Brian S. Miller – Oct. 2019