Week 3: (Longevity) My Oldest Living Family Member!!!

Hello Readers!!!

Pictured below is my great-aunt on my father’s side (Okell). She is my grandfather’s younger sister and my oldest living family member on either side of my family!! Here is her story: Patricia Ann Okell was born on September 22, 1922 in New York, New York. My great-grandfather James Eckert Okell was 33 and my great-grandmother Mayme Bunch was 31 at the time. She married her husband John Edward Butler (when she was 22) and he was 23, on December 7, 1944 in Cook County, Illinois. Together they had three children: I will list them below from oldest to youngest:

Elizabeth Lee Butler

B: June 14, 1947

James Craig Butler

B: December 18, 1949

D: December 3, 2017

Richard Okell Butler

B: December 22, 1957

Patricia’s husband John Edward Butler passed away on July 28, 2007 in Laurinburg, North Carolina, he was 85 years old and at that time, Patricia was 84 years old, they had been married for over 60 years before his passing. Last September, Patricia celebrated her 95th birthday!!!


The History of S & JC Atlee Lumber Company (and the man behind it)

Dear Readers,

My 4th great grandfather, John Cox Atlee (B: March 22, 1816 in Maryland D: September 15, 1899 in Fort Madison, Iowa) pictured above with his great grandchildren, came to Fort Madison (Lee County) Iowa in 1837 when he was only a carpenter. On April 19, 1838 John Atlee (22 at the time) and his wife Emeline Stone Brooks (23 years old) got married in Fort Madison. In 1844, Emeline and John relocated to a farm in Cedar Township, and in 1852, John started making plans for the Lumber Company with his older brother Isaac R. Atlee (1813-1891). The brothers remained in business together until 1854 when Isaac decided to retire. So John Cox Atlee continued on with the business forging a partnership with Nathaniel Bennett and built a mill on the site where the business was. When John’s eldest son Samuel John Atlee came of age, he succeeded Mr. Bennett and the firm became what it is still known as: S & JC Atlee Lumber Company, it was at one point one of the most extensive lumber producing firms along the Mississippi River. Their mills consist of a saw-mill, which is supplied with machinery of the most modern pattern, a brick planing-mill, 75×75 feet, two stories high, which is a model of neatness and order. Everything in this mill is arranged with a view of economy. The machinery is all new and of the very best kind known to the business. Near by is their dryhouse, of large capacity. Then comes their shinglemill, that has a capacity for making and packing 120,000 shingles per day. The mills, stables, yards, etc., cover an area of about thirty-five acres, and give employment to 150 men and boys, to whom they pay $2,500 monthly. The firm buy their logs up the river, and run them down in great rafts, and consume about 10,000,000 feet annually. Their lumber is sold to all parts of Southern Iowa, to Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. J. C. Atlee, the founder of this immense business, is a man of wonderful genus and enterprise. He commenced the world with nothing, and has fought hurricanes, fires, floods, ice-gorges and boiler-explosions, and conquered every time. The more opposition and disaster crowded, the more determined he seemed to become. In November, 1858, the mill-boiler exploded, killing four men, Andrew Fulcher (the engineer), the fireman (a colored man), Jacob Minder and Albert Tracy, and two boys, Willie Kirk and George Tracy, and blowing the mill to atoms. Atlee helped bury the dead, and then commenced rebuilding and repairing, and soon had everything in operation again. On May 3, 1866, that mill was destroyed by fire. In just seven weeks, it was rebuilt, on a large scale. The first mill had a capacity of 15,000 feet per day, and the second oneof 40,000 feet. It proved too slow to suit Atlee’s notions, and he tore it down in a few years and built the present mill, which has a capacity for cutting 65,000 feet per day.

On the 3rd of July in 1875, a furious hurricane came along and unroofed Atlee’s residence and otherwise injured it. He was absent at the time, and when he came in sight of his ruined home and found his family all safe, he swung his old hat and shouted “All right; we’ll try it again.” He went to work the same day, completed his plans and rebuilt on a grander scale than before. The same storm played all sorts of tricks at the mill-yard. It blew down the great piles of lumber, filled up the alleys and carried thousand0 of feet into the river, where it was lost; it blew their steamer, Jennie D., loose from her moorings and clear across the river, where it sunk in fifteen feet of water. The damage to the mill-yard was about $5,000. But none of these little things discouraged the old man, they only whetted his appetite, brightened his business ideas, strengthened his enterprise and stiffened his backbone. To quote the words of his excellent wife, they never “cried over any of their mishaps and misfortunes.” Nothing short of an earthquake or volcano will ever discourage J. C. Atlee.


The Okell/Atlee Family Connection

My 3rd great-grandparents Martha Darling Atlee and Peter Okell are the  first Okell/Atlee connection in my family. Below are a photo of my 3rd great-grandmother’s broach. Photo was taken between 1850-1855, when Martha was between 10 and 15 years old, and a photo of my 3rd great-grandfather’s headstone, photo was taken in the month of May in 2011 in Fort Madison, Iowa. Okay so here is their story (again):

I’ll start with my 3rd great-grandfather, Peter Okell:

Peter was the last child and 4th son born to Peter Okell and Martha Corker on February 6, 1834 in Cheshire, England. He lived an amazing life, in his birth year in England there was a worldwide Cholera outbreak and although he survived it, many others died. He married his wife Martha Atlee on January 29, 1860 when Peter was 25 and Martha was 19 years old in Fort Madison, Iowa. In their 50 years of marriage Martha and Peter had 5 children: Charles Lincoln Okell (1860-1931), Franklin Alexander Okell (1864-1932), Emeline Atlee Okell (1866-1935) John Atlee Okell (1870-1948) and Sadie Maria Okell (1874-1935). Peter served in the American Civil War from its beginning in 1861 until its final year in 1865, by that year (1865), Peter was already 31 years old. After the war ended, he went on to work for the family business S & J.C. Atlee Lumber Company, he worked there for a number of years until his death on October 6, 1910, in Iowa City, Iowa, at the age of 76 years old.

Here is the story of his wife Martha Darling Atlee:

Martha Darling Atlee was the first daughter and 3rd child to John Cox Atlee and Emeline Stone Brooks on July 16, 1840 in Fort Madison, Iowa. Her father was 24 and her mother was 22 years old at her birth. Martha had one younger sister, and two older brothers. Here they are in birth order (without Martha): Samuel John Atlee (1863-1913), William Henry Atlee (1854-1933), and Margaret Lillian Atlee (1862-1949). For Martha and Peter’s marriage, please read the information on her husband, Peter Okell. After Martha’s husband Peter passed away in 1910, Martha remained in Fort Madison, Iowa until her death on October 10, 1916, at the age of 76 years old. Both Peter and Martha Atlee Okell are buried in Fort Madison, Iowa.


The Atlee Line!!

Dear Readers,

I am going to start with another branch of my family tree. This surname is Atlee and as of today, there are still some living descendants of the original line. Although I have been able to trace the Atlee’s from me all the way back to my 12th great-grandfather being born in the year 1500 in England. I hope you enjoy my research and continue reading my blog entries!


11X Great-Grandparents!!!

Dear Readers,

Unfortunately, this is as far back as I have been able to trace my paternal line, so I hope you thoroughly enjoy my final post on my Okell line!!

Here is the story of my 11x great grandparents, enjoy!

I’ll start with my 11x great grandmother, Elizabeth Baxter. 

Elizabeth was born on November 21, 1591 in Daresbury, Cheshire, England. She was baptized a day later on November 22, 1591 at All Saints Church in Runcorn, Cheshire, England.

Elizabeth Baxter married my 11x great grandfather John Okell on January 20, 1615 in her hometown of Daresbury, Cheshire, England. Elizabeth was 23 years old, and John was 20 years old at the time.

In their 70 year marriage Elizabeth gave birth to four children, here they are oldest to youngest:

Thomas Okell (1615-1715) *10th great grandfather*

Robert Okell (1625-1721)

Ellen Okell (1630-1704)

Margaret Okell (1635-1714)

Elizabeth Baxter passed away in 1685 in England at the age of 94 years old.

Here’s the story of my 11x great grandfather, John Okell. 

John Okell was born in 1595 in Daresbury, Cheshire, England.

See above for marriage and children information.

John and Elizabeth lived their entire lives in England, as many of my ancestors stories before this post have.

John passed away on July 27, 1689 in Daresbury, Cheshire, England at the age of 94. He passed away just 4 years after his wife Elizabeth. 


10X Great-Grandparents!!!

Hello Readers!

This is the story of my 10x great-grandparents, I hope you enjoy reading!!!

I’ll start with my 10x great grandfather, Thomas Okell. 

The oldest son, Thomas was born on June 6, 1615 in Daresbury, Cheshire, England to John Okell (age 20) and Elizabeth Baxter (age 23). Thomas Okell’s parents had 4 children (including Thomas) from 1615 to 1635. 

On September 24, 1633 Thomas Okell married his love Catherine Willis in Daresbury, Cheshire, England when Thomas was 18 and Catherine was 18 years old as well. 

During their 82 years of marriage they had 2 children: 

Thomas Okell (1635-1735) *9th great grandfather*

Elizabeth Okell (1655-1684)

Thomas Okell died in 1715 at the age of 100 in Daresbury, Cheshire, England, and is buried there. 

Here is the story of my 10x great grandmother, Catherine Willis:

Catherine was born in 1615 in Cheshire, England to John Arthur Willis (age 60 years old) and Catherine Hockings (age 60 as well). See above for marriage information and how many children Thomas Okell and Catherine had. 

Catherine did have an older brother, John Willis (1610-1655). So it’s obvious that Catherine’s parents (John Arthur and Catherine) had two children between the years of 1610 and 1615. 

Catherine passed away a year after Thomas, in 1716 in Daresbury, Cheshire, England when she was 101 years old. 


My 9X Great-Grandparents!!!

Here is the story of my 9X great-grandparents. I hope you enjoy it!! I’ll start with my 9X great grandmother: Elizabeth Pamela Barker. 

Elizabeth was the oldest child born to Thomas Barker (age 30,  and Alice Barker also age 30) she was born on August 30, 1630 in Harston, Cambridge, England. Elizabeth had one sister and three brothers, all younger than her. 

She married my 9X great grandfather Thomas Okell on January 25, 1655 in Cheshire, England, when Elizabeth was 24 years old and Thomas was 20 years old. During their 64 year marriage, they had 2 sons and 3 daughters. 

Elizabeth Pamela Barker passed away on November 30, 1719 in West Winch, Norfolk, England when she was 89 years old.

My 9X great grandfather Thomas Okell was born in 1635 in Daresbury, Cheshire, England, his mother Catherine Willis was 20 years old and his father Thomas Okell was also 20 years old. Thomas (my 9X great grandfather) had a younger sister named Elizabeth Okell born on February 2, 1655 when Thomas was 20 years old. See above for the marriage between Thomas and his wife Elizabeth Pamela Barker. 

Thomas Okell passed away in 1735 in his hometown of Daresbury, Cheshire, England, and was buried there as well. 

Here are Thomas and Elizabeth Barker’s children, oldest to youngest: 

John Okell (1675-1736) *8th great grandfather*

Ellen Okell (1681-1780)

Sarah Okell (1683-1731)

Thomas Okell (1691-1691)

Anna Okell (1695-1728)