JOHN DREW JR. AND MARIAH MELTON
JOHN DREW, Jr.
(1844 - 1909)
was born in County Westmeath,
Ireland, the son
of Irish peasants, John Drew and Rose Reilly Drew, who emigrated
from Ireland to the U.S.A. in about 1847.
John made the trip to
America as a 3 year old. During the trip and during the family's
10 or 11 years in Kentucky, he must have grown close to his sister, Catherine,
9 years his elder. In 1858, shortly after the birth of Catherine's
first child, Rose, both John Sr. and 13 year old John Jr. accompanied the
McGee's to Pettis county, Missouri where the McGee's acquired land either
through a railroad "land offer" or a "homesteader" offer. It is not
known if the Drews also acquired land there. It is possible that
John Sr. was already too ill to farm land and required care from his daughter,
Catherine. Also making that 1858 trip from Kentucky to Missouri were
John Jr.'s brothers, Bryan, aged 19, and a younger brother, William, aged
| Just one year
later, (September 1859) John Sr. died; and by 1860, it was apparently agreed
that young John would do better in the care of his elder brother, James,
in Indiana. On May 8, 1860, the court record in Daviess County, Indiana
(we have that document) shows that James filed for and received guardianship
of "John Drew of the age of about Seventeen years old (with his written
consent) and Minor heir of John Drew deceased late of Pettis County Missouri..."
We also have the document that "releases" James from guardianship when
John becomes 21 years old.
We do not have many documents pertaining
to John's life; but we know that he did marry and have children **...
and spent his entire life in Daviess County, Indiana. (The gravestone
misspells the name of his county of death as well as his county of birth.)
Nonetheless, it was his grave marker, shown
at right, that led us to the correct county in Ireland to begin our search
for our ancestors. The grave is at St. Mary's church near Montgomery,
Indiana. The family apparently wanted the stone to read: "Born in
County Westmeath, Ireland."
A LESS THAN STELLAR MILITARY
According to one of James
Drew's grandchildren, (George B. Drew's son, John) the Loogootee public
library (in Daviess county) has a list of all Daviess county residents
who were veterans of the civil war. That list includes a John Drew,
but the report I got did not indicate what unit he was with and also did
not list his final place of burial. In fact, it seems nearly certain
that this John Drew did serve in the Civil War. The following official
records, obtained via paid membership to HDS, seem to show that John Jr.
did indeed ENLIST in Philadelphia in 1861 and soon after DESERTED.
Although the exact "connection" between the Drew Family and Philadelphia
are not certain, the dates and "age" are compatible with "our" John Drew...
and the report is submitted by the Indiana Adjutant General. It is
thought that Theresa Cusick, wife of John's brother and legal guardian,
James, had "roots" and connections in Philadelphia and John may have enlisted
while visiting there.
Residence not listed; 18 years old.
Enlisted on 5/3/61 at Philadelphia, PA as a Private.
On 6/28/61 he mustered into "G" Co. NY 71st Infantry
He deserted on 7/4/61 at Camp Scott, Staten Island, NY
- Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana
P.O. Box 196
that both the military records (above and below) are the same John Drew,
we are presently left with only our imagination to fill in the time gap
between the 1861 and 1864 enlistments. It is not known whether the
"desertion" was "found out" ...but it must mean something that both records
came into the hands of the Indiana Adjutant General. During
the civil war, there is no doubt that the usual "punishment" for desertion
during a battle was DEATH. If the desertion documented above
was by "our" John Drew, it most certainly did not occur during a battle...
and maybe was viewed by the authorities as the "impulsive act" of an 18
year old. Nonetheless, it is quite likely that the 1864 "enlistment"
was not entirely voluntary. The record of this "second enlistment"
reads as follows:
Residence Daviess County IN;
Enlisted on 5/26/64 as a Private.
On 5/26/64 he mustered into "G" Co. IN 137th Infantry
He was Mustered Out on 9/21/64 at Indianapolis, IN
- Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana
P.O. Box 196
|This 1864 "mustering"
...very near the end of the war... was into a unit (IN 137th Infantry)
which was one of ten "hundred day regiments" in Indiana. None of
these regiments ever saw combat or took any casualties. I don't know
if any of them ever left Indianapolis; and I have read that their assignments
included such duties as guarding railroad depots etc. As the dates
confirm, the members were "dismissed" as soon as the 100 days were over,
even though war was still raging in some areas. It is my suspicion
that these regiments might have been made up of persons who were assumed
to be sub-optimal soldiers. More research is needed to fully understand
this "whole business."
THE FAMILY OF JOHN DREW
In about 1870 or thereabouts, John married
a Daviess County resident and landowner whose parents are listed
as being from Kentucky. She is one year older than John.
As for the children of John Drew
Jr.,** I do have
some information and documents which I will organize at a later time.
For the time being, I believe it is accurate to say that the "Rose" (Rosa
A Drew) shown on the above on John's grave marker was his child.
A grave has also been found for Robert Drew... who also died as
a young person... and was John's child... and there were others.
I believe it was John's son, James T. Drew ("Jimmy") who married
a Rose Arvin... and had at least two sons. This family moved to Indianapolis
and during the 1930's at least one of their sons (Bernard) was well known
to his second cousins (my uncles) while attending Cathedral high school.
Bernard was killed in an auto crash at a very young age. James T.
Drew and Rosa A (Arvin) Drew apparently had a son John E. Drew (III) who
apparently survived only to his early teens and whose grave stone has been
identified at St. Mary's Church in Barr Township, Daviess County.
THE 1880 CENSUS LISTING
FOR THE FAMILY OF JOHN AND MARIAH DREW
||Head of household
|Drew, James T.
Also of interest in the 1880 census
is the listing of Ann Melton, age 84, immediately above the entries
for the household of John Drew Jr. It is not known if this "Ann Melton
was the mother or the grandmother of Mariah Melton Drew, but the age difference
suggests she was the grandmother. This Ann Melton's parents are listed
as from Maryland and Virginia and (an awesome consideration) would both
have been born BEFORE THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR. This, plus other facts
listed elsewhere, would lead to the speculation that the Meltons were a
"staunch" old family of ORIGINAL Daviess County homesteaders. It
is further surmised that John Jr. would have "come of age" at a time when
there were no more "homesteading" opportunities in Daviess County; and
wound up settling there by reason of marrying into the Melton family...
a totally different scenario than that of his elder brother, James.
As for the Melton family and John Jr.; there are still some mysteries and
unswered questions. John's occupation in the 1880 census is listed
as "farm laborer" as opposed to "farmer" ...a distinction which suggests
to me that John was NOT a landowner but was being allowed to live on the
Melton farm (with his Melton wife.) It also appears (see the gravestone
above) that John's wife, Mariah, was never buried in the plot planned for
her beside her husband. Perhaps we shall some day stumble over some
palatable "explanations" for these mysteries.
This picture is clearly labelled
Drew; and is undoubtedly the "Rosanna" listed above in the 1880
census... i.e. daughter of John Drew Jr. and Mariah Melton... at about
age 18. She lived to be 30 and it is she who is listed on the same
gravestone as John Jr.
This photo is from about 1895.
are the three children of John Drew Jr. and Mariah Melton Drew who survived
to that date. They are (left to right) Rosanna Drew (about 21,) James
T. Drew (about 19) and Mary Catherine Drew (probably about 13.)
In the "History of Davis County, 1915" it
is recorded that Mary Catherine Drew (pictured above) married William
Andrew Lavelle in 1909. The "history" goes on to assert that
Mary Catherine was the daughter of John Drew and Mariah Drew, and that
John Drew was a "farmer in Barr Township." This "history" also asserts
that John and Mariah were of "Irish nativity" ...which is probably incorrect
for Mariah. We have completely lost touch with this family as far
as I know. Further research is needed to learn more about the Lavelle
family; however, other research has indicated that Lavelle's held public
office in Daviess County for at least one generation prior to William Andrew.
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