Sunday, October 3, 2010

ELUSIVE JOHN DAY (1806-1842)

Seventy years ago my fifth cousin, Glenna Bailey (now Goodlad) began the search for our common ancestor, Virginia-born John Day. I joined the search a couple of decades later. We're still looking, and even have hired professional genealogists with "nil" success. Well, we've eliminated a number of suspects, but haven't found the elusive rascal. But we haven't given up.

We are uncertain of when or where John was born. I strongly suspect that he was born before 1806, but that's the date some researchers have used. A herd, pack, flock, or gaggle of John Days inhabited Morgan County, Kentucky, during the first half of the nineteenth century and we have been unable to determine which one is our John, except for a marriage entry for John and Elizabeth McKenzie (1799-1861).

They are the parents of Rufus Morgan, Jemima and Theodore Barber Day. Elizabeth also is the mother of James Johnson McKenzie, we know not whether via a previous marriage or without benefit of clergy. JJ's obituary refers to John as his stepfather. Reference also is made to other siblings, not named. So Elizabeth apparently had other children as well, before marrying John.

Elizabeth is the daughter of Isaac McKenzie (1764-1831) and Virginia Jean Johnston. JJ's obit says the family arrived in Lancaster, Grant, Wisconsin, August 10, 1840, having over-wintered in Edgar County, Illinois, on their way from Morgan County, Kentucky.

John and Elizabeth were among a passel of Days and McKenzies who migrated to Grant County, WI, 1839-1855, most of them from Kentucky.

And then there was a diaspora with some Days and some McKenzies winding up in Oregon and Washington.

After the Civil War, Jemima's and Ted's families then both moved first to Iowa, then to Kansas. Then, in the 1880's, they went their separate ways; Ted to Oregon and Jemima (married to Antone Bailey) to California.