WINDER, Thomas J.  2 3 4 5
- Born: 30 Oct 1814, OH
- Marriage: HARMAN, Eliza  on 1 Apr 1838 in Coshocton Co, OH 1
- Died: 1 Jan 1862, Kelsey, El Dorado Co, CA at age 47 6
In summary, this is what I think I know about Thomas:
Thomas was born in Ohio in 1814. We know this almost for certain, since this is what he consistently told census takers, in Ohio, in Iowa, and in California.
Thomas was apparently a Dunkard. I don't know if he was that because of his upbringing, or because he married into a Dunkard family. We know for sure that his wife's grandfather, Jacob Whitmore, was a Dunkard, as was his wife's father, George Harman.
According to family legend, Thomas and Eliza spoke German in the home, and their children learned English only when they went to school.
The earliest record I have found for Thomas is the 1840 Federal Census, which shows him living with his wife, Eliza, and his son Nelson, in Coshocton County, Ohio.
Thomas lived on his father-in-law George Harman's land in Pike County, Coshocton County, Ohio, living near his wife's grandfather, Jacob Whitmore.
The next thing we know about Thomas is that he migrated to Bladensburg, Wapello County, Iowa. He appears in the 1847 Iowa census in Bladensburg, living next door to his father-in-law George Harman and a Michael Harman of unknown relationship. Also in Iowa, in neighboring Jefferson County, are Samuel and Benjamin Whitmore.
Today, Bladensburg, Iowa is a very small farm community, consisting of a church, an antique store, and a community center. A couple of miles down the road is the Bladensburg Cemetery.
In Iowa, Thomas and Eliza produced six more children, for a total of seven: Nelson, Rheubin, Levi Thomas, Phebe Catherine, John Henry, Elizabeth Ellen, and Marcus Duane. Like their father, these children wandered far from their parents as they became adults.
Now we see that Thomas had, indeed, a restless foot. The next record of him shows him in El Dorado County, California in 1860, at the age of 47. He is there without his family, who are still in Wapello County, Iowa. His youngest child was then 10 years old.
There is no record of Thomas' death. Unfortunately, there was a fire in El Dorado County that destroyed the records in the courthouse. We do not know if he died while still in the gold fields, or on the way home. Family legend suggests he died in 1862. Thomas appeared from nowhere and disappeared into nowhere. And such is the nature of this particular brick wall.
After Thomas' death, Eliza married Martin Miller. She is buried in the Bladensburg Cemetery as the wife of Martin Miller. There is no mention of Thomas or his children. Martin is buried in nearby Agency Cemetery next to his first wife.
At the time of Thomas' death, his male children headed west. Nelson, now calling himself Frank (as in Francis N. Winder) and Marcellus ended up in Washington Territory, Levi settled in Nevada, and John Henry settled in Des Moines.
The 1860 census of Eldorado Co, CA shows his profession as farmer.
According to Sharon Martini: There was/is a Dunkard community just outside of Warrensville, Eldred Twp., Lycoming Co., PA around this time, the mid 1800s. (Some of the descendants are still there). The Dunkard Church still exists and is a museum of sorts. There is a cemetery surrounding the church. There is also another cemetery about a mile due east of the church in a place known as Quaker Hill on the Northway Road extension.
According to Mary Launder (Jan 1991):
A cousin in Des Moines seems to have been told there were Winder relatives in Pennsylvania.
Great grandfather Winder lived near Steubenville, OH. Thomas? or his father? I don't have down who said it.
A sister remembers Grandma Elizabeth Ellen saying the family came from Alsace-Lorraine - that area that was shuttled back and forth between France and Germany several times.
Gma E.E. told us she knew only German until she started to school. Perhaps Thomas himself was the immigrant?
Have copy of a letter from Cousin Hugh to his d. which says M.D., "Uncle Doc" we called him, was born at Ottumwa, Iowa the last of 13 children.
Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 19:24:17 EST
[Melanie is a descendant of Elizabeth Ellen Winder]
My grandmother's family history notes don't say too much about the Winders. She showed Thomas J. Winder. I noticed you show him as Thomas P. Winder. I've seen Eliza's name spelled as both Harman and Harmon. Grandma's notes say that Thomas was born or lived in the Steubenville, Ohio area. But that is just about all I know. I think our ancestor David Garber, Elizabeth Ellen Winder's husband, was a lay minister in the United Brethren (Dunkard) church. So the Winder family may have also been in the same church.
From Phyllis transcribing Jefferson Co, IA Tax List 1843: IGSW bK. #2291:
Thomas Winder, personal property 700, tax 2.98
Having found that Francis Nelson Winder, Thomas' eldest son, named his first son Thomas J. Winder, I am assuming that the "J" is correct.
Noted events in his life were:
• Residence, 1840, Coshocton Co, OH. 7
• Residence, Between 1847 and 1850, Wapello Co, IA. 8 9
• Residence, 1856, Wapello Co, IA. 10 11
• Census: Federal, 1860, Kelsey, El Dorado Co, CA. 12 listed with Nick Garbald, grocer, and Jacom Garbald, grocer. Occupation farmer, owned no land. The Garbalds were from Italy and lived next door to the saloon keeper, also from Italy. Altho the gold rush was pretty much over, there were many listed as miners in the neighborhood.
Thomas married Eliza HARMAN , daughter of George HARMAN  and Juda WHITMORE , on 1 Apr 1838 in Coshocton Co, OH.1 (Eliza HARMAN  was born on 9 Mar 1821 in OH, died on 26 Feb 1889 in Bladensburg, Wapello, Iowa, USA 13 and was buried in Bladensburg Cemetery, Bladensburg, Wapello Co, IA 14.)