April 2010 Edition 61 Jerrems Family Newsletter
Reminiscing about the Old Days in the Mid-west
Dear Donald,
Remember Me - Charles Jerrems
Ray Jerrems with Research by Sandra Walcyk   TBA 

This article is one of the "Remember Me" series and tells you about Charles Jerrems, who was born in 1858 in the Utica area in New York State. His ancestors came from Wappenham, described in the JJ of February 2008.

A distinguishing feature of the "Remember Me" articles is that we have located a photograph of the person described.

Much of the information in this article originated from research by Sandra, supplemented by my research.

Charles' Parents and Siblings

Charles' parents were James Jerrems and his second wife Esther Jerrems (nee Colbrook). Charles came from a large "extended family". As described in the JJ of July 2008, James and first wife Ann had 8 children James H, Thomas W., Jessee or Jesse, Elizabeth, Josephine, Rebecca, Emma and Helen. The 3 boys served in the Civil War. Following Ann's death James married the widowed Esther in1853 and in due course they had five children, Mary, born 1853, Anah born 1854 (died 1856), George, born 1856 (died 1859), and lastly our hero Charles, born 1858.

James's third (and final) wife was the widowed Caroline Mayborn, who was born in England in 1822. They had one daughter, Minnie.

Charles' s Perambulations

The family's travels remind me of Lucky Starr's song "I've Been Everywhere". Initially Charles lived in New Hartford (near Utica), where he was born, and then the family moved west to Essex in Illinois. In 1870 he lived in Akron, Illinois (about 200 km west of Essex) with his father, stepmother Caroline and his half sisters Emma, Mary and Minnie. In 1880 James, Caroline and Minnie returned to the Essex area with Minnie only, so Charles (aged 22) had parted company with his family by that time. Most of James's sons had been farmers, so it is likely that Charles started off working on farms and later bought a farm. He married Mary Elizabeth Lyons b1860 in Pennsylvania (whose Irish-born parents were Cornelius Lyons & Helen Cronon) in about 1880

Charles and Mary then spent their married life steadfastly in Iowa, where they merrily moved around comparatively frequently, zig-zagging their way up and down the State as follows: (a) in 1885 they lived in Lincoln (near the northern border of the State) (b) in 1891 they lived in Coin (where William was born), which is near the southern border 224 miles from Lincoln (c) they moved north 112 miles to Liberty for the 1900 Census (with their teenage daughters Caroline, Catherine, Hellena and young William) and the 1910 Censuses (with late-teenage William only) (d) they continued their progress towards the Equator with a period at Mt Ayr (65 miles to the south of Liberty, near the southern border of Iowa) as seen in the photographs, then (e) the 1920 Census shows them taking a minor deviation in a northerly direction by living alone in Main Street, Tingley (12 miles north of Mt Ayr), where at long last they finally retired and stayed until their respective deaths in 1935 (Mary aged 75) and 1940 (Charles aged 82). They now reside in Tingley Cemetery and, as far as I know, have not moved from there.

There were numerous railway lines in Iowa. Coin, Shenandoah, Lincoln and Mt Ayr were on railway lines, but Liberty and Tingley were not, but they were not far from railway lines (about 15 miles). It is therefore likely that the family travelled by rail in its perambulations.


Iowa is a mid-western State to the west of the State of Illinois. It has a higher ratio of rural citizens than most States and its fertile plains give it a strong agricultural base (it is known as one of the food bowls of the US), particularly the growing of crops (predominantly corn) and raising of animals such as cattle and pigs (known as hogs in the US). It produces about a quarter of the hogs in the US.

Education, Financial Position

The 1925 Iowa Census shows that Charles completed rural high school up to "Reader 6", the highest grading being "Reader 8", so he probably attended about 3 years of high school. This was a good standard for a person born in a rural area in the 1850s. Mary completed high school, and attended university or college for one year. It would have been quite exceptional for a woman born in the 1860s to achieve this level.

The Census shows the value of their house at Tingley to be $3,800, without a mortgage (they were 67 and 66 at this stage). Comparing this with other house values shown in the Census this would have been a big house, even though only Charles and Mary lived in it.

In the 1930 Federal Census Charles had reduced his estimate of the value of his house to $3,000, probably as the result of the Great Depression, which was taking hold on the United States.

My conclusion is that they were in a financially "comfortable" position, irrespective of which value was correct.


Charles and Mary had 4 children, Caroline ("Callie") E. Jerrems b1881 , Katherine ("Kate") M. Jerrems b1883, Helena/ Lena Faye Jerrems 1886 - 1931 and William Cornelius Jerrems 1891 - 1926.

William Cornelius Jerrems

Although I have a lot of information about his sisters and their descendants I will concentrate on William because we have a photograph of his grave. He was born in 1891, in Coin, Iowa. A farmer like his father, he married Vera George, whose parents were Charles George & Cornie Zachary, and he died in 1926 at the early age of 35. William and Vera had 3 daughters (1) Kathryn Belle ("Belle") who was born in 1916, and died in 1991. Belle's first marriage was to Thomas Wilfong in about 1932 and they had two sons, William Thomas Wilfong (b 1934 in Shenandoah, Iowa, married Marian Jean Hilty) and Robert Wilfong (b. ?). Second marriage to Morehouse. (2)Helen 1917-1993 (married Kolb) and (3) Mary (1918-1993??) mBattles.

Having had 3 sisters William may have felt a certain degree of "déjà vu" when he had 3 daughters!

William and Vera lived initially in Tingley, 12 miles north of Mt Ayr, where William's parents lived and their daughters were born, and later moved to Shenandoah, 100 km west of Tingley (by coincidence, Shenandoah is only 15 miles from where William was born, so he ended up almost where he was born). After William's death Vera and the children continued to live in Shenandoah (all three daughters lived there during their married life and died there).Vera remarried in Shenandoah, to Elton Parrish (b1888), in 1928.


The mention of the word "Shenandoah" evokes happy childhood memories of the folk song of the same name ("Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you, Away you rolling river, Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you, Away, I'm bound away,'Cross the wide Missouri.") made famous by Paul Robeson and numerous other later singers including Bruce Springsteen. Unfortunately for this article the song probably referred to the Shenandoah River in Virginia, not the town Shenandoah in Iowa. The Iowa town is on the humble Four Mile Creek and its main claim to musical fame is that the Everly Brothers were born there.

The Photographs of Charles, Mary and their House

These photos were located recently by Jerry Jerrems V on http://www.iagenweb.org/ringgold/photos/photos- chasjerrems.html. Jerry lives in Boise, Idaho.

They are part of the historical collection on the Ringgold County website.

The caption to the photo on the website is Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. JERREMS
Maple Grove Farm, Mount Ayr, Iowa, circa 1915

Charles H. JERREMS was born in 1858, and died in 1940. Mary E. JERREMS was born in 1860, and died in 1935. Their son, William C. JERREMS, was born January 29, 1891, and died May 30, 1926. Charles, Mary, and William were interred at Tingley Cemetery, Ringgold County, Iowa.

In the photo of Charles and Mary they were no doubt dressed in their "Sunday best" clothes, as was customary in those days. Curiously, Charles is not wearing a formal suit with matching coat and trousers, although the shirt is buttoned up to the throat. However he obviously intended this to be his formal outfit because his hat is lying on the ground nearby. He may have had a moustache, and he has huge hands, typical of men who have been farmers all their lives. Mary is dressed more casually than in the first photo. Assuming the estimated time the photos were taken (1915) is correct, they would have been in their late 50s at the time.

Turning to the photo of the house, my initial reaction to this photo was that it would make a good advertisement for a gardening contractor entitled "Don't let this happen to your garden!". My second reaction was that it was taken for inclusion in the family album to record the family's movements.

It was a quite old two storey house, which would certainly have been more than ample for Charles and Mary, and possibly their son William before he married Vera. Charles consistently described himself as a farmer, however at first glance it is difficult to imagine a less likely house for a farm, despite its description as "Maple Grove Farm". The answer may be that Charles only had a small farm because he only needed a small farming area (for instance for raising hogs), so the house was designed to use a small area. Charles and Mary would only have lived in the house for a fairly short period.

The state of the garden and the creepers climbing up the left hand end of the house could indicate that (a) Charles was more interested in farming than house maintenance and gardening, or perhaps (b) William had left home to marry Vera and Charles was short- handed. The 1920 Census shows that Charles and Mary had retired to Main Street, Tingley, 12 km north of Mt Ayr, so it is possible that the photo was their swansong at Mt Ayr and they moved to Tingley soon after the photo was taken.

Here is a challenge for you. The photos were taken at different times. Can you see why from the photos?


The photo of William's grave was located by our Editor on the site http://iowagravestones.org/gs_view.php? id=456880. I located the grave of Charles and Mary.

The small size of the gravestones indicates that the family had adopted the adage that "Less is more".

William died before his parents. His grave (and their later graves) is located in Tingley Cemetery. The small gravestone has been made from excellent stone which has retained its original surface extremely well, and the raised name "Jerrems" is very artistic. On the other hand the rest of the inscription is minimalist in style and content, and one might wonder whether his middle name "Cornelius" (which would have taken up an extra line) was omitted so that the inscription could be fitted on a pre-existing piece of stone.

The gravestone for Mary and Charles was made of similar high quality stone to William's, but all the letters are raised. The middle names are not shown. Unlike William's gravestone, only the years of death are shown. Perhaps the small size of the gravestone and cryptic information is indicative of the hard times produced by the Great Depression.


Just think, the idea of writing this article started from a casual email from Jerry Jerrems V referring to the photos of Charles and Mary, and now we have an article. Thanks Jerry. Everybody, keep the photos coming!

Family Genetics
Donald Jerrems, Publisher, Editor   Gout and Rheumatoid Arthritis
I would like to survey other members of the Jerrems family tree to see if anyone else suffers from the apparent disease that afflicts me several times per year.

My gout attacks affect me in the foot and wrist. During an acute attack I can only walk at a much reduced pace.

My aunt Eleanor once told me her father (Donald the first) suffered from Rheumatoid Arthritis, a disease related to gout.

Please drop me a note if you seem to have the symptoms.

By the way, I take my prescribed medications and tried many home remedies (such as cherries, gin-soaked raisins, etc). I watch my diet closely. I think sweets and alcohol (and dehydration) trigger my gout episodes more than any foods high in purines (spinach and beans for example).

Gout is a kind of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in the joints.

Acute gout is a painful condition that typically affects one joint. Chronic gout is repeated episodes of pain and inflammation, which may involve more than one joint.

The uric acid crystallizes and deposits in joints, tendons, and surrounding tissues. Gout affects 1% of Western populations at some point in their lives.

  • Acute gout is a painful condition that typically affects one joint.
  • Chronic gout is repeated episodes of pain and inflammation, which may involve more than one joint.

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