The Courtney Family History

We have just traced Daniel Courtney's line several generations back.  And found some very interesting stories along the way.  We can now start with James Courtney and his wife, Dyne in Virginia .  James died in Westmoreland Co., VA in 1698.  We haven't traced them over the Atlantic, just yet but we do know they were Quakers.  From James and Dyne the line continues down through their son John J. Courtney.  His wife's name is not known but they had four children:  Matthen, William, James and John.  (This info comes from Quaker records provided by a newfound Courtney cousin.)   John married Mary Dozier in Virginia about 1760.  They had nine children, the first of which was Dozier.  Dozier married Ann in Virginia and had seven children there before moving to Columbiana County, OH about 1807.  The last two children were born in Ohio.  Apparently Dozier and Ann became Hicksite's and were disowned by the Quakers.  The Hicksite's were a liberal offspring of the Quakers.  Daniel's father, James was the last child born in Virginia.  He married Elizabeth Elviston, who was apparently not of the Quaker faith.  They were shunned by the Hicksite's.  She was born in New Jersey.  We do not know much more about her.  James and Elizabeth had ten children.  I'm hoping to find a living descendant of some of them.

An interesting article was just sent to me (10/2000) about James Courtney.  Before he married Elizabeth Elviston, he was engaged to marry Rachel Votaw, the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest farmer in Butler Township, Columbiana County.  They lived in Votaw Springs, which is the source of the Mahoning river.  Rachel's parents were against the match.  James was denied admission to her house so they met clandestinely.  One night Rachel left her home, supposedly to meet James.  The next morning her body was found in a swamp near her father's farm.  A silk handkerchief was found knotted around her neck and the cause of death was by strangulation.  James was arrested and charge with her murder.  It was purely circumstantial evidence. The handkerchief belonged to her brother.  James was acquitted due to insufficient evidence to convict.  Several of her father's friends, who believed James was guilty, went to his house to lynch him.  A Dr. Dellenbaugh heard of the plot, went to the Courtney house before the mob arrived and told James of the plot.  Before he could escape the mob had surrounded the house.  James disguised himself as a farm hand and went with the doctor to his horse.  They both mounted the horse and the doctor shouted that Mrs. Courtney was dying and he was going for medicine and the farm hand would bring it back.  Because the doctor was well respected, the mob believed him and they rode to safety.  Mrs. Courtney lived and so did James.  He married Elizabeth Elviston a few years later and had several children.

Daniel Courtney, son of James and Elizabeth, married  Rachel DeHoff in Alliance, OH in 1866 and had several children...one of whom was Myrtle Courtney.  I found them listed in the Stark County Marriage Book.  

Click here to see the Daniel and Rachel DeHoff Courtney Family Group Record.

We have Daniel and Rachelís death dates from a book published by Alice Montgomery but we cannot find their graves.  One source has indicated that they were buried on the DeHoff family farm.  The 1900 census shows Myrtleís three younger sisters living with Myrtle and Marion Knight.  Daniel died in 1896 and Rachel died earlier, in 1891.

 In a book of old newspaper articles, I found this:  Columbiana Register says that a child of Daniel Courtney, near Beloit, Mahoning Co., OH was stolen from his residence on Sunday; Mr. C and Wife were visiting at neighbors while the 2 children slept, oldest about 4 years, youngest about 20 months; gone but a short time; on return they found the oldest child asleep and the youngest one gone.  Suspicion rests on a band of gypsies camped near by.

 Later:

 Child Lost & Found: from the Alliance Review we learn that 2 weeks ago yesterday evening, a child of Daniel Courtney, residing near Beloit, aged about 20 months, mysteriously disappeared from his dwelling while he and wife were away; on following Tuesday, about 9 o'clock, the family of Nathan Ball, a neighbor, were startled by hearing the wail of a child in an adjoining lot.  They hastened there and found the lost child, stripped on nearly every vestige of clothing and bruised and torn in a most shocking manner.  It is supposed the abductor, fearing discovery, returned it where it might be found.  There is no clue yet.

The kidnapped child appears to be Myrtle, Bertís grandmother. Here is the first picture we have found of her taken with her daughter, Ethel, Bert's mother. Myrtle married Marion Knight.  However, in searching for their marriage license, I discovered Myrtle had been married twice before she married Marion.  I do not know what happened to her first husband, but the article telling about James' arrest and acquittal for murdering Rachel Votaw was actually written to tell about Daniel's shooting of Myrtle's second husband, Frank T. Swaney.  

I cannot read the date but the year was 1890.  Since I know Myrtle and Frank Swaney were married on November 4, 1890, it must have been shortly after this.  Frank and Myrtle were living in Alliance.  Frank took Myrtle and her younger sister, Frances, to her parents home in Beloit.  The purpose was for Myrtle to make the younger children clothing.    Frances must have been living with Frank and Myrtle.  Frank went back to Alliance.  After everyone had gone to bed, Myrtle heard Frank out in the yard yelling for her to let him in.  She looked out and saw he had a revolver in his hand.  She dressed and she and Frances went down stairs and met her husband standing in the kitchen.  Apparently he had broken in.  He asked her to go home with him.  Her father, Daniel Courtney, ordered him to leave.  Daniel always slept with a loaded shotgun beside his bed.  He had it in his hand when he came to the bedroom door.  Frances started to go out the back door and Frank struck her.  Daniel ordered Frank to keep his hands off of his children  Frances started up the stairs to her room.  Frank grabbed her and pulled her down the stairs.  Daniel again ordered Frank to keep his hands off his children and to get out of his house.  Apparently Frank waved the gun at Daniel and Daniel shot him.  The girls all ran out of the house to a neighbor's house.  The doctor arrived shortly.  Daniel was in his bedroom with the door locked.  His son, Fred went outside and talked to him through the window and Daniel got up and unlocked the door.  Frank Swaney was lying on the kitchen floor with a large hole about two and a half inches wide in the groin.  He breathed a couple breaths and then expired.  Daniel admitted shooting Frank but said he did it in self-defense.  From all the testimony it looks as if the striking of Frances Courtney by Frank and his showing a revolver caused Daniel, who was a timid man, to shoot Frank from his bedroom door.  (There is no mention of Daniel's wife, Rachel, in the article.  Although we have her death date as May 24, 1891, it is possible she was sick in bed and that is why Myrtle was out there making clothing for the younger children.)

The case went before the grand jury.  Daniel's son, Fred's story was similar to his father's. He claimed to be in the room when the shooting occurred.  His testimony will probably clear the old gentleman, so the article reads.  I will write to the Youngstown Vindicator to see if I can find an outcome of the grand jury trial.

With the advent of the Internet, I found a living grandson of Daniel and Rachel.  His mother was Frances, the one who seemed to be the cause of the shooting. We did visit with him and he allowed me to copy many of his old family photos.  I was amazed to find out who many of the other family members looked like from those old photos. He didn't know any more about the murder so that was my last living source.  He went on to be with the Lord this year so I am glad we were able to visit with him..at least once.

 I have located graves and death certificates for most of Daniel and Rachelís children.  The one thing Francesí son did tell me was that the youngest girls were twins.  On the 1900 census I find an Ada and another place and household it is Ida.  Charles told me that they were twins and that Ida died when she was a young girl.  I have not found her death certificate or her grave.  

However, the search will continue!  This is certainly an interesting family!

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