Friday, November 13, 2015

#6: Genealogy is what I Do: The Yocums in Steubenville, Ohio

We always had a joke in our family about Granny Yocum, because that was my grandmother's maiden name. If you had known her you would never have guessed that she had real mountain roots, but that is exactly who she was. She talked about growing up running barefoot among the wildflowers in Missouri. My older brother sent me a package once with a note that this was about our family history and of course it was a book about "Lil' Abner".
Another thing Grandma mentioned was that her family had reunions in Steubenville, Ohio. My sister and I decided to look into this, so we drove to Steubenville, to the historical society there. What we found was a write up from one of those Yocum reunions which led us to look around and discover our ancestor, John Yocum, living in that area with his wife, Sarah Davis, and a long list of children. There are land records, church records, grave sites, and obituaries about these ancestors.
According to the records we found there, John Yocum was born in Reading, PA in 1799. Naturally we followed this trip up with a trip to Reading, but do you know how many John Yocum's there are in that part of Pennsylvania? Neither do I, but it is a large number. I have a cousin who spent a lot of time trying to untangle all the John Yocums, but we still don't have a clear connection. Yes, some online trees, name a certain family, but can't seem to prove it. I'm always open to suggestions!
To move forward, John had a son, Philip, who married Margaret Randolph (this was his second wife). They had a son, Lafayette, who married Ida Mae McClure and they are my grandmother's parents.
Ida Mae was a quilter (I have a couple quilts she made) and a great cook ( I enjoy making her recipe for chicken and dumplings-below). They lived in Illinois and later in Missouri, where Grandma grew up.

Ida Mae's Chicken and Dumplings

1 stewing chicken (or a 2 ½ to 3 lb. frying chicken)
2 or 3 quarts of water (enough to cover chicken)
Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 cups of flour (for a fair amount of dumplings)

Cover stewing chicken with water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until tender. (Salt can be added to the water if desired.) Remove chicken from the broth and allow to cool slightly; remove the meat from the bones and cut into bite size pieces. Return the chicken to the broth and add pepper to taste. Bring the broth to a boil.
While the broth is coming to a boil, mix together 2 -3 cups of flour with salt to taste in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour. Pour in enough hot chicken broth to moisten the dry ingredients. Stir together until you get a rollable consistency, Roll out to about a ¼ inch thickness and cut into two inch squares. Drop dumplings into boiling broth one at a time and gently stir after each addition. Cook until done. (no longer tastes doughy) About 10-15 minutes. Makes about 6 servings

Ida Mae McClure Yocum