My name is Ellen Rowan Taylor. I am the daughter of Martha Evelyn Bearden Rowan and Charles Hammond Rowan. My interest in family history began a long time ago, with the picture of the Civil War cavalry officer on the horse that hung on the wall in my Bearden grandparents’ dining room. I always knew he was my great great grandfather, John Goodheart. One of my cousins has the picture now. When I saw it again, after thirty some years, I realized that it was not a photograph, but a drawing. It shows him in uniform, on his horse. It was the only picture of him in uniform and did not look much like the photographs that we have.
Grandma Bearden also had a book that was written about the pioneers in McLean County Illinois, “Good Old Times In McLean County”. I read the chapter about William Goodheart, John’s father, over and over, and took it as the Gospel truth. Now that I’m older and wiser, I suspect there is some truth to it. William Goodheart was born in Scotland, according to that history book. I knew that others came from Germany, and that one Great grandmother was named Robb, so she must have been a Scot, but I really knew nothing else.
I started serious genealogy research in 1978 when we moved to Fort Wayne Indiana which has the second largest genealogy library in the world. At about the same time I discovered Jennie Bearden Nau, who had been searching for our Bearden roots for years. She had compiled a very large collection of information, a lot of it well documented and some of it word of mouth. She wrote a book called “The Bearden Brats”, and I have relied on a lot of her research for my own story. Sadly, my grandmother Bearden died before I got around to asking the questions about her side of the family. . Despite that, there are still stories to be found, just by looking at census records, land records, county histories, city directories and military records and pension records. Almost every ancestor leaves some kind of a footprint.
Our people were ordinary, no royalty, no kings or queens in our line, but no criminals either-so far. On the other hand, we had Revolutionary War Soldiers, Civil War soldiers and some other real pioneers in our past. A lot of them migrated to this country very early in its history. They came into Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, and possibly Pennsylvania before the Revolutionary War. They came from Germany, and probably England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They were Protestant, and probably left their homelands to seek a better life, to be able to own their own land, and for religious freedom. The Scots, the Robbs, Boyds, and Pattersons were probably Presbyterian. They may have migrated to Northern Ireland 100 years earlier. The Beardens were Baptist, and the Shobers were probably Lutheran. I will always wonder who and what they left behind. When they came here from Great Britain before the revolutionary war, they didn’t need immigration records because America still belonged to Great Britain. Even though the travelers suffered extreme hardships and long journeys, they were not immigrants. Of all of the ancestors who came here before the Revolution, the Shobers, Germans, were the only ones with actual records.
If you look at the photos below on the page, every surname is represented. The photos that I inherited were just dumped in a coat box. Lots of children with dirty little hands looked at the pictures, and four women, Sarah Kate Shober, Kathryn Goodheart Woost, Josephine Bearden Woost, and Evelyn Bearden Rowan labeled most of the pictures. I am scanning all of them, and will share.
Link here to see the family tree When you get to the link, be sure to click to enlarge it so you can read it.