The Keithsburg Chronicles
The Carrs are one of the most interesting families in our line. They were so interesting, in fact, that I heard stories of them as a child, 8 generations after Charlotte, who was my ancestress (officially).
The Carr family history in America is inextricably linked to that of the Davis family; in particular, to the remarkable Alexander Davis. These two families lived together in a complex relationship, from the wilds of Kansas, to finally settle in Keithsburg.
In stories that I heard in Keithsburg as a child, Charlotte is remembered for her accent. Additionally, it is remembered that Alexander Davis married her sister Agnes, for whom he built Hilltop House. There, she died giving birth, the story goes.
We also know that the extended family of the widowered Alex Davis, Charlotte Carr (after she apparently left her husband James Waters back in Kansas), Charlotte and James’s children, and sister Mary, all lived together at Hilltop House. A Civil War uniform (Stephen Carr's?) still hung in the attic of Hilltop House in the 1940s.
In return for housekeeping and other
chores, Alex provided room and board, and educated the children, rather
well by frontier standards. Ed had considerable medical knowledge,
and I have his Cottage Physician, from which I will eventually
scan some samples of frontier medicine!
Ed Waters's grandson, Dwight Brown, was the final owner of Hilltop
Our stories tell that the Davis family befriended the Carrs in the Kansas Territory; and that the Carrs were desperately impoverished. Alex was a kind and honorable man, and helped raise, house, and educate two generations of the Carr's extended family. My family kept Alex's obituary in a box with the Waters and Carr clippings (see the Obituaries page).
Nadine Holder has done much scholarly work on the Carr family. I want to commend her for the depth of her research, the quality of her pages, and the careful, methodical research that she has shared with us at her site. If you are interested in detailed information about the Carr family, run, don't walk, to that URL!
Thanks are due to Kimberly Kohl, as well, for actually traveling to Carlisle to get hard data, and sharing it with all of us.Thanks also to Kimberly for clearing up confusion regarding the fact that there was no blood relationship between the Davis and Waters families in this household.
The Carrs came from Carlisle, England (which sits on the Scottish border, at the west end of Hadrian's Wall). The Carrs were apparently descended from the Border Reivers who terrorized the English/Scottish border for centuries. Happily, our Carrs were far more civilized than these remote ancestors!
The last residents of Hilltop House were Retta Brown and her uncle Jimmy Gray. Jimmy Gray was locally known for his séances, and there is some history of the region as a "Spiritualist Hotbed" (see http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Shores/2731/Social60.html for more on this). Retta was the sister-in-law of Ed Waters's daughter, and the house was (and is) owned by Ed's grandson, Dwight Brown.
Hilltop House sat empty for decades at its end, this year. Some hooligans apparently chose it as a place to attempt to cook crystal methedrine, and managed to burn it down in 2002 The property is still farmed.
CONTINUE TO THE FAMILY PAGE OF WILLIAM AND ELIZABETH