16 May 2006

A Favorite Ancestor: Milton Monroe Comstock

16 May 2006
From time to time I thought I would write about some of the most interesting ancestors that I have come across in my genealogy research. This ancestor is not actually one of mine, rather, he is one of my wife's; her great-great-great grandfather.

Milton Monroe Comstock

Milton was born c. 1834 in Jennings County, Indiana, the son of John Carter Comstock and Ruth French. He died February 7th, 1890 in a very mysterious manner ... but more of that in a minute.

Milton was married twice and, in both instances, the marriages ended tragically. His first wife, Emaline Smith (daughter of Dexter Smith and Jemima Keeling), died only 6 days after giving birth to their only child, a daughter, Emaline (my wife's direct ancestor). Emaline was born 3 Feb 1857 in Bloomfield, Davis Co., Iowa and her mother died on the 9th of that month. Emaline was then raised by her grandparents before ending up marrying into the Peugh family and moving to California.

Ten years after the death of his first wife, Milton married again. His second wife was Martha Wells, daughter of William and Mahala Wells, and they married 29 March 1867 in Appanoose Co., Iowa. Three children were born to this marriage, all of whom died in infancy, surviving only a few months. To add to the tragedy, Martha herself died 9 Jan 1870, less than 3 years after their marriage.

After losing both of his wives and three children, Milton must have decided to seek his fortune and left Iowa for Nevada. Certainly, by February 1873, Milton was living in the town of Belmont, Nye Co., Nevada, where he is also recorded in the 1875 Nevada state census.

At that time, Belmont, which is now mostly a ghost town in the middle of nowhere, was the county seat of Nye County (until replaced by Tonopah, in 1905) and a thriving silver-mining community.

Well, the story goes that one day Emaline, his daughter, received a letter from Milton telling her that he had made a strike and they would not have anything more to worry about but a few weeks later she received word of his death and all she ever received was an old trunk with a few clothes in it which was sent to her by his partner, or possibly his lawyer.

Whether this is true or not, I have no idea, but it is certainly plausible.

A few years ago my wife and I took a journey to Belmont, staying a shortish drive away in Tonopah. We looked around the Belmont cemetery and also did some research in the local library/museum but were unable to find any details of his death - so if you should happen to locate any information on him, please let me know!!

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Kelly said...

Not sure if this blog is still active. I am a descendent of Artemesha Comstock (Miltons sister). I believe she named more than one of her children after her siblings. Nice blog on Milton..I learned alot!

Ian F. said...

Hi Kelly,

I haven't written anything on this blog in quite a while but am fascinated by Milton.

Unknown said...

Milton was my great, great grandfather. My mother had retold the same story to me. I have tried to find more information but have been unable to. So glad to read your post.

Ian Feavearyear said...

Hi "Unknown" - if you read this, I'd love to hear from you to find out more about your mother and the story she told you.

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