Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In Search of Eliza Ann.....

In 2007 I began a journey into family history.  One of the biggest mysteries I encountered is that of my great great great grandmother, Eliza Ann Clay Millet Nafus.   Eliza Ann was born sometime after August 1850...less than a year after her parents, John & Sarah and older sister Elizabeth boarded a ship called the Patrick Henry and set sail for the US from Liverpool, England.  The Patrick Henry arrived in New York on December 5, 1849.  John, Sarah and Elizabeth were 3 of 353 passengers aboard the ship.  Making up the ship's manifest were over 248 Irish, who left Ireland during the potato famine, 4 children were born on the voyage and three infants perished.

The Clays arrived in New York, and by 1860 they had made their way to Buchanan County, Iowa.  They were now a family of 8...John, Sarah, Elizabeth, my Eliza Ann, Henry, William and twins Alice and Albert...just infants.  In 1868, Eliza Ann married Elmer Millet and became an instant mother to his three small children after he lost his first wife in 1865.  Elmer and Eliza Ann had four children of their own, including my great great grandma, Nellie Millet.  Sometime in 1875, Elmer, Eliza Ann and the 7 children moved to Montgomery County, Kansas.  The 1875 census is the last time Eliza Ann, Elmer and children are all together.  By 1878, Eliza has married Daniel 'Merris' Nafus and had another son, Cornelius, born in November of 1878.  In the 1880 cenus, Eliza, Daniel, Cornielus and children Sadie and Jenny from her marriage to Elmer are living in Labette Co, Kansas.  Missing amongst them are Elmer's children by his first marriage and Eliza and Elmer's two children, Nellie and son Lewis.  All these children are living with other families in Labette and Montgomery Co, Kansas.  Eliza and Daniel had another son, Daniel in 1882.  Its here after 1882, there is no record of the Nafus's until 1900 and Eliza Ann is no longer living.  I suspect she died sometime soon after 1882, because in an autobiography of Labette Co, pioneer, Jabez Zink he states that Sadie Millet (born in 1876) came to live with them at the age of 6.

Here's the only known picture we have of Eliza Ann Clay Millet Nafus....perhaps she's boarding that water barge, along the Neosho river somewhere in Labette County, Kansas.  She certainly looks older than a woman in her 30s with 6 children and 3 step children, 2 marriages.


  1. You are very fortunate to have photos back that far and history.
    Goldenray Yorkies

  2. Love your post about Grandma!

  3. Hi Carmen, Thanks for posting this. I stumbled on it when researching the wife of a distant cousin. Her name was Jennie and her death certificate lists her father as John Millet (born in IA) and mother as Anna Clay (born in NY). I'm wondering if she could be the Jenny you mentioned in your post! My Jennie was born 01 Mar 1871 in Des Moines, Iowa and died on 15 Oct 1939 in Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas. Her husband was Fredrick "Fred" E. Melat. It's a bit confusing because his last name was Melat and her maiden name seems to be Millet! I'm wondering if you know anything about Eliza Ann daughter Jenny and if she might possibly the same Jennie that I'm researching. Any insight you have would be very helpful. Thanks so much!

    Sara Cobb