Effie’s Mystery Man


A while back, I shared a painting by Effie Skaggs, my great-aunt. That one featured baby Effie sitting on the knee of my 3rd great-grandfather, Thomas Ellison. It seems that Effie was quite the painter but unfortunately, the family does not know who the subjects are in some of the portraits.

Now, my challenge is to figure out who is the man in this painting.

This painting shows an intense, reasonably young man with dark hair. That hairline might be a help in identifying this mystery ancestor. Another clue is the tie which looks like the style from the 1860s where most of it is hidden by the shirt collar.

painting unknown man by effie martin skaggs

Portrait of unknown ancestor by Effie Martin Skaggs

Let’s round up some possibilities. I’d love for it to be a Martin or an Ellison, but we must also consider Skaggs and Osborn on her husband’s side of the family.

Effie’s husband was:

Henry Talbot Skaggs
BIRTH – 14 SEP 1848 • Indiana
DEATH  – 25 DEC 1920 • Enterprise, Wallowa, Oregon

I’m thinking it may be a generation older than Effie and Henry. So it could be one of these men below. I don’t have any photos of either of them to compare to this painting.

Her father was:

Charles Coleman MARTIN
BIRTH – 26 JANUARY 1831 • Kentucky
DEATH – 16 AUG 1886 • Madison, Greenwood County, Kansas

Her father-in-law was:

Solomon Skaggs
BIRTH – 23 MAY 1822 • Lawrence County, Indiana, USA
DEATH – 21 OCT 1864 • Alton, Madison, Illinois

It could even be an uncle of Effie’s or of her husband, Henry. That gives us these possibilities: Charles Coleman’s brothers are Thomas Claggett Martin, William Allen Martin, James Henry Martin. Solomon Skaggs’ brother was John Wesley Skaggs.

Now, I do have a photo of Thomas Martin but he is older and with a white beard, not easily compared to Effie’s painting. My eye is drawn to his son, Hal Roach Martin, standing behind him. Look at the dark hair and the hairline but with the mustache, it is hard to see his mouth for comparison purposes.

I’m still thinking that Henry/Hal Roach Martin (born in 1855) is the wrong generation for the painting. Consider this, could he be a good representation of what his father looked like twenty years earlier or maybe even his uncle, Charles Coleman Martin?

People in the photo are Martha Ann, Elizabeth J, Henry Roach, Mary E, Laura Belle, front row: Milton T, Thomas Martin (bearded man), wife Mary Margaret Sullivan, Sadie L. photo from Merle Martin, sent to Gail Lee Martin.

H Roach Martin (2)

Looking at them side-by-side, I’m just not sure. The nose, hairline, and maybe even the ears look like a good match, but the subject in the photo has more angular cheekbones. I really would love to attach a name to this painting by Effie. It’s quite possible that it’s my direct ancestor, Charles Coleman Martin.

It would be great if the cousin who has the painting could find the photo that it may be based on and that it might have the name of the person written on the back. One can hope!

Family Dates for July




Henry Alfred Joy (paternal great-grandfather)
Died – 2 July 1937 • Hamilton, Greenwood, Kansas

Eleanor Dunn (paternal 3rd great-grandmother)
Died – 3 July 1850  • Butler County, Pennsylvania

Marie C. Kennedy (paternal great-grandmother)
Died – 6 July  1945 • Topeka, Shawnee, Kansas

Mary “Polly” Bysebe/Byxbe/Bixby (3rd great-grandmother)
Born – 8 July 1799 • Somerset, Pennsylvania

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Thomas Ellison (paternal 3rd great-grandfather)
Born – 10 July 1809 • Madison, Kentucky

Sarah Vest Munroe (maternal 3rd great-grandmother)
Born – 10 July 1811 • Kentucky

Almira H Buckland (maternal 2nd great-grandmother)
Born – 13 July 1813 • Broad Brook, East Windsor, Hartford, Connecticut

Mary “Polly” Bysebe/Byxbe/Bixby (maternal 3rd great-grandmother)
Died – 13 July 1851 • Wabash, Indiana

Clarence Oliver McGhee & Ruth Vining (maternal grandparents)
Married – 14 July 1917 • Tyro, Montgomery, Kansas

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Ezra B Babcock (maternal 2nd great-grandfather)
Died – 15 July 1886 • Piatt, Illinois

John Thomas Martin (paternal great-grandfather)
Died – 27 July 1944 • Madison, Greenwood, Kansas

Henry Francis Vining (maternal great-grandfather)
Died – 28 July 1897 • Chetopa, Wilson, Kansas

The format is what genealogists use (day month year) and for locations (town, county, state). Paternal and maternal refer to whether it is my father or mother’s side of the family. The relationships are how they are related to me, but other family members like cousins will have to adjust that to fit themselves. For privacy reasons, no living names were included.

Family Dates for June



Clyde Owen Martin and Gail Lee McGhee (parents)
Married – 3 June 1945 in Neodesha, Wilson, Kansas

Ruth Vining (maternal grandmother)
Born – 10 June 1897  Wilson, Marion, Kansas

Austin Leonard McGhee (great-uncle, maternal side) 
Born – 10 June 10 1912 • Tyro, Montgomery, Kansas

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Solomon McGhee (3rd great-grandfather, maternal)
Born – 12 June 1808 in Washington, Tennessee

Viola Matilda Tower (great-grandmother, maternal)
Died – 13 June 1969 in Wellsville, Franklin, Kansas 

John Thomas Martin (paternal great-grandfather)
Born – 21 June 1866 • Ellisville, Fulton, Illinois

Prudence Burns (paternal 3rd great-grandmother)
Born – 21 June 1796 • Butler, Butler, Pennsylvania

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David Greacen Kennedy and Elizabeth Rosebaugh (2nd great-grandparents, paternal)
Married – 22 June 1848 in Butler County, Pennsylvania

The format is what genealogists use (day month year) and for locations (town, county, state). Paternal and maternal refer to whether it is my father or mother’s side of the family. The relationships are how they are related to me, but other family members like cousins will have to adjust that to fit themselves. For privacy reasons, no living names were included.


K Is For Kennedy and Greacen Roots


In 1915, The Kennedy family held a reunion in Pennsylvania. Here’s the newspaper article on that gathering. It was quite informative on the history of the family.

The annual reunion of the descendants of David and Jane Greacen Kennedy pioneers of Muddycreek township, Butler County, was held Saturday at Alameda Park. One hundred and fifty people were in attendance, A splendid dinner was served, after which a business session was held and officers elected.

The afternoon was spent in visiting and renewing acquaintances. The following are the officers: President C. H. Kennedy of Butler, vice president W. C. Kennedy of New Castle. Secretary and Treasurer Russell Kennedy of Pittsburgh.

Russell Kennedy, the historian of the family, presented a prospectus of the coming family history, giving a sketch of the family genealogy, and numerous portraits of the pioneers and scenes in Prospect, Portersville, Muddycreek Township and other places where the pioneers located. David and Jane Greacen Kennedy played an important part in the early history of the western section of Butler county.

They were natives of North Ireland and came to America shortly after the war of the revolution, first locating in Philadelphia. Four of five sons were born in America, Jesse the youngest in Butler county. The 5 sons were blacksmiths by trade and when the family lived in Philadelphia were engaged in freighting with the old Conestoga wagons between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Later, the family removed to Pittsburgh. John, one of the sons made the first iron nails, in his shop in Pittsburgh that were made west or the Allegheny mountains.

The Kennedy brothers hauled the first load of freight in 1804. The freight was consigned to John Potts, who opened the first general store here (Butler, Pennsylvania) on Main street on the site of the Odd Fellows’ Temple.


David Kennedy Jr. another son of the reunion pioneer, erected the first sawmill, grist mill and a fulling mill in Muddy Creek, where he had taken up a large tract of land.

Another brother erected the mill on Slippery Rock creek now known as McConnell’s Mills. The other brothers located in the western part of the county and were prominent factors in the early development of the community. The descendants of the pioneers are numbered by the scores and occupy important positions in business, industrial and professional circles in all parts of the United States.

McConnells_Mill at Slippery Rock PA - Kennedy history wikipedia creative commons image

Daniel Kennedy’s mill, later called McConnell’s Mill at Slippery Rock, PA.

Among those present Saturday were: Robert Kennedy of Los Angeles, California; Mrs. P. L. Miller of St. Petersburg, Florida; Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Kennedy of Clearfield, Pa., and Russell Kennedy and George Kennedy of Pittsburgh, and Robert Aiken Esq., of New Castle.

kennedy reunion 1915

Kennedy family reunion in 1915. From the Butler Citizen (Butler, Pennsylvania) 06 Sep 1915, Mon  •  Page 5.

I found a site that features some vintage postcards of the Kennedy Mill of Grant City, Pennsylvania, and there’s a covered bridge too. The mill was torn down in 1933.

Here’s more about the mill from Wikipedia: Daniel Kennedy opened a gristmill on Slippery Rock Creek in 1852. The mill was destroyed by fire in 1868 and was quickly rebuilt. Ownership of the mill was transferred to the park’s namesake, Thomas McConnell in 1875. He replaced the waterwheel with water turbines and the grindstones with rolling mills. This made McConnell’s Mill one of the first rolling mills in the country. The mill processed oats, corn, buckwheat, and wheat until it was closed in 1928. Ownership of the land transferred from Thomas H. Hartman to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1942. The conservancy then transferred the land to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1957. Now a state park.

david greacen kennedy and elizabeth rosebaugh kennedy_studio po (1)

David Greacen Kennedy, a grandson of David and Jane Kennedy. DGK and wife, Elizabeth Rosebaugh Kennedy moved their family to Kansas in the 1800s. He died in 1906.

Line of Descent/How I’m Related to These Kennedys:

DAVID KENNEDY (1752 – 1840)
4th great-grandfather
Edward KENNEDY (1789 – 1864)
David Greacen Kennedy (1821 – 1906)
Son of Edward KENNEDY
Marie C. KENNEDY (1864 – 1945)
Daughter of David Greacen Kennedy
Cora Myrle Joy (1896 – 1969)
Daughter of Marie C. KENNEDY
Clyde Owen Martin (1924 – 2012)
Son of Cora Myrle Joy



Well, my first foray into posting on this particular WordPress blog ended in failure!  It ended up as a very nice post on my OTHER WordPress blog, so you may just have to visit it to read the post:  http://heytoto.wordpress.com/

I don’t see how to add photos to a post on this blog, although I see that you have used photos in your posts, Ginger.

Moving from My Family


The purpose of this blog is to preserve and keep available all the family information gathered on the My Family – Martin/McGhee site. The My Family site is closing down, but we want the pictures, stories and discussions kept safe.

In addition, we can keep adding more family photos, stories and history.

We've Moved - Vintage Suitcases Postcards
We've Moved – Vintage Suitcases Postcards by eclecticdreams