Sunday, April 18, 2010

What I Learned from the Case of Freddie Driggs

Until yesterday I had no idea little Freddie Driggs existed or that he belonged in my family tree.

Yesterday morning I anticipated attending the meeting of the DAR down at the South Bend Public Library.  Upon arrival we discovered that the lady holding the meeting needed to cancel and reschedule.  Not wanting to waste the morning I asked Libby to direct me to the holdings for Wabash County Indiana.  I didn't anticpate finding much, after all the library is in St. Joseph County.  However, I was pleasantly surprised when Libby showed me a shelf of books pertaining to Wabash County.  Among them was a true gem "Wabash County Indiana Marriages 1835-1899".

I sat up my laptop and spent the next three hours entering marriage dates into my Family Tree Maker program.  For those marriages I couldn't yet connect to my family I entered the information into a word document knowing that down the road I may find the connections.  Among those I transcribed was one for:

Driggs, Asa  married Scott, Ida M. 31 Oct. 1889, Wabash County, Indiana

I am related through the Scott family and in my tree I did have an Ida M. Scott whose birth date may fit this marriage date but I was reluctant to make that connection just yet.

Later in the evening while watching a movie with my husband and baking chocolate chips cookies (I am the queen of multi-tasking!) I pulled out the old Brane Family bible intending to transcribe the births, marriages and deaths that my great-great Grandmother, Marilla Scott Brane, had glued and taped (yicks!) to the inside front of the bible.

This is one of the items I found cut out of the newspaper:

A large number of sympathizing relatives and friends attended the funeral of Frederick Earl Driggs at the M.E. chuch Friday torenoon. Rev. O.V.L. Harbour preached an excellent, comforting sermon from the words of David in 2 Samuel XII 23, "I shall go to him but he shall not return me." The choir feelingly sang "Rock of Ages," "Asleep in Jesus" and "Nearer My God to Thee." The pallbearers were classmates of Freddie and were preceded by six little girls in white, with arms full of beautiful flowers. Freddie' classmates, the Junior League, The Ladies Aid Society and my O.M. Bevington and family all sent beautiful flowers to the bereaved family. The stores were closed during the service. The remains were laid to rest in Park cemetery.

Then I found this cut from the paper:

Card of Thanks

Asa Driggs and family desire in this manner to express their thanks to the many friends and neighbors who assisted them so kindly during the sickness and death of little Freddie, also for the beautiful floral offerings given.

Now I felt I had enough evidence to connect Ida M. Scott (my G-G Grandmothers sister) to Asa Driggs
I also learned that Ida and Asa had a son Freddie who died young.  But how young and when did Freddie die?  The newspaper accounts didn't give me too much to go on besides the name of a cemetery, but no town in which it was located.

Next I turned to and looked for a census with Asa and Ida.  Bingo, the 1900 census shows
Asa and Ida in Fairmount, Grant, Indiana with their children Nellie, Fred and Harry.  I now had an estimated date of birth for Fred of 1893.

My next resource was Find A Grave.  I entered Asa Driggs Indiana into the search terms believing that his name was unique enough to limit search results.  And I found it.  Asa Driggs buried in Park Cemetery, Fairmount, Grant, Indiana.  I clicked on "find all Driggs in Park Cemetery" and there was little Freddie.  God bless the volunteer who entered this information into FAG.  He included full birth and death dates for Freddie, 18 Feb 1893 - 13 Jun 1906, which would make him 13 at the time of his death.  I also learned that Freddie and I share a birthdate, February 18th. 

I've added Freddie to the list of graves I want to visit in May when I travel to Wabash County.  I now feel a connection to this little boy (my first cousin 3x removed) and want to pay my respects.

What I learned from Freddie?  You can't get all the information you need from  To get a full picture of Freddie it took a book off the shelf of my local public library, an old family bible, and Find A Grave.  And a desire to learn the story of a little boys death.

Thank you for the lesson Freddie......


  1. Good detective work, Lisa! Your post shows how we need to leave no stone unturned in the search for our ancestors!

  2. Excellent research - this is just the kind of case I love to delve into!

  3. Wow, you've been busy. As soon as my hectic life calms down a bit, I need some lessons from my mentor.