Major Ira Winans

Letters to:
  George E. Carey
  William J. Winans

Throughout the pages of this Carey Family Album you will see acknowledgements of the debt we owe to Major Ira Winans, whose research is the foundation of much of what we know about my father's ancestors. (In fact, there are so many references to Ira Winans' work that we make no attempt to index all references to him in our surname index!) His biography appeared on pp. 362-363 of Winans Family, by Orin Clifford Winans:

434 - 265. IRA71 Winans (Same lineage as 432-265) Born on Dec. 26, 1839, at Chili, New York; died Nov. 2, 1931, at Rochester, New York, buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery, Rochester, New York; married on June 21, 1870, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Sarah Edmunds Peck, by Rev. Solomon Peck, father of the bride. She died July 3, 1897.

Ira served in the Army through out the Civil War. He enlisted at New York on May 28, 1861, as a Private, and was a Lieutenant before the end of the year. He was a Captain [of 99th Regiment, New York Infantry] early in 1862, and the record shows him "Promoted to Major of 26th Regt. U.S. Colored Troops, March 1, 1864".

The record shows him as a clerk, with address as Bowling Green, New York, at the time of enlistment; height 5 ft. 9 inches; complexion, fair; color of eyes, hazel; color of hair, brown.

He was discharged on Aug. 28, 1865, at Hilton Head, South Carolina. After the War he resided at: Brooklyn, Kings County, til spring of 1866; Avon, Livingston County, until Feb., 1868; and, after Feb. 28, 1868, at Rochester, Monroe County, all in New York State. His occupation was traveling salesman.

In his later years, Ira did a great deal of Genealogical work on the Winans Family. In Oct., 1918, he wrote to this writer, O. Clif. Winans, that he had "2600 family records, in each of which a husband or wife was a Winans". He mentioned his work as The Winans Family In America, and signed his letters as "(3) Ira7 Winans, Compiler". In a letter of Feb. 25, 1919, Ira Winans mentioned that he and Prof. Samuel Ross Winans had been working together since 1906, gathering genealogical material on the Winans family.

He did not put his work into print, but there is said to be several boxes of his material in the Rochester, New York, Library, much of which Mrs. Alice Winans Egy, of California, and others, have copied portions. It will be noticed that "Major Ira Winans" is listed quite frequently as "Reference" in this manuscript, and this writer hereby expresses deep gratitude for the great amount of assistance "Major Ira" contributed to this work.

On April 10, 1931, Ira Winans fell in his home and fractured the femur of his left leg. He died Nov. 2, 1931, in the Genesee Hospital, Rochester, New York, of gangrene of left leg and contributory causes.

William Wallace9 Winans Jr., a grandson of Major Ira7 Winans, relates, in a February, 1940, letter to Charles Oran Winans, that the Major had lunch with President Abraham Lincoln, on a Battlefield, during the Civil War.

He also wrote that Major Ira was one of a family of 16; that two brothers ran away from home, one to Texas, the other to Chicago.

Six children of Major Ira7 and Sarah:

  1. EDWIN PECK8 Winans2
  2. HENRY EDWARDS8 Winans
  5. HELEN ROOT8 Winans
  6. IRENE DUPONT8 Winans

(Ref.: 1918 letters of Ira Winans, U. S. Army records Ira Winans, and letter of Ira's grandson, William Wallace9 Winans Jr.)

Ira Winans' entry in Mrs. Egy's book is on page 45 of the section devoted to the descendants of John Winans' grandson William. Major Ira is a descendant of our common Winans ancestor, via the following line:

Major Ira must have written to hundreds of people to inquire about their Winans ancestors, relentlessly tracking down every possible scrap of information, questioning them about their parents and grandparents, asking the names of others who might be able to contribute more data. Sometimes he wrote to people who were less interested in genealogy than he was, and his letters went unanswered. I've transcribed here two letters which he wrote to my great-uncle, Rev. George E. Carey, in 1917:

[see original letter, page 1 2 3]

247 Meigs St.
Rochester, N. Y.,
Mar. 16, 1917

Rev. George EdwardW.8 Carey
Troy, Ohio

Dear Sir,

Your letter and genealogical data arrived duly and I thank you for them. I have written to Mr. Samuel WinansW.8 Carey3 for your parents' and such other data as he can give, and to Mr. Ed McConnell for his parents'. Until you gave your gr-ma's name as "Mary Hannah" I had known of her as Hannah only. Which child in order of birth - number - was she? Your father may know. Her birth date, 1806, May 7, would, in usual order of two years apart, make her the 4th child if the twins Charlotte6 and Susan6, were not born before her.

(2) Stephen5 (born 1774 Mar. 26) and Charlotte (Marsh) (born 1781, May 20) Winans,4 married, 1799, Mar. 24, and had (1) Samuel6, born 1800, May 20, (2) William Marsh6, born 1801, Sep. 4, in Elizabeth, N. J., ( ) Stephen6 born 1810, Aug. 2, died 1885, May 14th in Sweetland, Calif. I have not birth-dates of your other gt-uncle and aunts, and would like to secure them.

Who has the family Bible or other records of "Births", "Marriages", "Deaths" of (2) Stephen & Charlotte (Marsh) Winans? (X)5 Mr. (3) James CampbellW.7 Todd6 ((1) Sarah Jane6 (Winans) T.; (8)(5) Abner Ross5; (5) James4, Jonathan3, (7) Conrad2, John1 & 1st) of P.O.R. 1, Box 16, Troy, O., very kindly and trustfully loaned me last year, leaves of Bible records of families of Jonathan3; (6) Samuel4; (5) Richard Woodruff5; (4) John Clawson6; (4) Abner Ross6; (1) Richard Maxwell7, (5) Richard Woodruff5 and David Clark6 Winans.

I inclose "Winans Family in America" sheet showing your line of descent. Can you inform me of name & P.O. of any descendant of (1) Samuel6 (b. 1800 May 20th, died 1879, Apr. 23) and wife Mary A7 _____ (born 1801, May 27, died 1880, Aug. 9) Winans, both buried in Grace Lawn Cem., Elkhart, Ind., insc'ns on monument? Will you please fill space under fine type heading of your "F.R." and "A.C." sheets with transpired data of your family and return them? What is the correct name of a chapel & cemetery about half a mile from (X), and North of Troy? Which Winans first occupied the "Winans farm" on which (X) is? and how early?

Your local histories say that Samuel4 Winans and family came to your section in 1807, but I think his son (2) Stephen5, staid in N. J.8 till all his children were born and arrived there quite a few years later. Do you know when?

As you may not know the names of all your gt. uncles & aunts here they are; but I don't know if all in order of birth, though I wish their order: (1) Samuel6; (2) Wm Marsh6; Sarah6 m. Cummings Scudder; Margaret6; Catherine6 m. an Acus or Ayers which? or both?9 ; Charlotte6 twin, m. 1st (?) 2d Pierce or Pearse; Susan6 twin, m. Enos Hathaway; Stephen6 m. Eliza Johnston (b. 1811, Aug 28, in Ft. Wayne, Ind., d. 1876 Oct. 1st) in 1831, Apr. 8, in Piqua, O., and they had 8 ch'n, all born there; Frazee Marsh6, an officer in U. S. Army, did he marry? any desc'd'ts - who & where? Mary Hannah6, whose data you probably have. If not I can give what I have.

I got some of Dr. (4) George Augustus EddyW.7 Carey,10 M.D.'s data from his dau., Miss Addie MayW.8 Carey, in 1911, but haven't rec'd sheets back that I submitted 3/16, 1911.

Hoping that you continuously are able to strengthen Christians and convert sinners I wish you happiness and prosperity. I am a Baptist.

Yours sincerely,
Ira7 Winans,

[see original letter, page 1 2]

247 Meigs St.
Rochester, N. Y.,
Mar. 29, 1917

Rev. George Edward Carey
Troy, Ohio

Rev. and Dear Sir,

Was glad to get your "F.R." & "A.C." sheets back so perfectly filled, so promptly, with your letter of 20th inst. Have written to Mr. Kinder for name & P.O. of Winans who reared him, and to Mrs. LauraW.7 (Pierce) Naus for "F.R." of her mother's families - m. 1st Wiley, 2nd Henry Pierce.11

Your gr-f. Benjamin ClarkW.6 Cary's parents were George Almasia Carey12 and (8)(7) Phebe (Clark) C., and she from David (2d hus.) and Mrs. (2) Sarah4 (Winans) Scudder (1st hus) Clark. (Jonathan3; (7) Conrad2; John1 & 1st) So you are a gt-gt-gt-gr-son of Jonathan3 Winans on your gr-father Benj. ClarkW.6 Carey's side and on your gr-mother, Mary Hannah6 (Winans) Carey's side - a double gr-son.

If it is your gt-gr-g., George Almasia Carey, that is buried in Raper Chapel cemetery I wish I could get a copy of his & wife's, if also bur. there, tombstone inscriptions.

On Dec. 28, 1915, James CampbellW.7 Todd ((1) Jane C.6 (Winans) T.; (8)(5) Abner Ross5; (5) James; Jonathan3; (7) Conrad2; John1 & 1st) of R.F.D. 1, Box 16, Troy, O., wrote: "Just as soon as we can go over to the grave yard (Raper Chapel Cem.) (live half-mile from it) will take the names from the head-stones, that will be a big help", but I haven't heard that he did. Those inscriptions certainly would be a "big help". What is Raper Chapel cemetery's sexton's name and P.O.?

I thank you for reference to Mr. Kinder and Mrs. Naus. Professor Winans had it spelled Nause. Which is correct? Hope your brother, Sam'l WinansW.8 Carey, will rise to the occasion & send data of your parents' family soon. Thanking you for the interest you manifest in the "W.F.I.A." genealogy.

I was told, by a missionary, that a Chinaman who can't give the genealogy of his family isn't of much repute, that when he loaned one the Gospel of Matthew, and after a while asked him what progress he had made in it, he replied that he had learned the genealogy of Jesus Christ.

Yours sincerely,
Ira7 Winans,

Col. Warren Carey visited the Rochester library in the 1940s and photocopied some of the documents Ira left behind, including the following letters to Major Ira which are a part of this family album:

During 2013 and 2014, I've been in touch with a cousin in Albany, NY, David Winans, who has supplied a great deal of information on his own Winans line. Dave shared with us this letter from Major Ira to his great-grandfather, William Jasper Winans (1865-1919), which he doesn't think W. J. ever answered...

[see original letter, page 1 2]

247 Meigs St.
Rochester, N. Y.,
Feb. 15, 1919

Mr. William Jasper8 Winans
Kent, Ohio

My dear Kinsman,

Since 1906 I have gathered over 2,600 family records of "Winans Family In America", in each of which a husband or wife was a Winans, and wish to add your father's and yours to them. Will you please fill the spaces under the fine type headings of the "F.R." and "A.C." sheets herewith, with data that they indicate and return them? I inclose sheet showing your line of descent.

I have tried to get into correspondence with you repeatedly, but perhaps failed supposing that you were "W. H. Winans of the Associated Charities" whose name appeared in an article in the Cleveland Leader in 1912, June 26: "Says Beggars Fill City." and in: "Green & Winans Enter Race for State Labor Job", of other date. I sent those excerpts to your cousin, (6) Francis Marion Winans, of Crestline, O. He replied: "Wm. Jasper Winans, of Kent, O. is the man referred to as 'W. H.' Winans, in the clipping about the State Labor Commission. I can't say who the 'W. H.' Winans in the other clipping refers to." Since I didn't get reply to any of my communications I infer that they didn't reach you.

If they did, and you remained silent, I hope you will answer this, and if you dislike to bother with the papers, will refer me to someone who can and probably will fill them.

A compiler is largely dependent for records on the relatives. Very few have failed me.

Yours sincerely,
(3) Ira7 Winans,

Major Ira also sent W. J. a "Sample Sheet of Family Record." He sent a similar sheet to all his correspondents and I may have, somewhere, the one he sent to Uncle George. This printed sheet shows the descent and children of Ira's own parents and is much marked-up. It makes interesting reading, and I have transcribed it and included it in Theodore E. Winans' page.

Ira and Sarah Winans are interred at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester in plot 165 of Section C.

1 These are Major Ira's, or O. C. Winans', superscripts, and appear in blue in the text. They refer to the generation, counting from John Winans, the immigrant, to which the person belonged. My footnotes are keyed to red superscripts. The purple numbers in front of a person's name refer to the order of births within that person's family.
2 Edwin died of scarlet fever, just short of his fourth birthday. He is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY. There is a very touching transcription of his mother's diary entries from the first and last days of Edwin's life on page 5 of the Fall 1994 issue of Epitaph: The Friends of Mount Hope Newsletter.
3 My grandfather, who was George's younger brother.
4 Stephen and Charlotte were my g-g-g-grandparents.
5 The (X) may refer to a point on a map near where Raper chapel and Mr. Todd's farm were located.
6 There is some confusion as to James Campbell Todd's birth and death dates and lineage between various sources. There may even be two individuals with this name. I won't try to address these issues here, but would welcome any clarifications which his descendants might provide.
7 Mrs. Egy gives Mary's last name as Taylor.
8 I arrived at a similar conclusion while studying Stephen's family, although I wasn't aware at the time of Ira's opinion on the subject.
9 Catherine's first husband's name appears to be Hiram Acus.
10 Dr. George A. E. Carey (1833-1910) was George's uncle, an older brother of his father. His daughter is referred to as "cousin May" by Marvin Carey, who knew her, and is listed as Mary or May in census records.
11 Ira may be confused here. Laura's mother married Harvey Pierce. Laura had a brother named Henry Pierce.
12 I have yet to discover where Ira Winans, or any other researcher, might have obtained this middle name for my g-g-g-grandfather.
This page was last updated 8 Mar 2014.