Stephen and Eliza Winans

Related page:
Winans in Petaluma, CA

Stephen Winans is a younger brother of my great-great-grandmother. He was born in New Jersey 2 Aug 1810 to Stephen and Charlotte "Lottie" (Marsh) Winans. In the early 1820s, he came to Miami county, Ohio, along with his parents and siblings. The information on Stephen and his family on pages 41 and 42 of Conrad Winans' section of Winans Family Genealogy is sketchy, possibly because the persons who were Mrs. Egy's sources of information had lost contact with this family. We set out to remedy that situation and, with the help of other researchers, found extensive information not only for Steven and Eliza, but for several generations of their descendants.

Stephen and Eliza and their children are among a number of Winans who migrated to California in the "early days" of our state, or at least well before the Twentieth Century population boom. One son was already in Sacramento by 1860 and the rest of the family arrived in Nevada county, in California's gold mining area, before 1870. After several decades in Nevada county, their descendants spread out to all parts of the Golden State.

Marriage. 8 Apr 1831 in Piqua, OH, Stephen married Eliza Johnston, who was born 28 Aug 1811 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Eliza was the daughter of Stephen and Mary (Caldwell) Johnston. The Johnstons were one of the earliest pioneer families to settle in eastern Indiana and western Ohio. The following information on Eliza's family is from Concerning the Forefathers: Being a Memoir..., by Charlotte Reeve Conover, published 1902 by The Winthrop Press, pp. 381-382:


William C. Johnston, of Piqua, O., writes: "My father's father, Stephen Johnston, along with his brothers, John Johnston, William Johnston, James Johnston, Frank Johnston, came to this country from the north of Ireland. Stephen Johnston was an agent for the government under Col. John Johnston in about the year 1806 until 1812. He was married to Mary Caldwell about the year 1811. She was born in 1788 at Bryan's Station, Kentucky. Her husband, Stephen Johnston, was born in Ireland in the year 1777. There were born to them, Eliza Johnston at Ft. Wayne, and subsequently thereto Stephen Johnston was killed in August 1812 near Ft. Wayne. About that time his wife and daughter Eliza, on account of the Indian troubles and threatening of war, were sent to what is now the City of Piqua, but then known as Miami or Washington, where a month after his death Stephen Johnston, the posthumous son, now living, was born. He is now in his ninetieth year. In 1837 he was married at Piqua, Ohio, to Uretta, daughter of Chester Garnsey.

"Eliza Johnston was married to Stephen Winans, by whom she had the following children:- Johnston Winans, who died in California many years ago, having gone there in 1849; Mary Winans, who also died in California a number of years ago; Robert Winans, still living in California; Samuel Winans, probably dead somewhere in California, having not been heard from for twenty years or upwards; and Belle Winans, married, and now living in California.

"Eliza Johnston Winans and Stephen Winans died some years ago in California..."

[Stephen Johnston's grave marker is inscribed:]

Underneath this stone lies the body of Stephen Johnston, Esq., Assistant in the United States factory at Ft. Wayne, who was treacherously slain by the Indians on the night of the 25th of August, 1812, in the thirty-fifth year of his age.

His disconsolate widow has erected this tribute of his memory.

After Eliza's death in California, Stephen married a woman named Mary, who was born about 1812 in Massachusetts.

Residences. With the help of the United States census, which doesn't always get their names or their children's names right, we can track Stephen and Eliza's migrations over the years:

Occupation. Like several of his close relations, Stephen worked as a brick mason or stone mason. In fact the 1860 census lists him as a "master mason". The 1850 census also lists his son, (Stephen) Johnston Winans, as a brick mason, while the 1860 census lists sons Stephen, Robert and Samuel as masons.

Death. Eliza died 1 Aug 1876, probably in Sweetland. Stephen died 14 May 1885 in Sweetland.

Descendants. Stephen and Eliza Winans had the following children, all of them born in Miami county. Each child's descendants are listed immediately after the child's name...

  1. Stephen Johnston Winans, born 16 Jan [1832?], died 1862 in Sacramento, Calif. He was listed with his parents in Piqua in the 1850 census, so it may not be true that he went to California "in 1849", but in 1860 the census taker found a 29-year old Steph. J. Winans, living in a boarding house in Sacramento with several dozen other young men, working as a mason.
  2. Elizabeth Winans.
  3. Mary McAlister Winans, born 16 Mar [1836?], died 1884 in Sweetland.
  4. Robert Ogden Winans, born about 1838, died 1904 in San Francisco.
  5. Samuel Winans, born about 1840.
  6. James Edwin Winans2 was born about 1845,3 and died in Novato, Marin county, 16 Jan 1890.4 James migrated from Ohio to California no later than 1870, when he appeared in the U. S. census for Sweetland, along with his parents and his sister Mary. At that time he was working as a miner. He was still working as a miner in Sweetland, where he was enumerated with two siblings in 1880, shortly before marrying Mary Virginia Davis 10 Nov 18805 in Nevada county.

    Mary was born 1 Dec 1847 in Piqua and died 15 April 19296 at Susanville, in Lassen county. She came to California in 1860 in a covered wagon train along with her parents, George Grove Davis and Elizabeth (McCollom) Davis, her siblings Cordelia, Charles, Anne Marie, and Anna Bell, and an aunt and uncle Davis and their children. The Davis and Winans families were friends in Piqua. The wagon train was led by Capt. Calvin Rambo, and departed Piqua 11 April, arriving in Sweetland 19 August. Another sister, Laura, was born in Sweetland in 1861.7

    Mary Virginia Davis was married 20 Apr 1865 in Nevada county to Otis P. Spooner, the son of Nathan Spooner and Hannah Cummings, who was born 20 Jan 1838 New Bedford, Bristol county, MA, and died in a mine accident 18 Aug 1873 in North San Juan. Mary had three children with Otis, all of them born in CA, who were enumerated with her in Sweetland in 1880:
    1. Flora V. Spooner, born 22 Jun 1866 in North San Juan, died 1 May 1929 in Santa Cruz. Flora married George Harris Pease 17 Nov 1891 at Yuba City, in Sutter county. He was the son of Charles H. Pease and Rebecca B. Kimball and was born 24 May 1864 at Enfield, Grafton county, NH, and died 15 Dec 1943 in Santa Cruz. Flora and George had one child:
      1. Russell H. Pease, born 15 Oct 1896 in Sutter county, died 25 Nov 1914 in Santa Cruz county.
    2. Anna M. Spooner, born 24 Dec 1870 at North San Juan, died 17 Apr 1960 in Santa Clara county. She married about 1905 Benjamin F. Robinson, who was born 25 Feb 1859 in Suffolk county, NY, and died 22 Aug 1945 in Santa Clara county.
    3. Ida Belle Spooner, born 24 Dec 1870 at North San Juan and died before 1880.
    4. Evelyn P. Spooner, born 12 Oct 1872 at North San Juan,8 died 25 Nov 19598 in Los Angeles county. Unmarried. She worked for the Petaluma Courier newspaper for several years. In 1930 she lived on Pine Street in San Francisco, the proprietor of a printing office.

    In 1882 James bought acreage for $2000 already in fruit trees adjacent to the property of his second cousin David M. Winans on Petaluma Blvd North, in Petaluma, Sonoma county. He and Mary Winans moved there before the birth of their first child. They had the following children together:
    1. Pearl E. Winans, born 4 Feb 18839 in Petaluma, died 2 Jan 19408 in Santa Clara County, CA. About 1922, Pearl married Robert J. Craker, the son of Judson J. Craker of New York, who was born 15 Apr 18758 in CA, and died 6 Nov 19668 in San Mateo county, CA. Robert was previously married to a woman named Emma, and was divorced from her before 1920. Pearl and Robert were living in Palo Alto at the time of the 1930 census.
    2. Ruth Adelaide Winans, born 5 May 18858 probably also in Petaluma, died 28 Sep 19898 in Los Angeles County, CA. She married Isaiah Hale Clippinger between 1910 and 1912. He was born 4 Oct 18778 in Iowa, and died 6 Oct 19698 in Los Angeles county. His family is associated with Clippinger Chevrolet in West Covina, CA. Isaiah's obituary appeared in the 7 Oct 1969 issue of the Los Angles Times:

      I. Clippinger, Pioneer Auto Dealer, Dies.

      Isaiah Hale Clippinger, 92, believed to be the oldest active automobile dealer in California, died in his sleep Monday in his home at 135 E. Puente Ave, Covina. Mr. Clippinger had celebrated his 92nd birthay Saturday and had been active Sunday at his Covina Agency.

      A Chevrolet dealer for 48 years, Mr. Clippinger established his first dealership at 7th and Central Ave. in Los Angeles in 1921, moving to Covina in 1929.

      He leaves his wife, Ruth Winans Clippinger and a son Norman Clippinger. Interment in Oakdale Cemetery.

      In 1920 Ruth and Isaiah were living in San Bernardino, CA, with their child:
      1. Norman H. Clippinger, born 14 Jan 191310 in CA, died 22 Jan 2003.10

    The following notice of James' death appeared on page 2 of the Sonoma County Tribune {Healdsburg, CA} for 25 Jan 1890:

    Petaluma Local Happenings

    J. E. Winans, a plasterer by trade, left this city [Petaluma] Tuesday4 morning on the 8:30 train for Novato. On his arrival at that place, he was taken suddenly sick and died in about five minutes. Heart disease is the supposed cause of his death. He was a native of Ohio, aged 41 years,3 and left a wife and several children.

    After James' death his widow Mary remained in Petaluma, about 40 miles north of San Francisco, where she was enumerated on Howard Street in 1900 along with Evelyn, Pearl and Ruth. In 1910, the four women were living on Gilbert Street in Oakland. Mary, Evelyn and Pearl were on 59th Street in Oakland for the 1920 census. Mary's obituary appeared on the front page of the Wednesday 17 Apr 1929 issue of the Petaluma Argus Courier:

    Mrs. M. V. Winans Passes Away

    Word was received here Wednesday of the death at Susanville on last Monday6 of Mrs. Mary Virginia Winans, for many years a highly esteemed resident of Petaluma, who moved away from here with her family some years ago, going from here to San Francisco to reside and that city was still her home, she having died while on a visit to Susanville.

    A native of Piqua, O., Mrs. Winans had attained the age of 81 years, 4 months and 14 days6 and was a remarkable woman and was well preserved and strong up to recently. She arrived in this city many years ago and was one of the best known residents.

    Mrs. Winans was the beloved wife of the late James Edwin Winans, and loving mother of Mrs. Geo. H. Pease, Mrs. B. F. Robinson, Miss Evelyn Spooner, for years with the Courier, Mrs. R. J. Craker, and Mrs. Hale Clippinger and leaves many other relatives and countless friends.

    Funeral services will be held at the Fruitvale chapel of C. N. Cooper, Fruitvale avenue and East 16th streets, Oakland, at 3 p. m. The body will be entombed at Sunset Mausoleum, Berkeley Hills.

  7. Eliza LaBelle "Belle" Winans,2 born 1 Feb 1847, died after 1930, was married 24 June 1869 in Sweetland to George Powell, who was born 23 Nov 1836 in Jacksonville, Illinois, and died 6 Apr 1883 in Sebastopol, buried in North San Juan, the son of John and Cynthia (McEldric) Powell. Belle and George were enumerated in Bridgeport in 1870 and in Sebastopol in 1880. They had the following children:
    1. Frank Winans Powell, born 23 July 1870 in Sebastopol. Was listed as George W. Powell by the census taker 10 days after his birth; did his parents change their minds later about his name? In 1909, Frank married Edna L. Eastburn, who was born about 1882 in Nova Scotia, Canada, and immigrated to the U. S. A. in 1906. Frank and Edna were living in Nevada county in 1910. Before 1920, they moved to Berkeley, where they lived a few blocks from the University of California campus. Frank and Edna Powell had the following children:
      1. Foster Winans Powell, born 2 Sep 19098 in CA, died 21 Jan 19758 in San Diego county. Foster's step grandson, Daniel Foster Breese, wrote to us in December 2012 and supplied Foster's middle name.
      2. Eldred Landsburg Powell, born 21 May 19138 in CA, died 13 May 19948 in Sacramento county.
    2. George Edgar Powell, born 17 July 1872 in Sebastopol. About 1905, George married a woman named Ellen or Ella who was born in CA about 1875. In 1910 they were living on a turkey farm in Yuba county along with their children:
      1. Elmore A. Powell, born about 1906 in CA.
      2. Encie L. Powell, born about 1908 in CA.
      In 1920, George and his wife were still living in Yuba county, but I couldn't locate a trace of either child anywhere. Could they both have perished in the great influenza epidemic of 1918-1919?
    3. Eda Mary Powell, born 1874 in Sebastapol died 1919 unmarried.
    4. Eliza LaBelle Powell, born 29 June 1876 in Sebastopol, died 29 Aug 1898, buried in North San Juan.
    5. Adele Powell, born 10 Mar 1879 in North San Juan, CA, married Ross Buxton Rathbun about 1908. Ross was born in CA 5 Nov 18838 and died in Alameda county 3 April 1952.8. They had the following children:
      1. Vera A. Rathbun, born 6 Jan 190911 in CA.
      2. Howard W. Rathbun, born 1911 in CA.
      Adele, Ross and Vera were living in Shasta county at the time of the 1910 census. We don't know what happened to Adele and Ross, but we found Vera and Howard living with Ross' parents, Jesse and Mary Rathbun, in Colusa county in 1920.
    6. Mattie Powell, born 15 May 18818 in North San Juan, died 2 Nov 19738 in Sacramento county. Although Mrs. Egy lists her as Hattie, all the references I've seen to this person in the census or in CA death records list her as Mattie. About 1908, she married James Thomas Clemo, who was born 28 May 18798 in CA and died 5 Apr 19588 in Sacramento county. James was the son of George and Esther Clemo, both of whom were born in England. At the time of the 1910 census, James and Mattie were living in Oakland. I couldn't locate them in 1920, but in 1930, they were living in Contra Costa county, along with Mattie's mother, Belle. They had the following children:
      1. Leonard P. Clemo, born 17 Apr 190910 in Nevada City, CA, died 9 Oct 199810 in Yuba county, after living a long and very interesting life. His obituary appeared in the Sacramento Bee's 22 Oct 1998 edition:

        Leonard Clemo, a former Sacramento homebuilder who once skied from Lake Tahoe to Yosemite Valley in the middle of winter, is dead at the age of 89.

        For the past 15 years, he resided in the picturesque Plumas County mountain town of La Porte, where he had owned a vacation home since the early 1950s.

        Mr. Clemo died Oct. 9 of complications after a stroke.

        During the 1930s, he worked as a carpenter while also helping to run the shuttle boat service at Echo Lake and helping build some of the cabins there, his daughter, Martha Rutherford of San Luis Obispo, said Wednesday.

        The one-time Sacramento general contractor built many of the summer cabins at La Porte, a tightly knit community that several years ago celebrated "Clemo Day."

        An avid outdoorsman who took up cross-country skiing as a young man, Mr. Clemo and a companion, Leroy Thompson, made their epic ski journey to Yosemite during the winter of 1935, his daughter said.

        That feat garnered mention in newspapers.

        "It was a wonderful but difficult trip," said his daughter, referring to entries in her father's diary. "I don't know how he got into skiing, but he was an adventurous sort who enjoyed the outdoors."

        Born in Nevada City, Mr. Clemo was reared in Northern California and British Columbia and worked as a merchant seaman and in a Bay Area smelter before becoming a carpenter, his daughter said.

        "He was still skiing at 80," she said. "He always did cross-country. He never did downhill."

        His wife of 49 years, the former Gertrude Embury, died in 1995.

        In addition to his daughter Martha, survivors include a son, Tom Clemo of Boise, Idaho, and another daughter, Helen Belal of Cairo, Egypt; a brother, Robert Clemo of Carmichael; and five grandchildren.

        A memorial service is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday in the Old School House in La Porte.

        After the service, friends will gather in nearby Riley's Saloon and Cafe.

        "He was a friend to all," said Dee Rasmussen, one of his pals in La Porte. "We're having a party, a wake."

      2. Marion B. Clemo, born 5 Feb 191111 in CA.
      3. Robert James Clemo, born 3 Apr 191210 in CA, died 24 Mar 200810 in Sacramento county.
    7. Eldred Powell, born 13 July 188312 in North San Juan, died 22 Jan 19648 in Los Angeles county. After trying gold mining for awhile, Eldred moved to the big city. The 1920 census lists him at the YMCA on South Hope Street in Los Angeles, working as a clerk in an oil well supply business. He is the only native Californian on the page! He turns up in L. A. again in the 1930 census as a lodger on West Sixth Street. This entry supplies a middle initial for Eldred -- M.
    After George Powell died, Belle remained in Nevada county for many years. In 1900, she was enumerated there with her six surviving children. For whatever reason, oldest son Frank was not only enumerated with Belle, but as a lodger in another household three days later by the same census taker. In 1910, she was still living there, along with Eda and Eldred, but in 1920, Belle was in Berkeley, just a few blocks from her son Frank, in the same household as a 49-year-old widower named Joseph H. Polmere. She is listed as Joseph's mother-in-law, which raises the question of whether Eda might have been married at some time before her death in 1919, contrary to Mrs. Egy and Major Ira's information.
  8. Armenus [?] Winans may have died young. I'm not sure where I found his name.

Who are these Winans anyway? There were three Winans males living in Bridgeport, CA, in 1860 along with one of my Miami county relatives from another line. Are they related to Stephen and Eliza's family? There are two young men, J. E. Winans (17), a miner, and Saml Winans (19), a brick layer, both born in Ohio, who could easily be two of the sons. But Samuel and James (as "Edwin") were both listed with their parents in Piqua that year.

Could two persons each be listed twice, in towns more than 2,000 miles apart? And just who is the 37-year-old bricklayer Stephen Winnans from New Jersey who is listed on the next line? And is it only a coincidence that Stephen, Eliza, James and Mary came to the same remote little town some time during the 1860s? And what became of Samuel? These are mysteries awaiting your investigation, my fellow Winans researchers!

1 While I was typing information into this page, I was distracted by a Huell Houser special on a local television station. Huell was visiting Bridgeport, in the South Yuba River State Park, and was discussing the ancient covered bridge over the Yuba River with park rangers. The bridge at Bridgeport is "the longest single-span covered bridge in the world" and was already there when our Winans kinfolk arrived in this wild and beautiful area some time in the 1860s.
2 Most of the information on James Edwin Winans and Eliza LaBelle (Winans) Powell and their descendants was provided by Fran Kimball, who is descended from one of Otis Spooner's sisters. Fran has transcribed information from local newspapers and vital records and has pointed out census data which I probably would have overlooked otherwise.
3 Although James' obituary lists him as 41 years old when he died, there is much conflicting evidence. Mrs. Egy didn't list any birth date for him; in fact the only one of Stephen and Eliza's children for whom an exact birth date is given is Belle, listed immediately after James as born 1 Feb 1847. James' listings in the 1870 and 1880 censuses imply that he was born in 1844/1845, but his earlier census entries would lead us to guess anywhere from 1841 to 1846.
4 Sonoma County Death Records Vol 47:12. 16 January 1890 fell on a Thursday. The newspaper article implies J. E. died 21 January.
5 Nevada County Marriage List as of 1984.
6 If Mary's 1 Dec 1847 birth date is correct, doing the arithmetic with the age given in the obituary gives a death date of Monday, 15 April 1929.
7 This information on Mary Virginia Davis Spooner Winans was provided by Roy L. Davis, a grandson of her brother Charles, who writes:
Their father, George Grove Davis, kept a diary of the crossing. I have developed a "Compendium" of the Diary. I believe the original was in the hands of Norm Clippenger, but was unable to confirm it...

The diary notes one bad day on the trip: "May 28 Cold and almost hurricane of wind. Cannot travel, danger of wagons blowing away. Very cold. No grass. The storm increases and it pours down rain and hail, with one terrific peal of thunder after another. We are all crowded in our best wagons. All wet and nearly frozen, with death staring us in the face. Oh, if we ever wished ourselves back in comfortable quarters it is now. But - after continuing for 30 hours it abated - thank God. The sun again came out to warm and cheer us. We had no wood."

Two days later they were in sight of Chimney Rock... Mary Virginia was bit by one of the horses on May 31st between Chimney Rock and Scotts Bluff. It was a "cold and windy day"... On August 19th - the last day of the trip - the Diary notes,"...who should come up first to greet us but our old friend and townsman, Stephen Winans". I also have the Colt revolver carried by George Grove Davis on the trip.
8 Birth and death information is taken from the California death index.
9 Pearl's record in the California death index gives her birth date as 1 Feb 1883, but the following item appeared in the Sonoma Democrat, Santa Rosa, CA, 10 Feb 1883, page 2, column 7:

"BORN: WINANS: in Petaluma Township, Feb 4th to Mr and Mrs J. E. Winans, a daughter."

10 Birth and death information is taken from the United States Social Security death index.
11 Birth information is taken from the Family Tree Legends birth index.
12 I'm sticking with the birth date supplied by Mrs. Egy, even though Eldred's death certificate says he was born 13 July 1884, and the 1900 census says July 1884, since the later date is too long after George Powell's death to be correct. Eldred is listed as 26, 36 and 46 years old in the 1910-20-30 censuses, which were taken earlier each year than July, and which would be consistent with an 1883 birth year.
This page was last updated 31 Dec 2012.