1836 to 1875 -- Mary J. Ham and Isaac R. Dorrance
Isaac R. Dorrance was born on 4 Jan 1836 in Monroe County, Illinois. He died on 16 Mar 1896 in Elk Fork, Pettis County, Missouri, at age 60, and was buried in Bethel Union Church Cemetery, Pettis County, Missouri.
He married Mary J. Ham, first spouse, on 13 Aug 1865 in Calhoun, Illinois. Mary was born on 14 June 1846 in Callaway County, Missouri. She died on 12 May, 1875 in Elk Fork, Missouri, at age 28, and was buried in the Bethel Union Church Cemetery.
Isaac left Illinois to work as a ranch hand in California when he was 16 years old. He was able to buy a farm within four years. By the mid 1860’s, he returned to Illinois for a short time before purchasing a farm in Elk Fork Township, Pettis County, Missouri.
Isaac returned to Illinois with Mary J. Ham to be married in Calhoun County on August 13, 1865. After their marriage, they returned home.
Their first daughter, Angieleex Dorrance, was born on 5 Oct 1866 in Elk Fork, Pettis County, Missouri, died on 24 Sep 1867 in Pettis County, Missouri, at age 11 months and 19 days, and was buried in the Bethel Union Church Cemetery, Pettis County, Missouri.
The 1870 United States Federal Census listed: Isaac as a white 34 year old farmer from the state of Illinois; Mary J as a white 24 year old keeping house; George as 2 years old; and Viola as 6/12 months. Their real estate was valued at $2400 with personal estate valued at $680. Their home was in Elkfork Township, Pettis County, Missouri. They received mail from the post office in Ionia City.
Isaac and Mary had two more children, Joel and Laura, before her death in 1875. According to the Sedalia Daily Democrat, when Mary died, she left four children. At least one daughter preceded her in death; and Joel did not survive childhood.
Their second son, Joel L. Dorrance, was born on 3 Feb 1872 in Elk Fork, Pettis County, Missouri, died on 10 Mar 1880 in Elk Fork, Pettis County, Missouri, at age 8 years, and was buried in Bethel Union Church Cemetery, Pettis County, Missouri.
Laura was less than a year old when her mother died. She lived with her material grandparents, Joel C. and Mary Ham, in Elk Fork, Pettis County, Missouri.
1875 to 1940 -- Elmedia "Ella" Bradley and Isaac R. Dorrance
Isaac R. Dorrance married Elmedia Bradley, second spouse, on 4 Nov 1875 in Elk Fork, Pettis County, Missouri.
Elmedia Bradley was born on 4 April 1854 in Ohio. She died on 4 Jun 1940 in Warrensburg, Johnson County, Missouri, at age 86, and was buried in Bethel Union Church Cemetery, Pettis County, Missouri. Four spellings of her name appeared on documents.
The 1880 United States Federal Census listed: Isaac as a white 44 year old farmer; Almedia as a white 25 year old keeping house; George E. as 12 years old; Viola as 9 years old; Randolph as 3 years old; and Gordon as 4 months old. Ann H. Bradley was Almedia’s 62 year old mother, and William Collins was working on the farm.
Isaac’s father was born in Maine, and his mother was born in New York. Almedia’s father, William Bradley, was born in Ireland, and her mother, Ann H. Bradley, was born in Maryland.
Isaac and Ella lost an infant daughter on 22 Jan 1878. She had lived 19 days. Both her brothers, Randolph and Gordon, survived.
In nine years, four more boys were born: Everett Earl on 2 Sep 1882; Arthur E. on 14 Apr 1885; Nolan William on 14 Mar 1888; and Leamon Lenard on 1 Aug 1891.
Ella lived many years after Isaac died. She owned her own home and had her own income to raise the children. Her residence according to the 1910, 1920, and 1930 United States Federal Censuses was 317 East Broad Street, Warrensburg, Johnson County, Missouri. In 1920, her home was near her son, Randolph. His address was 319 East Broad Street.
In 1930 Ella was 75 years old. Her home was valued at $3000, and she owned a radio set. According to her death certificate, she lived in this home 36 years until she died in 1940. The home was standing in good condition when her great granddaughter took pictures in 2008. It stood across the street from the college in Warrensburg.
Jack Courtney Dorrance, Ella’s grandson, wrote a letter in the 1990’s about his childhood. "I do remember my grandmother Dorrance. Her husband died before I came along. She was tall, straight, and nice looking. She lived alone in a small white frame house. It was clean as it could be. The living room had an organ and a glass curio case full of nice things. I remember a glass deer which I wanted to get at but was not able to. She lived alone because she liked it that way. There was a large group of Dorrances in town and there was no doubt who was the boss."
Jack said, "God bless, Grandma Dorrance." She remembered him in her will with a $50.00 check. A man approached Jack in a hotel lobby in Huntington, West Virginia, asked if he were Jack Dorrance, and then handed Jack the check from his grandmother’s will.
The information sources for the Dorrance, Bradley, and Ham families came from The History of Pettis County, Missouri, Including an Authentic History of Sedalia, Other Towns . . . written in 1882, pages 970 and 972; Sedalia Daily Democrat; Pettis County MOGenWebProject; Johnson County Historical Society; Bethel Union Church Cemetery, Pettis County; Knob Noster Cemetery, Johnson County; Find A Grave; ancestry. com; United States Federal Census records; World War I Registration Cards for all their living sons and grandsons in 1917-1918; Jack Courtney Dorrance's letters to his family in the 1990's; and in 2008, Isaac's will was found in the Pettis County Courthouse, and Elmedia's will was found in the Johnson County Courthouse.
Submitted by Nancy McIntyre