Jason S. Converse gravestone
(Photo by Vernon B. Paddock)

B. December 21, 1821 in Brookfield, Orange County, VT
D. January 3, 1901 in Wauconda, Lake County, IL
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  • Father: James A. Converse born November 5, 1775 in Stafford, Tolland County, CT son of Frederick Converse (1768-1828); married Lucinda Smith on December 23, 1802 in Randolph, Orange County, VT; James died September 1, 1828 in Berlin, Holmes County, OH; buried in East Lawn Cemetery in Mantua Center, Portage County, OH
  • Mother: Lucinda (Smith) Converse born August 26, 1779 in Windham County, CT; married James Converse on December 23, 1802 in Randolph, Orange County, VT; Lucinda died February 4, 1869 in Mantua, Portage County, OH; buried in East Lawn Cemetery, Mantua Center, Portage County, OH
  • Wife: Jane L. Lamphere born July 20, 1830 in Gainesville, Wyoming County, NY; married August 11, 1849 in Lake County, IL, daughter of Henry and Eunice Lamphere; died June 6, 1913 in Volo, Lake County, IL (See section pertaining to Jane (Lamphere) Converse buried in the Fort Hill Cemetery)
  • Children:
    1. Cyrus R. Converse born June 1851 in Illinois in Fremont Center, Lake County, IL; married Bell C. Parks (1862-1938) on September 26, 1878 in Lake County, IL; Cyrus died July 13, 1922 in Deuel County, SD; buried in Grandview Cemetery, Gary, Deuel County, SD
    2. Alma Lucretia (Converse) Walton born August 30, 1853 in Grant Township, Lake County, IL; married John Henry Walton (1848-1937) on January 5, 1875 in Volo, Lake County, IL; Alma died April 3, 1923 in Wauconda, Lake County, IL; Alma and John are buried in Volo Cemetery, Wauconda, Lake County, IL; According to the McHenry Plaindealer (McHenry IL) Thursday, April 12, 1923, page 4:


   Mrs. Alma Lucretia Walton, nee Converse, was born in Grant township, Lake county, Ill., August 30, 1853.  She was reared in this community and lived here all her life, which was 69 years, 7 months and 4 days.
   On Jan. 5, 1875, she was married to John Henry Walton, who survives and mourns the temporary separation, but rejoices over her victorious Chirstian life.  They were a devoted couple and his tender ministry during her illness was beautiful to see.
   To this union were born five children, all of whom are living and were present.  Jason, who resides at home; George of Libertyville, Mrs. Jennie Dillon of Volo, Mrs. Maud Kautenberg of Waukegan, Mrs. Elsie Krueger of Wauconda.  There were fourteen grandchildren, of whom thirteen are living.  There remains of the deceased’s family one brother, Elam Converse of Nashville, Tenn., and one sister, Cynthia Convway of Three Quick, Idaho.
   Sister Walton joined the church when she was young, thus dedicating her life to God, to her family and to the community.  She was the president of the Ladies Aid society of Volo and always a very active worker for the church while she had the healthy and strength.  She belonged to Relief Corps, No. 38, of Wauconda and rendered valuable assistance there.
   For nineteen years she managed the cemetery, collecting the money, employing the mowers and cleaners and took pride in keeping the resting place beautiful.  On Memorial days she was the one who collected the flowers and decorated the graves, thus keeping fresh the memory of loved ones who had passed before.
   As a mother everyone knows how devoted she was to her family and how beautiful to see the children with loving hands returning the tender care that she had exemplified.  As a neighbor and friend, many can testify to her sympathy and help in their hour of need.
   About two years ago she was taken sick and went to Chicago for treatment, then to Lake County hospital for an operation and from that time up to her death she suffered with cancer, which suffering increased as she reached the end of her earthly life, when she was translated on April 3, 1923.

     Servant of God, well done,
        Thy glorious warfare’s past.
     The battle’s fought, the race is won,
        And thou are crowned at least.
    Let faith exalt her joyful voice,
       And now in triumph sing,
     O grave, where is thy victory?
        And where O death thy sting?
     Life’s labor done, as sinks the day,
        Light from its load the spirit flies,
     While heaven and earth combine to say,
        How blest the righteous when they die.”  

  1. Elam Converse born January 4, 1857 in Wauconda, Lake County, IL; married Emma Frances Laurens (1856-1915) on May 29, 1883; former resident of Nashville, Davidson County, TN; Elam died January 20, 1943 in Buhl, Twin Falls County, ID; Elam is buried in Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery, Twin Falls, Twin Falls County, ID; Emma is buried in Glen Forest Cemetery, Yellow Springs, Green County, OH; According to the Times-News (Twin Falls ID) Sunday, January 24, 1943, page 12:

“Last Rites Held
For E. Converse

   Private funeral services were held Friday for Elam Converse at the Reynolds funeral home chapel with Rev. L. S. Oliver, of the Nazarene church, officiating.
   Mr. Converse, formerly of Tennessee, came to Buhl three and one half years ago to visit at the home of his sister, Mrs. Cynthia Conway, where he fell ill.
   Music was furnished by a quartet, consisting of Rev. and Mrs. Oliver, Miss Ninah Bell Crowson, and Early Daugherty.  Members of the family served as pall bearers.
   Interment was in Sunset memorial park under the direction of the Reynolds funeral home.”

  1. Katharine Bingham “Kate” (Converse) Dowell born July 31, 1857 or 1859 in Fort Hill, Lake County, IL; married James Dowell, Jr. (1857-1896) on April 10, 1883 in McHenry County, IL; died November 20, 1896 in Wauconda, Lake County, IL; Katherine and James are buried in Volo Cemetery, Wauconda, Lake County, IL; According to the McHenry Plaindealer (McHenry IL) Wednesday, November 25, 1896, page 5:

   “MRS. CATHARINE DOWELL, widow of the late James Dowell, died at her home about five miles east of this village, on Friday last, after a short illness.  Her husband died about five moths ago.”

  1. Cynthia Ann (Converse) Conway born October 6, 1869 in Volo, Lake County, IL; married Lewis Albert Conway; Cynthia died January 12, 1965 in Twin Falls, Ada County, ID; buried in Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery, Twin Falls, Twin Falls County, ID; According to the Times Newspaper (Twin Falls MN) January 14, 1965:

  “Mrs. Conway’s Last Rites Held – Funeral services for Mrs. Cynthia Ann Conway was conducted at 2:30 p.m. Thursday in the Twin Fall mortuary chapel by the Rev. Frank Schwelssing.  Pallbearers were Harold Charlton, Walter Schroeder, Ernest Watts, David Homan, Charles Charlton, and Robert Conway.  The Rev. Paul Winkler, was organist and Lorren F. was soloist.  Final rites were concluded at Sunset Memorial Park.”

  • Sibling:
    • James M. Converse born July 17, 1806 in Randolph, Orange County, VT; married Angie Sheldon (1826-1875); James died September 8, 1892 in Northampton, Hampshire County, MA; James and Angie are buried in Center Cemetery, Southampton, Hampshire County, MA; According to the Boston Globe (Boston MA) Friday, September 9, 1892, page 6:

  “Death of James M. Converse.  NORTHHAMPTON, Sept. 8. – James M. Converse, a well-to-do citizen of this city, died this morning at his home on State st., from a stroke of apoplexy.  He was 86 years of age, and has always been a very healthy man.  He had accumulated considerable wealth, being one of the largest stockholders in the Northampton National Bank and owner of valuable property in the city.  He leaves a wife, two sons and a daughter.  His sons are both very rich.  James, who resides in Texas, being a millionaire.  Mr. Converse was born in Randolph, Vt., and came to Northampton 25 years ago.  Before that he carried on a wholesale and retail grocery business in ohio.  His sons had been visiting here for several days, and left yesterday.  They have been telegraphed for.”

  • Elias Smith Converse born September 30, 1808; married (1) Eunice M. Ladd (1809-1838) March 13, 1830 in Portage County, OH; married (2) Mercy A. Blair (1809-1848) December 1, 1838 in Cuyahoga County, OH; married (3) Tryphena Blair (1812-1884) October 5, 1848 in Portage County, OH; Elias died October 31, 1868; Elias, Eunice, Mercy and Tryphena are buried in East Lawn Cemetery, Mantua Center, Portage County, OH
  • Mary (Converse) Stanley born about 1810; married Abraham “Abram” Stanley (1804-1872) on March 17, 1829 in Brookfield, Orange County, VT; Mary died about 1850
  • Catherine Bingama (Converse) Marble born August 1, 1813 in Vermont; married Solomon Marble (1796-1879); Catherine died May 18, 1883 in Avon Township, Lake County, IL; (See section pertaining to Catherine Bingama (Converse) Marble buried in the Fort Hill Cemetery) (See section pertaining to Solomon Marble buried in the Fort Hill Cemetery)
  • Emeline S. (Converse) Cozzens born about 1815 in Brookfield, Orange County, VT; married Mathew Cozzens on April 15, 1843 in Cuyahoga County, OH; in 1867 lived at 20 Adams, Chicago, IL widow of Matthew; Emeline died August 18, 1895 in Fort Hill, Lake County, IL
  • George C. Converse born about 1817; died August 20, 1838; buried in East Lawn Cemetery, Mantua Center, Portage County, OH
  • Frederick Converse born February 12, 1819 in East Brookfield, Orange County, VT; married Sophia Thayr Amsden (1819-1892) daughter of Ephraham Amsden and Releaf Amsden; Frederick died June 24, 1892 in Denver, Denver County. CO; Frederick and Sophia are buried in Riverside Cemetery, Denver, Denver County, CO.
  • Abigail J. (Converse) Robbins born about 1811 in Vermont; married Asa Robbins (1818-1881) on March 15, 1832 in Brookfield, Orange County, VT; Abigail died in 1883 in Fremont, Lake County, IL; According to the Vermont Christian Messenger (Montpelier VT) Thursday, May 3, 1883, page 3:

“Mrs. Robbins, widow of Asa Robbins, late of Chelsea, died recently at Fremont, Ill.”

  • Washington Louis Converse born March 24, 1824 in Randolph, Orange County, VT; married Jane Hazen (1836- ) on May 5, 1854 daughter of Van Ransler Hazen (1815-1865) and Angeline Lusk; Washington died February 1, 1895 in Ivanhoe, Lake County, IL; Washington and Jane are buried in Ivanhoe Cemetery, Mundelein, Lake County, IL; According to the “Portrait and Biographical Album of Lake County, Illinois, pages 786-788:

   “WASHINGTON L. CONVERSE resides in Fremont Township.  He is a native of Brookfield, Orange County, Vt., his birth having occurred on the 24th of March, 1824.  The family is of English descent and was founded in America by three brothers of the name of Converse who in Colonial days established homes in America.  One of these, the grandfather of our subject, enlisted on the Colonial service and fought during the Revolutionary War with the rank of Colonel.  The father of our subject, James A. Converse, was a native of Massachusetts and died about the year 1832.  He was a man of the strictest integrity and honor and his word was as readily received as his bond.  He began life for himself at the age of nineteen years when he left his home in the Bay State and made his way on foot to Vermont with an ax across his shoulder.  Thus without capital he began life in his new home.  He often told his boys that the greatest loss he ever experienced was when one of his oxen was killed by the falling of a tree which he had just cut down.  In those pioneer days when times were hard and money scarce such a loss fell more heavily upon the early settler then many times its amount would today.  He spent the remainder of his life upon the homestead which he made for himself in Vermont.  He cast his first Presidential vote for Washington, the Father of His Country, but his political views were those advocated by the Whig party.  In his social relations he was a Mason and became quite prominent in the circles of that fraternity.  Mr. Converse wedded Lucinda Smith, who was born in Connecticut about 1872 of Scotch descent, her parents being natives of Scotland.  Unto them were born twelve children, six sons and six daughters, of whom nine grew to mature years, as follows: Emeline, wife of Mr. Cozzins, who was born in Massachusetts but was reared in Ohio and became proprietor of the Cleveland House, the first hotel erected in the city of Cleveland; Catherine, deceased wife of Solomon Marble, a farmer; Mary became the wife of Abram Stanley, a farmer living in White River, Vt., but both are now deceased; George, who engaged in manufacturing and afterwards carried on farming, has also passed from this life; Frederick who has engage in the livery, hotel and teaming business in Denver, Col., is now living a retired life in that city; Jason is married and makes his home in Grant Township, this County; Abigail, who married a Mr. Robins; Washington L. completed the number.
   The subject of this sketch was reared in the usual manner of farmer lads.  He may truly be called a self-made man for his success is due alone to his own efforts.  At the early age of nine years he was left an orphan and from that time has had to make his own way in the world as best he could.  Beginning at the bottom round of the ladder he has climbed steadily upward, round by round until at length he has attained to a position of affluence.  At the age of nineteen years he left the Green Mountain State, having determine to try his fortune upon the prairies of the “far west.”  He traveled by way of the Erie Canal and Great Lakes to Detroit, Mich., and from there proceeded on foot to Chicago.  There were no railroad in those days and it was no easy task to accomplish so long a journey.  With only $10 in his pocket he arrived in Chicago, where he spent one season in the employ of Isaac Cook, one of the earliest settlers of that city, he having been sent out by the United States Government to oversee the building of the canal.  For two years following Mr. Converse was engaged at work for E. B. Ward, one of the prominent men in that early day.  At length like many others he determined to try his fortune in the gold fields of California and started for the Pacific Slope; traveling by way of New York City, down the Atlantic, across the Isthmus of Panama and up the Pacific Coast to San Francisco.  He at once began his labors in the gold mines of Dragoon Gulf or Poor Man’s Creek within three miles of Sonora, Cal.  He experienced the usual hardships and vicissitudes of the miner and after two years returned to his old home, having met with excellent success in his undertakings.
   On his return Mr. Converse made his first purchase of land which consisted of a track of two hundred and twenty acres in the northwestern part of Fremont Township.  His first home was a log cabin and the primitive structure still stands upon his farm, one of the few landmarks which yet remains to tell of the progress and advancement made since pioneer days.  Industrious and enterprising he has made his land to bloom and blossom as the rose and the Converse homestead is now considered one of the finest farms in the locality.  As his financial resources were increased he also purchased other lands and has made many excellent improvements.  In addition to general farming he has engaged quite extensively and successfully in stock-raising.  He is now the owner of a fine horse which was sired of the St. Lawrence breed and although it has never been trained, has now a record of 2:38.  He also has a high grade of Holstein and Jersey cattle and the accommodations for his stock are most excellent.  In fact the barns and other buildings upon the place are all models of convenience and stand as monuments to the thrift and enterprise of the owner.
   On the 5th of May, 1854, Mr. Converse led to the marriage altar Miss Jane Hazen, a native of Ohio, born in 1836.  Her father, Van Ransler Hazen, was born at Grand Isle, Vt., about 1815, and died at the age of fifty years in Ohio.  He was a practical farmer and followed agricultural pursuits daring the greater part of his life.  His wife, whose maiden name was Angeline Lusk, was born in the Empire State, but much of her girlhood was spent in Ohio.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Hazen were members of the Disciples Church and were highly respected people.  In the family were four daughters and one son but the latter died at the age of four years.  Mary Ann, the eldest, is the widow of Squire Sheldon, a farmer and stock-raiser now deceased; the wife is the next in order; Caroline is the wife of Charles Wait of Chicago; and Frances E. is the wife of Walter White of Avon Township.
   Unto Mr. and Mrs. Converse have been born five children, four sons and a daughter, the eldest of whom is Johnnie B.  He was educated in the common schools and in select schools and is one of the representatives and progressive farmers and cheese manufacturers of Grant Township.  In politics he is a Republican.  He married Miss Nellie Brown and they have a pleasant home in the llocality before mentioned.  Washington who married Miss Ettie Monaghan, is engaged in general farming in Fremont Township, and by his ballot supports the Democratic party.  Frederick, who operates the old homestead, married Miss Henrietta Bowman and he too affiliates with the Democracy.  Cora is the wife of Oliver Hook, a successful and prominent farmer of Avon Township and Bertie T. died at the age of eighteen months.  The home over which Mrs. Converse presides is the abode of hospitality and by her kindly pleasant manner she places her guests at ease.  The family hold a high position in the social world and are warmly regarded by those who know them.  Mrs. Converse has been a true helpmate to her husband, his success being due in no small degree to her able assistance.  In one year she made $1,530 worth of butter while on the old Brissell farm.
   In politics, Mr. Converse was for many years a Republican, but when Grover Cleveland became the nominee of the Democratic party he changed his affiliations and has since been a supporter of the Democracy.  He cast his first Presidental vote for Franklin Pierce, voting on Lake street, Chicago, in a little office 12 x 14 feet, which was the property of Mr. Sloan, the compounder and manufacturer of Sloan’s Condition Powders.  He has never sought office but on several different occasions has been chosen by his fellow-townsmen to serve in some public position.  He has been elected Township Supervisor and Road Commissioner and was one of the committee which accepted the County Court House on its completion.  He is a faithful member of the Patrons of Industry, believing that the organization will effect the best interests of the farmer.  The county has found in him one of its best citizens and his aid is never sought in vain by any enterprise or interest calculated to upbuild or benefit the community.  He has given of his means to the erection of six different church edifices and toher worthy objects have received from him like substantial assistance.  He is well and favorably known throughout the country and both he and his wife are held in high esteem for their sterling worth.  We feel assured that this brief sketch of their lives will be received with interest by many of our readers who number the worthy couple among their friends.”

According to the Lake County Independent (Libertyville IL) Friday, February 8, 1895, page 10:

“W. Converse an old settler and a great horsier gave up at last after being sick for a year with rheumatism.  He will be missed very much among his old friends.  His remains were laid to rest in the Ivanhoe cemetery.”

Additional Information:

According to the 1850 U.S. Census for the Town of Wauconda, Lake County, IL the household members were: Jason Converse, age 29, occupation: farmer; born in Vermont; Jane Converse, age 19, born in New York

According to the 1860 U.S. Census for the Town of Goodale with a Forksville, post office the household members were: J. Converse, age 38, occupation: farmer, born in Vermont; Jane Converse, age 28, born in New York; Siras Converse, age 9, born in Illinois; Alena Converse, age 7, born in Illinois; Elem, age 4, born in Illinois; Kate, age 2, born in Illinois

According to the U.S. Civil War Registrations Records, 1863-1865, dated July, 1863:

Goodale, Lake Co.; Converse, Jason S; age 41; occupation: Farmer; place of birth: Vermont; remarks: cripled.

According to the 1870 U.S. Census for the Town of Grant with a Fort Hill post office the household members were: Jason S. Converse, age 49, occupation: farmer, born in Vermont; Jane Converse, age 39, born in New York; Cyrus R. Converse, age 19, born in Illinois; Alma L. Converse, age 16, born in Illinois;  Elam Converse, age 12, born in Illinois; Kate Converse, age 11, born in Illinois; Emma Converse, age 1, born in Illinois

According to the 1880 U.S. Census for the Town of Grant the household members were: Jason Converse, age 58, born in Illinois, father born in England, mother born in New York; Jane Converse, age 48 in New York, parents born in New York; Cynthia Converse, age 10, born in Vermont, daughter, single, parents born in New York

According to The McHenry Plaindealer (McHenry IL) Thursday, September 21, 1899:

   “Ab. Potter will move on the farm owned by Jason Converse and Mr. Conway who is now on that farm will move into the house vacated by Mr. Potter.  Mr. Torrance rented the Converse farm for one year.”

According to the 1900 U.S. Census for Grant Township the household members were: Jason Convers (sic Converse), head, born December 1821, age 78, married 50 years, born in Vermont, father born in New York, mother born in Connecticut; occupation: retired farmer; Jane Converse, wife, born July 1831, age 68, married 50 years, 6 children born, 5 children living, born in New York, parents born in New York; Abby J. Convers, granddaughter, born July 1879, age 20, single, born in Illinois, parents born in Illinois, occupation: servant; Siras R. Convers, son, born June 1851, age 49, married 22 years, born in Vermont, father born in Vermont, mother born in New York, occupation: farmer.

According to The McHenry Plaindealer (McHenry IL) Thursday, January 10, 1901:


   Jason S. Converse, an old resident of Lake County died January 3rd, 1901.  His demise was due to kidney trouble combined with advanced age.  He was born December 11, 1821 in Brookfield, Orange County, Vermont, the last surviver of the children of James Converse.  In 1847 Mr. Converse came west and located in Lake county at the present homestead.  Sept. 9th, 1849, Mr. Converse married Jane Lamphere to whom were born five children: Cyrus R. Converse, of Gary, Dak., Alma L. Walton, of Volo, Elam Converse, of Chicago, Katharine B. Dowell, deceased and Cynthia A. Conway, Mountain View, Wyoming.  Funeral from the house Saturday, Jan. 5th, at 1 p. m.  Interment in Fort Hill cemetery.”

According to the Lake County Independent, May 22, 1903:

   “Mrs. Jason Converse is having a monument put up in the Fort Hill cemetery.  Mr. Miller, of McHenry is doing the work.”

According to the Lake County Independent (Libertyville IL) Friday, November 6, 1914, page 9:

   “The Jason L. Converse farm of 80 acres in Grant township and 7 acres in Wauconda township was sold to Washington L. Converse.”

According to The McHenry Plaindealer (McHenry IL) Thursday, March 8, 1917:

   “John Meyers and family have moved on the Jason Converse farm, recently purchased by L. V. Lusk.”