Isaac Procuniar   1828-1904
A Thumbnail Biography by David C. Procuniar
Copyright 1997-1998-1999-2000-2001
All Rights Reserved Last updated: 16 Mar 2002 

Isaac Procuniar, the son of Samuel Procuniar (1801-1880) & Catharine Miller (1808-1871);  Isaac was born July 19, 1828 in Dublin or Shirley Twp. Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. Isaac died on April 22, 1904 while living in Whitley County, South Whitley, Indiana. Isaac married Elizabeth Jane Williams February 3, 1850 in Montgomery County, Ohio. Elizabeth was the daughter of Ely & Rebecca (Huston) Williams.  Their children Mary, William, John, Mary & Sara all born in Ohio; Ellen, Charles & Eva were born in Indiana.

                   Source: Samuel Procuniar Family Bible, Census & Marriage Records in Ohio & Indiana.

Mary 1850-1850 Died in Ohio, buried in the Dille Cemetery, Mad River Township, Riverside, Ohio 
William J. 1852-1906 buried in Whitley County, Indiana; died on 21 Nov 1906 Long Cliff Asylum, Whitley County Indiana
                One child - Maudie Percunia born on 25 May 1890 in Cleveland Twp., South Whitley, Indiana; died on 25 Dec                 1890 in South Whitley, Whitney County, Indiana,  both buried in the South Whitley Cemetery, South Whitley, Indiana
John 1853-1860 Died in Ohio, buried in the Dille Cemetery, Mad River Township, Riverside, Ohio
James 1854- Died young, buried in the Dille Cemetery, Mad River Township, Riverside, Ohio
Mary 1858-? Married Mr. Karber nothing on Mary during my research data
Sarah 1860-?.Married 1st William Pence 23 March 1881, Whitney county Indiana
         married 2nd Mr. Gooder 1884 & 3rd George W. Lanier 16 Oct 1901.
                      One ChildEva Gooder born between 1882-1883 in Indiana, died in circa Indianapolis, Indiana.
                                               Eva married someone named Berry.
Ellen born on 27 Sep 1863 in Indiana, died on 16 Nov 1903 in Cleveland Twp., South Whitley, Indiana; married Gerald McCormick 3 Dec 1883 South Whitley, Whitley County, Indiana. 
                One child we know of: Mable G. McCormick born on 01 Oct 1884 in South Whitley, Whitney Co., Indiana; died                                                       on 29 Jan 1889 in South Whitley, Whitney Co., Indiana.
Charles 1866-1901 born in Indiana; died in Indiana married Lillie C. Noble.
Eva 1871-1882 born in Indiana & died while living in Indiana. 

Isaac was the oldest of nine children, and was born in Huntingdon County Pennsylvania, not too far from where his mother Catharine was born. Isaac married Elizabeth Jane Williams February 3, 1850. Isaac's last name is spelled Procunier in the book of Marriages 1803-1851 Vol. III M-Z in the Montgomery County Ohio Library. Together they had nine children that I know of, the first six children were born in Dayton, Ohio between 1850 through 1860.  Mary, John & James are buried in the Dille Cemetery on Valley Pike in Mad River Township, Riverside, Ohio along with their grandparents, uncle and aunts.  Isaac & his family moved to Fort Wayne Indiana, near Allen County in the very early 1860's (their daughter Ellen was born in Whitley County, Indiana in 1863).

The only hint I had where Isaac was living after 1860, was in a letter I found that Isaac sent his younger brother Jacob (my great grandfather) in May of 1881 (page 49 of Procuniar\ier Chronicle). I contacted my local library’s genealogy section and asked them for an address of the Historical Society of Whitley County, Indiana. They gave me the address and I wrote them telling them of my intended research of Isaac Procuniar and asked if the Historical Society would do some research for me! They said yes, but of course it would cost me $12.00 by the hour and/or a fixed cost for each surname search they did, plus 25 cents per Xerox copies. I told the curator in my letter that I knew Isaac was in Whitley County, Indiana in 1881 and possibly even earlier. The curator looked for the surname Procuniar in the Whitley County, Indiana’s 1897 City Directory (which is a list of everyone living in the county at that time). On page 80 & 81 she found in the "P" listings, "Pecuniar Wm., laborer; residing at the corner of Columbia and Maple Streets & Isaac Pecuniar, retired; residing at the corner of Maple and Columbia Streets.   She then sent me a bill for $10.00 plus 25 cents for the page she copied out of the City Directory. What she found wasn’t much, but it at least proved that an Isaac and Wm. Pecuniar lived in Whitley County, Indiana in 1897! Upon receiving the copy of the City Directory page, I called the curator on the phone and asked her for the Historical Society’s hours and how to get there from Beavercreek, Ohio. She told me how to get there and told me again that there were people at the Society that would do research for an hourly fee. I told her that I figured that I could drive to Indiana myself and obtain the research for a lot less money! My wife Susan took Monday, September the 23rd off work and bright and early on that Monday Susan and I headed north to the town of South Whitley, Indiana, which is south west of Fort Wayne, Indiana. We got there early in the morning at the Whitley County, Historical Museum and immediately went to work looking in the City Directory , death records and the few census records they had there. While looking in the Death Records 1900-1920 for Whitley County, we found the following listing ....... PORCUNNIARIDAAC (#215-04 filed April 1904) S.W. 1 4 male - white - widowed - Cooper - d/4-22-1904 in S.W. Indiana; b/Huntingdon? Co., Pa - no date given - age 75-9-3; Father Samuel Porcunniar?, b/Pa. Mother - no information; Dr. E. L. Eberhard, S.W. Indiana. Buried 4-24-1904 in S.W. Indiana; Roy Miller, F.D. S.W. Indiana. ALSO listed on the same page was PERUNNIAR? ELIZABETH (214-04 - filed April 1904) S.W. 1, 4, Female - white - married - housekeeper d/4-18-1904 in S.W. Indiana; b/Ohio, do date given, age 73-1-21; Father Ely Williams, b/unknown, Mother Rebeca Huston, b/unknown, Dr. E.L. Eberhard, S.W Indiana, buried 4-20-1904 in S.W. Indiana; Roy Miller, F.D., S.W. Indiana. We then looked into the Index of Death records for Whitley County 1882-1907, which listed on page 177 a PEREUNIER, CHARLEY a white male died 10-26-01 aged 35, father Jaack Pereunier and mother Elizabeth Williams. Also listed was a PEREUNIER, LILLIE C. a white female died 9-19-01 aged 35, father Liman Noble and mother Hannah A. Lillie. On page 244 of the Whitley County Death Records we found a PERCUNNIER, CHARLES (#104-01) in S.W. Indiana, Birth & Death Book, book 1, page 51 listing a Male - white - widowed - laborer - d/10-26-1901 in S.W. Indiana, b/Co. no date given - age 35-0-19, Father - Isaac Percunier, b/Hungden Pa. Mother - Elizabeth Williams, b/Montgomery County, Ohio; Dr. E. Merriman S.W. Indiana; buried 10-26-1901 in Lindenwood Cemetery, Ft. Wayne Indiana, R.A. Fisher, F.D. S.W. Indiana. By then Susan and I realized that once again the spelling of the Procuniar name had really been botched up!!

By now .......... I knew that Mary Elizabeth Procuniar Curl's childhood memories must be or were a little fuzzy ......... Isaac was only married once and that was to Elizabeth Jane Williams. We also knew now that Sarah Gooder was not Isaac’s second wife, but in fact Sarah was Isaac’s daughter and that Eva was probably Isaac’s granddaughter!! This was about all the information the Historical Museum had since they couldn’t find the 1870 Whitley County Census book, so Susan and I went to the Whitley County Health Department in Columbia City, Indiana. There at the health department we looked up any birth and/or death records we could find for Isaac’s family! Again we found Isaac’s death record stating he died of Chronic Nephritis and that his wife Elizabeth, (who died just four days before Isaac died), died of Pneumonia! More research in the death records, showed PECUNIAR, WILLIAM aged 52y, died November 21, 1906 (leaving one sister who lives in Michigan and another sister living in South Whitley, Indiana where burial took place); another listing was McCORMICK, ELLEN, white female, married - housewife d/11-16-1903 in Cleveland Township, South Whitley, Whitley County, Indiana, b/no date given; aged 40-1-19, father Jack (Isaac) Percunia, b/Huntington Co., Pa., mother Elizabeth Williams b/Montgomery County, Ohio, Dr. E.L. Eberhard, S.W. Indiana, burial 11-8-03 in South Whitney, Indiana R.A. Fisher, F.D., S.W. Indiana. Now it was obvious that Isaac had a daughter named Ellen. Next we found EVA, daughter of F. & E. J. Periuniar who died February 12, 1882 aged 17yr. 2mo., and 25-days listed as buried next to her parents in the 40th row of the South Whitley Cemetery. To confirm this information on EVA we cross-checked with the Whitley County Indiana Obituaries by Nellie Riley Raber’s Book for 1858-1910 and found a listing for a PROCUNIAR, EVA died on 10 February 1882 aged 10 years, 2 months and 25 days. Her home was in South Whitley, Indiana (See Pecuniar) C.C.P. 8 March 1882. Eva died at the age of 10 in 1882 so the cemetery records were wrong listing Eva as 17 years old at her death!

At this point my wife Susan and I sat down and summarized the information we had found so far! We knew now that Isaac and Elizabeth Procuniar had at least seven (7) children. Mary, born in Ohio 1850 & died in Ohio in 1850; William J., born in Ohio 1852 & died in 1906 in the Long Cliff Asylum, Whitley County Indiana; John, born in Ohio 1853 & died in Ohio in 1860; Sara, born 1860 Ohio (married Mr. Gooder); Ellen, born in Indiana 1863 (married Gerald McCormick) & died 1903 in Indiana; Eva, born in Indiana 1871 & died 1882 in Indiana & Charles, born in Indiana 1866 & died in 1901 in Indiana. We also knew that Charles married Lillie C. Noble, (born in Indiana 1865 & died 1901 in Indiana).

Armed with all this information Susan and I went to the Columbia City Court House to look up Marriage Records! We knew that Isaac’s daughter Sarah was born in Ohio in 1860 & that Isaac’s other daughter Ellen, was born in Indiana 1863, it was obvious that Isaac & his family moved to Indiana between 1860 & 1863. But to be safe we looked into the marriage records for the Procuniars starting in the year 1860. The first record we came across was a marriage of Sarah Procuniar to William Pence for March 23, 1881. [We were told by the Curator at the Museum that the Pence family was a large wealthy family in the Whitley County area & that we could find much family history about the Pence family in a hard cover book titled The Whitley County Pence Family] This information really threw us a curve, since we have only known of Sarah being married to someone named Mr. Gooder! Continuing our search we found a marriage of Ellen Procuniar to William McCormack on January 4, 1883. The only other marriage record we could find on the name Procuniar (or any other spelling) was of Sarah Procuniar Gooder to George W. Lanier on October 16, 1900.

We now know that Sarah Procuniar had been married three times between March 1881 & October of 1900. However, all pictures of Sarah Procuniar our family have dated around 1936 (circa) list her name as Sarah Gooder. We only know of one child for Sarah, named Eva whom she named after Sarah’s little sister who died in 1882, aged 10. By then it was getting late & we wanted to get to the South Whitley library & cemetery, but Susan spotted a large book "Wills & Estates Distribution of Whitley County".  Knowing that Isaac died in 1904 we started with that year. We found listed for the 24th day of September Term for 1905 the listing for Isaac Percuniar, deceased. No. 610 Final report and distribution, by Isaac’s administrator John Glassley, listing distribution for Isaac’s estate amounting to $337.95. [We know by the letter Isaac sent to his brother Jacob back in 1881 that Isaac purchased a home at the corner of Columbia & Maple Street for $1,000.00 cash. So why Isaac only had $337.95 left in 1905 is unclear] The distribution of the $337.95 was as follows:
   William Percuniar received $94.99, but this $94.99 was claimed by R.A. Fisher & Roy Miller on March 17, 1906. Fisher & Miller handled William Procuniar’s funeral in 1906.  Gerald McCormick received $94.99 and signed for it on October 14, 1905. Sarah Lanier received $52.99 and signed for it on October 13, 1905.  Mary Karber received $94.99 and signed for it on October 14, 1905. No explanation why Sarah received $42 less than everyone else!  Isaac’s estate distribution showed us that Isaac’s daughter Ellen had probably died by 1905 and her husband claimed her share. The estate distribution also showed that Sarah Procuniar was using the married name of Lanier in 1905.  Another name in the estate papers Mary Karber was new to us. We knew that Isaac and Elizabeth Procuniar had a daughter born in 1850 back in Ohio, but she died at child birth. So who was Mary Karber??? Could she be another daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth??? With this new information Susan and I headed back to the Columbia City Health Department to look up any births or deaths for Karber, McCormack etc. At the Health office we found a death record for Ellen McCormick, (#196-03-Nov. 1903) S.W. 1,3 a white female , married, housewife who d/11-16-1903 in Cleveland Township, Whitley County, b/no date given. Aged 40-1-19, father Jack Percunia b/Huntington Co. Pa., mother Elizabeth Williams, b/Montgomery Co., Ohio Dr. E.L. Eberhard, buried 11-18-1903 in South Whitley, Indiana R.A Fisher Funeral Director in South Whitley, Indiana.

In the cemetery records we found a McCormack, Mable G., daughter of W.D. & E. McCormack, died January 29, 1889 aged 4yr-3mo-28da. No other McCormick’s were listed. Since Ellen’s parent’s name was spelled as Percunia we checked again for all spellings of Procuniar and found a listing for a Percunia, Maudie daughter of W. J. & C. Procuniar, died December 25, 1890 aged 7 months. We now know of at least three grandchildren of Isaac and Elizabeth Procuniar, Maudie (dau. of William J.), Eva Gooder (dau. of Sarah) and Mable G. McCormack (dau. of Ellen).

Now trying to put all this family history together became a little puzzling!! We still had this Mary Karber who was listed in the estate distribution papers of Isaac in 1905. We looked again at the death obituary of Isaac’s son William J. which stated William had one sister who lives in Michigan and another who lives in South Whitley, Indiana. COULD this Mary Karber be William’s sister living in Michigan or William’s sister-in-law???? We finally were able to look at a copy of the Whitley County Indiana 1870 Census. Here lies answers to most of our questions!! Listed in Cleveland Township, Whitley County Indiana on June 25, 1870 was Pecuniar, Isaac age 41, white male, works as a Cooper (Barrel Maker), with his personal effects valued at $150.00. He was listed as having "NO" value in real estate. Isaac’s family was listed as Jane, age 36, white female and a housekeeper born in Ohio; Mary age 12 born in Ohio, Sarah age 10 born in Ohio, Ellen age 6 born in Indiana, & Charles age 3, born in Indiana. So now we knew that Ellen Karber was indeed a daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth. With the ages listed in the 1870 Census, it was easy to compute the birth dates of everyone. The 1870 Census showed that Isaac’s family consisted of Isaac, Jane, Mary, & Sarah when the family left Dayton, Ohio and relocated to Whitley County, Indiana sometime after Sarah’s birth in Ohio in 1860 and the birth of their daughter Ellen in Indiana in September of 1863. This census also confirms that Isaac’s daughter Eva Procuniar couldn’t have died at the age of 17 in 1882, because she wasn’t born yet in 1870!!

We stopped to eat lunch and synopsized what research information we had collected and headed from Columbia City to South Whitley, Indiana. Our first stop was to the South Whitley city library. They had a genealogy section set up in the library and two female senior citizens who ran the genealogy department asked if they could help us. I had explained that Susan & I were from Beavercreek Ohio and were doing family research on my great great uncle Isaac Procuniar. The woman in charge of the genealogy section asked me to spell the surname I was looking for. I spelled out P-r-o-c-u-n-i-a-r and pronounced it for her!! She looked at the other woman and said "I have been living here in South Whitley Indiana all my life (some 70 years) and I have never heard of the surname of Procuniar EVER". She said that we either have the wrong town in Indiana or the wrong surname for Isaac! I showed her the research that Susan and I had already found in Columbia City. The woman turned red, and said I’ll be damn, let’s take a closer look at this surname of Procuniar. There were no census records that showed a Procuniar in that library, but their cemetery records showed which row Isaac & Elizabeth Jane Procuniar were buried in the South Whitley Cemetery just one mile outside of town!! Their records also showed that Charles and Lillie Procuniar were buried in the Lindewood Cemetery in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. The library is situated right next door to the house Isaac Procuniar lived in during 1881. We left the library and went to the South Whitley township trustee and asked to look at the cemetery records for the South Whitley Cemetery. I cannot remember his name, but he stated that he had retired and was elected as the township trustee and only then did he find out that no one had ever recorded the names of anyone buried in the South Whitley Cemetery. He said he and his wife had been going to the cemetery on a regular basis and writing down every name on each tombstone in the cemetery that was legible and placed each name on a 3 X 5 index card. He looked in his files and said there was no listing for a Procuniar or McCormack being buried in that cemetery. We asked him to please look again for the name Procuniar. After looking again he found the name of Isaac Porunnriar and Elizabeth Porunnriar. I told him that was close enough! He told us how to get to the cemetery and which row to look in for Isaac’s cemetery stone. Susan and I followed the trustee’s instructions to the letter but spent several minutes looking and couldn’t find Isaac’s stone. About that time we heard a car pull up to the cemetery.  The township trustee drove into the cemetery and shouted to us "I’m sorry ..... I gave you the wrong directions, you’re about 25 rows too far to the south-west!!" The excitement was building up as all three of us walked the 25 rows to the north-east when we came upon the 40th row. Then, right there in front of us was the tombstone with the name ISAAC PROCUNIAR 1828-1904 and right next to his was the tombstone of his wife ELIZABETH PROCUNIAR 1831-1904.

As Susan and I stared at the stones, we were relieved that the spelling on the stones were PROCUNIAR and not Porunnriar!! The trustee stated that he would have bet his paycheck that there were no Procuniar's buried here.  He stated that he thought he knew all the surnames in the cemetery, but now will go back and recheck all his records.  We walked to the 38th row and found the tombstone of Isaac’s son WILLIAM J. PROCUNIAR 1852-1906. Next to William’s stone was his daughter’s tombstone, which had been knocked over . Susan uprighted the stone and we rubbed dirt into the engraving so we could read the name and dates. It read, MAUDIE dau of W. J. & C. Percunia, died Dec 25, 1890 aged 7 mos. (The spelling was close) Maybe back in 1890 William spelled his last name Percunia also??? We made our way over to the 31st row and found a cemetery stone labeled Mable G. McCormack dau. of W. D. & E. McCormack died Jan 29, 1889 aged 4y-3m-28dy (granddaughter of Isaac Procuniar). It was getting dark outside by then, so Susan and I got ready for the three hour drive back to Beavercreek, Ohio. Our trip to South Whitley, Indiana was a very exhausting one, a six hour round trip drive plus four hours of research but it was a fun & successful search of family history for one of the Procuniar Clan!! Maybe someone in Illinois can do the same for John F. & Agnes Procuniar and find out where they are buried!

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© Copyright 2001 David C. Procuniar … Reprinted with permission …