According to Benjamin Shinn in Biographical Memories of Blackford County (The Bowen Publishing Company, 1900, p. 240):

John Ervin was prominent among the early settlers. His early life was spent in Maryland; then he lived in Perry county, Ohio, and came here in 1837. He was married twice, his wives being half sisters.

There were five children by the first wife and eight by the second. The oldest, Naomi, married Hamilton Wheatcraft, and after his death she married Nicholas Friend, the first sheriff of Blackford county. They soon went to Iowa; the second, Nancy, married Francis H. Graham, probably the first merchant in Hartford City, who came from Belmont county, Ohio. He returned to Ohio and in about 1865 went to Missouri. He was a Methodist preacher, and died in 1875 while he was presiding elder of the Macon City district. Mary, the next child, married Frederick Seelig, at one time county agent and afterwards county commissioner. Samuel was the next, and was one of the county’s best citizens, and Sophia, the youngest of the first children, became the wife of Abraham Cassel, the first county surveyor.

Elizabeth, the oldest of the last wife’s children, married Rev. William Anderson, a Methodist minister. The other children were: George W., James E., Daniel A., William McK., Jacob E., Benjamin F. and Joshia E. The latter, the only one living, has been for many years a Methodist preacher in the North Indiana conference, and John Ervin himself was a local preacher of considerable ability.

I have been trying to identify John Ervin's wives.

Children of John Ervin and his first wife

John Ervin's first daughter, Naomi, was born in 1812. Samuel Ervin appears in the 1880 census, in which the birthplaces of his parents are listed as Pennsylvania. Sophia (Ervin) Cassell, the last child of John Ervin's first wife, was born in 1816. From this, we know that the first wife was of childbearing age in 1812 and lived into 1816.

Children of John Ervin and his second wife

I know that John Ervin was buried with his [second] wife, Catherine Jane, who died June 30, 1849, in either her 40th or 46th year (the inscription is unclear). According to the 1880 census record for James E. Ervin, his mother's birthplace as Maryland. The death certificate for John and Catherine Jane's last child, Joshua Evan Ervin, lists his parents as John Ervin and Catherine Micky, both birthplaces of Indiana.

I have not been able to find anyone named Catherine Micky. I suspect her maiden name is the same as the full middle name of their son, identified by Shinn as William McK. Based on the dates of births of William's older brother George Washington Ervin and his younger brother Jacob Emory Ervin, I know William's birth was between 1828 and 1840.

Can any of you determine William McK Ervin's full name or the full names of John Ervin's two wives? I have not been able to find John Ervin's will or any relevant information about him not shown here or on his WikiTree page, which I wrote. Further information I have collected on the family is visible in my Ancestry tree (free account required).

1 Answer 1


The inventory and sale bill for Catherine Jane Ervin's estate, probated in 1849, are available via Ancestry. In the collection, "Indiana, Wills and Probate Records, 1798-1999," select Blackford County and "Court Order and Jury Journals, 1842-1862; Inventories, 1839-1849; Estray Book, 1839-1857." Catherine's paperwork begins on image 242.

ETA: Here is the FamilySearch catalog entry for this collection: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/256958?availability=Family%20History%20Library

In addition, the index for the Blackford County Probate records is available in the same collection. The entries for Ervin are found on image 21. Catherine's estate is listed a short distance down the page. Above it (most likely indicating an earlier date for these records) are a number of other entries for Ervins, both guardianship and estate files. Of especial interest is an entry for a minor named Elizabeth; her guardian is one William McKay. While there is certainly no guarantee that either Elizabeth Ervin or William McKay bear any relation to your John Ervin (or his two wives), it certainly seems worth looking into.

There is also a listing for an estate proceeding for John Ervin, decd. His administrator was E. G. Carroll. While the will does not appear to be available online, there is a petition entered by John's administrator under "Complete Record, Vol. 1, 1852-1857; Vol. 1, 1839-1848; Vol C and 2a, 1853-1876", images 81 and 82.

ETA: Both the index and "Complete Record" are listed in this section of the FamilySearch catalog: https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/625416?availability=Family%20History%20Library

I'll continue to look, but this seems like plenty of information to start looking at the FAN network.

As an additional quick note, there are entries for "Mickey" in the probate index (image 40).


A number of entries can be found in the record group, "Judgement Docket, 1839-1847; Probate Docket, 1839-1846." ETA: These records are also available via FamilySearch: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9CR-R7S5?i=177&cat=309637 The image numbers are the same.

Image 178: letters of administration granted to Elijah Sims and Catherine Ervin.

Image 187: Elizabeth Ervin, minor heir of John Ervin, requests George H. Houser as guardian. Elijah Sims and Catherine Ervin request guardianship of John Ervin's infant heirs: James E Ervin, Daniel A Ervin, William M Ervin, Jacob E. Ervin, Benjamin F Ervin, Joshua Ervin.

Image 188: Joseph W. Ervin and George W. Ervin, minor heirs of John Ervin, request Asher Van Cleve as their guardian. One of the bondsmen is William B McKay/McCay.

Image 190: Elijah Sims and Catherine Ervin request a continuance.

Image 192: Francis Graham and Rebecca A Graham petition for partition of John Ervin estate. George Houser resigns guardianship of Catherine Ervin; Catherine requests appointment of William B. McKay.

Image 194/5 (second is clearer): Continuance requested; E G Graham and George S Howell admitted as attorneys; Grahams again petition for partition of estate.

Image 200: Continuance requested.

Image 202: Grahams petition for partition of estate. Defendants granted costs.

Image 207: Bill in chancery: Friends, Seeligs, Cassells, Samuel Ervin, Grahams

Image 210: Elijah Sims and Catherine Ervin cited for failing to present their books in court. William B McKay appointed guardian for James E Ervin.

Image 211: William B McKay pays costs for guardianship papers for Elizabeth Ervin and James E Ervin.

Image 213: Bill in chancery: Catherine Ervin and Elijah Sims voluntarily dismiss and pay costs.

Image 215: Continuance filed. Abraham Cassell filed against Catherine Ervin and Elijah Sims to compel them to pay a higher bond, due at next term of court.

Image 221: Report filed by Elijah Sims and Catherine Jane Stewart, late Catherine Jane Ervin.

Image 222: Catherine Jane Stewart, having intermarried with Henry Stewart, removed as administrator. Elijah Sims resigned.

Image 227: Frederick Seelig appointed administrator, Abraham Cassell having failed to take out bond and letters of administration.

Image 247: Edward G Carroll appointed by court as administrator of John Ervin estate. Directly stated that John Ervin died intestate.

Unfortunately, that's the end of those records! There seems to have been plenty of drama in this case. The petition I mentioned in the first post (filed by E. G. Carroll) follows after this point.

While these records do not directly state the relationship between William B. McKay and the Ervin family, they certainly seem to indicate that he may have been a close, trusted friend at bare minimum. In combination with the "Mickey" surname given for Catherine and the son named "William McK," he looks like a man you ought to pursue.

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