Friday, October 7, 2011

John Gannan

Since the blog is titled "The Hunt for John Gannan," I suppose it's time to tell you about him. He is my great great great grandfather, and a total mystery to everyone in the family. The few things we know about him are that he claims to have been born in Monmouth County NJ in 1824; he married in Ohio; moved to Illinois for a few years; then purchased land in Harrison County MO where he lived out the rest of his life. There are no known photos of John, even though there is a single photo of his wife (Miranda Justice/Justus) and grown children, apparently taken after his death. There are family stories that he was a "wood colt" (born out of wedlock) and took his mother's maiden name, never knowing his father. Other stories state that he refused to have his photograph taken. There are no known vital records found in New Jersey or Illinois, only census records from Ohio and Missouri, along with his probated will and some land records. He is buried in the Fairview Cemetery between Bethany and Blue Ridge in Harrison County, Missouri. The tombstone is old and worn, and was replaced a few years ago by several members of the family. This is the sum total of what we know about him. I can say, however, his grandson John William Gannan (my great grandfather), was a wonderful man, a dairy farmer who worked hard his whole life and had the most amazing blue eyes.
"Old John Gannan," as I call him, has kept himself hidden for a long long time, and I can only hope one day he will decide to show himself and offer up a clue. I imagine my mom and grandpa meeting him for first the first time in heaven, "Oh, so YOU'RE John Gannan. Nice to meet you!"

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