Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Portus family settled in Lake County, Illinois

Mary Ann Vamplew gave birth to a daughter, Elizabeth Ann Portus, in April of 1864. John PORTUS married Mary Ann VAMPLEW September 1864 in Thornton le Fen, Lincolnshire; November 1864 daughter Elizabeth Ann died and was buried in Coningsby churchyard. Three more children were born to John and Mary Ann: Georgiana 1865, Coningsby; William Dennis 1867, Nether Hallam, Sheffield, Yorkshire; and John Henry 1869, Thornton.

April 1870 John and Mary Ann packed up their family and lives and emigrated from Lincolnshire to Lake County, Illinois. (Previous blog posts -- June 16 and 22 tell a little more about their trip.) 

They arrived at the Port of New York May 3. (Blog post June 22) Sometime between then and June 21 (census enumeration below) they arrived in Lake County. I can only speculate they stayed with Mary Ann's uncle John ROUSE.

Uncle John secured a place the Portus family to live until a permanent place could be purchased. It was a small two-story house on Maple Ave. (Rte. 176) in what is now Mundelein, Illinois. It is located across the street from the property where I grew up. (See blog post May 1.) This part of the story isn't all that exciting, but it is the start of the family history in a new land. I know there is probably a lot more to fill in about their lives here in Illinois, and that is part of why we all do our research. 

My dad would mention the house was originally a log cabin and in the basement, you could see the original hand-hewn floor beams. I don't know if that is true or not since I was never privy to just go down into the basement to verify that claim. I have been in the house, but I don't remember much about its interior. Next time I'm in Mundelein, maybe I'll get the nerve to knock on the door. You can see the old barn in back beyond the fence. It was always dark and a young girl with vivid imagination, that barn held many monsters and I never liked going near the open door.

This is their first house -- a temporary place. 

The Portus family moved into that house in time to be recorded on the 1870 census -- just 74 days after they left England. This was the first census John and Mary Ann were listed as man and wife. I believe this census lays victim to the rural Lincolnshire accent because our surname spelling is recorded as PORTOS. (John spelled it PORTUS on the letter seen on my June 16 blog post. 1880 census the name is spelled PORTEOUS and that is how I knew my whole life until I started researching.)

Here we see the township was "Fremont in the County of Lake, State of Ill., enumerated by me on the 21 day of June, 1870." and the Post Office was "Deans Corners."

The family is listed as: 
    John  28   M   W   Labourer   b. England
    Mary Ann  28   F   W   Wife  b. England
    Georgianna   4   F  W  At Home   b. England
    William D    3    M   W  At Home   b. England
    John H   1   M   W   At Home  b. England

Sometime after son John Henry died (September 1870) Rockefeller, Illinois (now Mundelein), they moved into a house on Midlothian Road, Diamond Lake (in Fremont Township) which is now part of Mundelein.

Small square and "A" at top shows where the little temporary house is
located compared to the land purchase location "B" on Midlothian Rd.
Photo is a screen shot of a satellite view on Google Maps.
Land on Midlothian Rd. (Diamond Lake) on a 1915 map showing names of neighbors.
This map was posted on the wall of the Lake County (IL) Genealogical Society's library.
This is the front of the house on Midlothian Rd. I can see four people in the picture, but can't identify them
because they are too small. I would think the person in the doorway is Mary Ann and the man standing at the front porch is John. Not knowing what year this image was taken, the two children could be grandchildren --
or if it is early 1870s, the girl could be Georgiana and the boy possibly my grandfather William D.;
John Henry died Sep. 1870. More research needs to be done.
Photo contributed by cousin Sharon Mitchell.

This is of course the back of the Midlothian house.  Mary Ann is in the doorway and John holds buckets. Since John has a beard, this picture must be many years after they purchased the house. The back porch looks like it has been closed in possibly accommodating a newer kitchen. Looks like the time of year is early spring or maybe fall.
Photo was found in a family box of pictures.

I'm not sure if this house was still standing when I was a little girl 60 some years ago, but I do remember my dad telling me about it. My aunt Mildred (Mimi) and uncle Frank Druba built a new house on the property. I think my dad helped build it. I do remember dad saying the new house was built where the old house was, but the new house didn't have a maybe it was placed juxtaposition to the old foundation. Mimi had some beautiful flowers. There was a foundation of a building near the house which Mimi planted with cosmos and flox and many more too numerous to mention. The butterfies and bees loved this garden. There was so much life in that little space. 

Now all is gone.
This is what is left of that beautiful garden. 
Look up where the house(s) would have been.
Great grandmother Mary Ann 
Great grandfather John
The last time I went past the property, there was a big sign advertising a senior citizen complex. I don't go by there much anymore because it is hard to see the property in such a state. You just can't go home again.



    I don't know whether or not we are related, but it was nice to read about a Portus family in USA

    James Portus South Devon UK.


  2. Frank Druba was my grandfather. His daughter, Deloris Dorthy Druba was my mother. She married Raymond Gerold Duba. I found your site when I was looking for information on my grandfather when he was the chief of police in Libertyville. If you might have any pictures of Frank I could copy, I would be very appreciative. Gary Duba,