THE McGIMSEY FAMILY
BY JIM HANSEN
The McGimsey quandary began with the disappearance of a Civil War headstone from the Layton Township Cemetery. The story began in the early 1980’s when the Botna Valley Genealogical Society of Oakland, Iowa walked every cemetery and recorded each and every stone in the rural Pottawattamie County cemeteries. A very accurate record of the monuments was gathered. They did a very good and appreciated job. But, changes happen!
When Layton Twp. Cemetery was recorded, there was a monument labeled as follows: McGIMSEY, John A., Com Sgt F. M. DIV Post 408 GAR mm (mm is for a metal marker). A second monument was recorded: McGIMSEY, F. M. Co H. 151st Ind Inf GAR mm. At some unknown date between 1982 and 2020, the John A. McGimsey stone disappeared. A number of hours have been spent trying to locate any bit of information on John A. without a trace or record of him. We cannot prove a burial or even the existence of John.
The stone for F. M. McGimsey remains intact next to the space where the missing stone once stood. Genealogical history is readily available for Francis M. After searching his family back to and including his parents, there was no mention of John A.
The third McGimsey in question is Samuel, son of Francis McGimsey and Caroline Comer. We have history on Samuel including an obituary that says he is buried beside his father, who died 1 year and 4 days earlier. There is no stone for Samuel nor proof of burial other than one line in the obituary.
Francis Marion McGimsey suffered a sunstroke in 1890 from which he never recovered. He passed away in February, 1893 at 55 years of age. Samuel fell from the caboose of a train at Manning, Iowa. He was found beside the track unconscious with a bad gash in his head. He was transported home to Walnut where he passed away at the age of 19 years, 10 months and 23 days.