Who were William Scott Flower's parents?

+2 votes
I have done extensive research on William Scott Flower, my great-great-great-grandfather.

William Scott Flower was born in Michigan in 1846. He died in Iowa in 1930.

I have been struggling to break through a very peculiar brick wall concerning William's parents. The records are very conflicting.

I will summarize the three theories I've discovered and then ask anyone who is interested to look at the evidence and tell me what they think.

Theory #1:
William Scott Flower's parents were born in Germany.

Evidence: three census records




All of these censuses are definitely William. These three state that William's parents were born in Germany.

However, I have never found names or records linking him to Flowers born in Germany. If William Flower was born to these supposed German parents, why can't we find anything about these folks since they must have lived and died somewhere in America?

Theory #2: William Scott Flower was the son of Daniel Flower and Harriett Cable.

Daniel Flower (Flower-826) may be the answer.



This record shows a William Flower born around 1846 in Michigan (if this isn't him, it would have to be some serious coincidences!!) as the son of a Daniel Flower. However, Daniel Flower wasn't born in Germany nor is he German. His lineage is English.


This state census record which is almost certainly William (same name, same county, same age!) says that his parents were born in New York, which fits much better with this second theory that Daniel was his father.

Theory #3: His father was William Henry Flower

I don't see much evidence for this one, except that somebody thought it credible enough to put on FamilySearch:


I didn't find any sources listed that gave a reason to link this William Henry to William Scott, but there must have been some reason, I would think!

Note that this William Henry's lineage goes back to New York (which might fit the earlier record) and then Canada, but no records back to Europe.

I feel so confused about this, to be honest. William Scott's parents could be German, English, or Canadian. They could be mysterious people whose names were never found! Daniel might be right. Maybe there's some truth to the William Henry story.

If anyone has time to look into this, perhaps someone who has access to Ancestry trees, that would be awesome.

Thank you, WikiTreers, in advance for your help.
WikiTree profile: William Flower
asked in Genealogy Help by Zachary Smith G2G6 Mach 1 (17.1k points)
I didn't find anything about his parents yet but did attach an obituary to his profile.
Thanks for adding that obituary. Is that the full obituary? I didn't see his parents listed on it.
That was it, sorry!
Oh, now we're getting somewhere. I attached a newspaper biography with no parents, but a hometown of Romeo, New York, and a photo.

1 Answer

0 votes
The 1925 Iowa State Census made entries for the names of the parents of each person enumerated and the birthplaces and place of marriage of those parents.  How accurate that is, of course, is subject to the usual question of who gave the information and how accurately it was recorded.  

There is an entry for William and his wife, listed as Mary, living as a two person household in Eagle Grove.  William's father is listed there as William Flower and his mother is listed as Rhoda Lagan, both stated to have been born in New York, but married in Michigan.  

Interestingly, no parents' names and information are listed for William's wife Mary (shown as born Norway and obviously the same as his wife Grethe Marie as shown in the profile).  If Grethe Marie had been the informant, you would assume that her parents would have been listed, so it is reasonably likely that William himself was the informant, particularly as the preceding and succeeding households listed by the enumerator are on different street addresses and do not contain one of William's children as a household head or spouse.  

With this information, I was able to find a grave for a Rhoda Flower on Find a Grave, who I suspect must be William's mother, even though the information on her stone partly conflicts with the information in this census.  Specifically, the inscription on the stone reads:
RHODA / Daughter of / P. & R. EDGETT / & Wife of / Wm FLOWER / DIED / March 28, 1848 / Aged 23 Years / 1 month.  

This potentially conflicts with her surname being Lagan; on the other hand, William was only about 2 when she died and may have had little information about her family.  

Macomb County marriage records show a marriage between William Flower, 24, of Ray [Township] and Phebe P. Edgett, 17, of Bruce [Township] on June 24, 1848.  She may have been his late wife's sister.

William Flower very likely is then the same William Flower supposedly listed in the 1850 census mortality schedules for Macomb County Michigan, born New York, died of diabetes in the month of April, age 26, farmer.  

The 1850 census for Bruce Township, Macomb County, Michigan, shows Phebe Flower, 19, in the household of Albert and Lucy Edgett and a number of Edgett children ranging in age from 17 down to 8.  In the same household is Scott Flower, 2, born Michigan, whom I assume is actually William Scott Flower, the subject of your question.

There are graves in Romeo Michigan (see Find A Grave) for Peter and Rhoda Edgett, who are likely the P & R Edgett listed on Rhoda Flowers' gravestone.  

I don't have time right now to add all the reference links and citations in detail but will try to do that later today if possible.
answered by Kevin Kittilson G2G3 (3.6k points)
Scott Flowers, 12, is still listed in 1860 in the household of Albert & Lucy Edgett, possibly his uncle and aunt.
Phebe appears to have been the niece rather than sister of William Flowers' wife Rhoda Edgett.  She (Phebe) subsequently remarried to Hart Perkins of Oakland County Michigan, and died in 1918 as his widow.  Again, will add citations and links for all this later.

Here are the links to most of the data I discussed above.

1925 state census of Iowa,  Wright County.  (Familysearch heads this page Clarion City-Goldfield, but it is actually Eagle Grove - see image 694)  Entry for William & Mary Flower  first page


entry for William & Mary Flower  second page (shows parents)



Gravestone for Rhoda Edgett Flower, Romeo Cemetery, Macomb County Michigan



1848 marriage William Flower & Phebe Edgett



1850 US Census, Mortality Schedule, Bruce Township, Macomb County, Michigan.   NARA Publication:  M432.  Entry for William Flower.  Page 254, line 4.  (digital image seen  at MyHeritage.com, so no link provided here as it is a pay site).  I can verify, however, that the entry states: William Flower, 26, male, married, b.NY, d. Apr 1850, farmer, diabetes, 6 days. 

1850 Census, Bruce Twp, Macomb County, MI.  Scott Flower and Phebe Flower in hh of Albert & Lucy Edgett:


1860 census, Bruce Township, Macomb MI.  Scott Flowers in hh of Albert & Lucy Edgett:




Wow! Thank you so much for all this research!! I will look into it all and try to find the answers I'm still looking for.
Hi Zachary.  I enjoy working on other researchers' brick walls from time to time, rather than just continuing to bang my head against my own brick walls.  The problem of your William's parentage is intriguing and so I've continued to think about the various issues raised by the evidence you cited and the additional material I've found.  

As your original posting also asked for comments on various theories, I've done some further poking about and will offer my opinions hoping that also may be of some use to you.

As you note, there are apparent errors and inconsistencies in many of the records pertaining to your William.  Over the years I have found that there are going to be errors and inconsistencies in almost every genealogical question, but you have certainly had to deal with more than your share here.  

My comments need be a bit long to try to tie up the strands of evidence, so I'll break things into separate postings, one for each of the three theories you posted about, as well as one more for my own conclusions and to sum up.

I'll start with Theory #2, Daniel & Harriet.  The primary evidence to support them as your William's parents is that the 1850 and 1860 censuses for their household shows a male child of the same first and last name, William Flower, born about the right year in the right state (Michigan).  In 1850 he is listed as William H. Flower, and in 1860 as Wm Flower.  You gave the link for the 1860 above; you may already also have the 1850, but if not, it can be seen here:

I can see why you found this set of possible parents so intriguing beyond the simple name/age/birth state match.  Harriet was born in New York, one of the two different places (the other being Prussia/Germany) that some known records about your William suggest may be his parents'  birthplace.  In addition, the William associated with this couple disappears from Knox County Illinois census records after the 1860 census, which is consistent with your William's known arrival date in Iowa in the early 1860s.  And, one of Harriet's parents was apparently born in Germany.  If these were his parents, it would neatly tie up a lot of loose ends.

On closer examination after some further digging, however, I think it is quite clear that Daniel and Harriet aren't the parents of your William.   I won't discuss all of the circumstantial evidence against it, but will concentrate on one key point.  Specifically, I believe there is compelling evidence that the William who is shown in the 1850 and 1860 census with this couple died on April 13, 1865, and thus cannot be your William,  who lived on to 1930 in Iowa.

In the same cemetery where Daniel and Harriet are buried, Hope Cemetery in Knox County Illinois, there is a military gravestone for a William H. Flower, with no dates, but inscribed simply "WILLIAM H. FLOWER / Co. E / 17 ILL INF."  See https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/15170440/william-h_-flower#view-photo=3734615.  

The online database of Illinois civil war muster roll data at the website of the Illinois Secretary of State shows that a William H. Flowers from Galesburg enlisted in December 1863 as an Illinois soldier at age 18.  It further states that he had been born in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  At some unstated point in time, he was transferred from the 17th Illinois Infantry to the 8th Illinois Infantry, and died on 13 April 1865.  See: https://www.ilsos.gov/isaveterans/civilMusterSearch.do?key=84170.  

What even more clearly connects him to Daniel and Harriet, beyond the obvious circumstantial evidence of his age, name, and residence, is that this same soldier's service was the basis for a survivor's pension granted to the soldier's mother, Harriet Flower.  See  https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33S7-9TBN-FJG?=1909&cc=1919699.  

There is more evidence which further substantiates that the Harriet who received this pension is the Harriet who was Daniel Flower's wife, but hopefully I've provided enough here to set the question to rest.  If not, let me know and I'll post the additional details.

I'll discuss Theories 1 and 3 in a further reply (but not today).
Wow!!! That is very helpful!!! Thank you for doing that research! Very impressive.
Kevin, please check out [[Space:William_Scott_Flower's_parentage]] to see the basics of the theory I've been forming based on your research and mine. I don't want you to have to dig up records I already have. Thanks for all your help!
I see from the link in your reply that we have both come to the same conclusion - that William's parents were William Flower and Rhoda Edgett, both of whom died during William's infancy.  Their death while he was so young probably accounts for some of the inconsistencies about his parentage in later records.  

If you have no objection I will set up profiles for Daniel and Harriet's three children and add the data I turned up on them, attaching them to Daniel and Harriet's profile.

I located the probate for the William Flower who married Rhoda and Phebe yesterday, and can send the link if you haven't found that yet. I also was looking at the possibility that this William who died in 1850 was the son of Lemrock Flower and his wife Phebe who are also seen in Macomb County censuses.  I had also located their probates.  Of particular interest, the will of Phebe Flower, proved in the 1860s, makes a bequest "to my grand children the children of my late son William Flower".  I can't say for certain whether this refers to the same William, but it certainly suggests that possibility.  The wording would also suggest that he had at least one further child, born before your William, and possibly taken in after his death by a Flowers relative, while William as the youngest remained with his mother's and stepmother's relatives.  Let me know if you have also seen these probates or if I should provide the links.
Please send any links that you have.

And yes, it seems quite likely that William (1824-1850) was the son of Lamrock and Phebe. I have been doing some additional research on FamilySearch that suggests that.
Their seems to be some discrepancy regarding Lamrock's date of birth (1785 or 1794) and who his parents were.






All these conflicting accounts are very confusing!
Actually, the tombstone would suggest a birth year of 1790 or 1791

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