Finding Harry Steward New discoveries solving a century-old genealogical mystery

This is the story of my 30+ years genealogical journey to find my long-missing great-grandfather, Harry Steward. After the death of his wife and adoption of his daughter, Harry left his home in Denison in January 1899 and was never heard of or seen again. This is Harry's story as it is known today and my story of Finding Harry Steward.

On March 10, 1897, at the Presbyterian Church Parsonage in Denison, Crawford County, Iowa, Harry Steward, son of Benjamin Steward and Jennie Kime, married Hattie Mae Pollock, daughter of William Cook Pollock and Anna Elizabeth Duff. She was born in Gilberts, Kane County, Illinois, on Aug. 10, 1877.

Harry was 29, born in Pennsylvania, the son of Benjamin Steward and Jennie Kime, according to the marriage record.

Hattie Mae Pollock, c. 1895.
Crawford County, Iowa, Marriage Register.

For 30 years, this was the only reference to Harry Steward's identify I could find.

Presbyterian Church, Denison, Iowa.
Denison Bulletin, March 24, 1897.

On Jan. 1, 1898, Hattie Mae Steward gave birth to twins--a son who died and a daughter. Hattie Mae died from complications of childbirth on Jan. 3, 1898.

Denison Bullletin, Jan. 6, 1898.
Oakland Cemetery, Denison, Iowa.

The infant daughter that survived was named Hattie Mae Steward. She was adopted and raised by Friedrich Greif and his wife, Sophia (Janssen).

Hattie Mae Greif, c. 1915.

Jan. 8, 1899: Harry Seward is "lost".

Denison Review, Jan. 8, 1899.

Harry Steward was never heard of or seen again.

His daughter, now Hattie Mae Greif, grew up in Denison.

On June 20, 1917, Hattie Mae Greif married Otto Herman Beermann at Zion Lutheran Church in Denison. Otto was born August 27, 1894 in Washington Township, Crawford County, Iowa, to German Immigrants Ernst Friedrich Henrich Beermann and Sophia Luise Rothermund.

Hattie Mae Greif and Otto Herman Beermann, 1917.
Crawford County, Iowa, Marriage Register.
Zion Lutheran Church, Denison, Iowa.

Hattie and Otto became the parents of three sons, Kenneth, Leslie and Lowell, all born on the Beermann Farm in Section 2, Washington Township.

Washington Township, Crawford County, Iowa.

Vernon Kenneth Otto Beermann (Kenneth), born April 18, 1918.

Leslie Gerald Beermann (Les), born Aug. 19, 1919.

Lowell Wayne Beermann, born Oct. 21, 1924.

Top: Kenneth & Les; bottom, Lowell.

Kenneth died March 10, 1929. He is buried at Oakland Cemetery in Denison.

Denison Review, March 20, 1929.

Otto Herman Beermann died Oct. 1, 1930 at his farm in Washington Township.

Hattie Mae Beermann, now Beerman, married James Linus Tate on March 12, 1934 at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Denison. Hattie converted to Catholicism to marry James and Les and Lowell were received into the Church.

Crawford County, Iowa, marriage record.
[Old] St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Denison.
Hattie Mae Tate.
James Linus Tate.

Hattie and James became the parents of one son, James Bradley Tate (Brad).

Brad Tate
Brad Tate.

James Linus Tate died in Denison on June 10, 1970. Hattie Mae Tate died in Bayard, Iowa, on March 17, 1986. They are buried at Oakland Cemetery in Denison.

What happened to her father, Harry Steward? She died never knowing this answer.

For 31 years, I have been searching for Harry Steward. Searching for Harry Steward, the son of Benjamin Steward and Jennie Kime. Nothing. These 3 individuals do not exist as a family. Harry said he was born in Pennsylvania, age 29, at his marriage, in 1897. That puts his birth in 1867 or 1868. He should be in the 1870 and 1880 Federal Censuses. Nothing. Nothing in Pennsylvania. Nothing in the states between Pennsylvania and Iowa. Nothing anywhere.

So why not? I concluded several years ago Harry was not who he said he was.

And now we know that's true.

Autosomal DNA Testing.

Shared Matches at AncestryDNA.

Brad Tate's shared matches reveal more than 50 matches to the Cook, Kime and related families of Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. By examining the most significant of these shared matches--a second cousin--and accompanying family tree, I know now that Harry Steward is actually

Lewis Clifton Cook.

Lewis Clifton Cook, born June 3, 1868 at Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, oldest son of Benjamin S. Cook and Phoebe Jane (sometimes Jennie) Kime.

Lewis Clifton Cook was baptized at Christ Lutheran Church in Kittanning on Oct. 3, 1868.

Baptismal Register, Christ Lutheran Church, Kittanning, Pennsylvania.
Kittanning, Pennsylvania, 1890.

1870 Census

1870 Federal Census, East Franklin Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Lewis C., age 2.

1880 Census

1880 Federal Census, Kittanning Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Lewis C., age 12.

On May 6, 1890, at Muskego, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Lewis Clifton Cook married Margaret "Maggie" Spitzner, the daughter of Andrew Spitzner and Barbara Kellner. Maggie was born in Rosshaupt, now Rozvadov in the Tachov District in the Plzen Region of the Czech Republic, on June 20, 1869.

Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Marriage Register
At the time of his marriage May 6, 1890, Lewis lived at 10 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh. This address no longer exists.

Maggie Cook filed a complaint of divorce on Sept. 5, 1894 in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. In her filing, she said Lewis deserted her on Sept. 22, 1892 in Chicago. She said they lived for a year in Pittsburgh and a year in Chicago.

Complaint for divorce, Waukesha County, Wisconsin.

But Lewis Cook could not be found.

Summons notice.

The divorce was granted without Lewis' knowledge or consent on Sept. 18, 1894. Maggie resumed use of her maiden name.

Divorce decree, Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Sept. 18, 1894.

Maggie Spitzner married, as his second wife, William Searle on Dec. 14, 1899 in Waukesha, Wisconsin. William was born in Wisconsin, probably Muskego, the son of William Searle and Isabelle McCall, on Aug. 8, 1853. He first married Sarah Harris, daughter of Alexander Harris and Margaret Allen, in Waukesha on March 29, 1892. Sarah was born in 1869; she died in 1895.

Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Marriage Register.
William Searle

Maggie died in Muskego, Wisconsin, on June 20, 1913.

Waukesha County death certificate for Margaret Searle.
The Waukesha Freeman, June 26, 1913.

William Searle died Jan. 21, 1929 in Waukesha.

Waukesha County death certificate for William Searle.
The Waukesha Freeman, Jan. 24, 1929.

Maggie is buried with her parents and second husband at Sunnyside Cemetery in New Berlin, sometimes Prospect, Waukesha County, Wisconsin.

Sunnyside Cemetery, New Berlin, Wisconsin.

"Harry Steward" married Hattie Mae Pollock in Denison, Iowa, on March 10, 1897. But his whereabouts between deserting Margaret on Sept. 22, 1892 and marrying Hattie on March 10, 1897 are not known.

While he was Harry Steward to Hattie Pollock, in his marriage record, he did leave clues to his real identity, naming his parents as Benjamin Steward (actually Benjamin S. [possibly Steward] Cook) and Jennie Kime (actually Phoebe Jane [but sometimes Jennie] Kime). And he did use his correct age (29) and place of birth (Pennsylvania).

Crawford County, Iowa, marriage register.

Why does Lewis Clifton Cook become Harry Steward?

Three possibilities:

Did he think he was still legally married to Margaret?

Was he wanted by the law?

Was he running from debt and creditors?

Lewis Clifton Cook had 3 sisters and two brothers living at this time. The "story" among their descendants is Lewis left an unhappy marriage and went to Alaska at the height of the Yukon Gold Rush. No evidence has been found to show that Lewis or Harry went to Alaska. But he changed his name once when he married Hattie Mae Pollock in Iowa in 1897, and could have again after leaving Denison in January 1899.

There is an interesting 1900 U.S. Federal Census record for Custer County, Montana, that is a strong match to be Harry:

1900 U.S. Federal Census for Custer County, Montana: Harry Stewart, born June 1868 in Pennsylvania.

And, he may have joined the U.S. Army!

A man named Harry Stewart enlisted in E Battery, 3rd Artillery Regiment on Dec. 18, 1900 at St. Paul, Minnesota. He was 32 and 6/12 months old---an exact match to Harry, born in June 1868. He said he was "from" Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There is no other Harry Stewart that matches this age and place of birth.

U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 (line 2164).

The Company changes to the 28th Coast Artillery Corps in February 1901. And on July 11, 1901, at Fort Winfield Scott at The Presidio in San Francisco, Harry deserted.

28th Coast Artillery Corps, 1901 (right side, line 6, near the bottom).

No other records have yet been found identifying Lewis or Harry in subsequent years. Did he change his name again to avoid be found by the Army?

I have ordered additional U.S. Army records to see if there are any more identifying details.

His parents and siblings never knew his fate. Unless he fathered more children by a third or subsequent wife and their descendants take a DNA test, his ultimate fate may never be known.

Once again, Harry Steward is lost. And possibly lost to history once again.

Lewis Clifton Cook's Family

His Parents: Benjamin S. Cook and Phoebe Jane (sometimes Jennie) Kime.

Phoebe Jane (sometimes Jennie) Kime and Benjamin S. Cook of Kittanning, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.
Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

Benjamin S. Cook

Benjamin S. Cook was born in Kittanning Township, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 22, 1845, the son of Lewis Cook and his wife, Susanna Schrecengost.

Benjamin S. Cook enlists in the Pensylvania 139th Infantry, August 10, 1862 at Pitttsburgh, AlleghenY County, PennsYlvania. He was 17.

He served in Company B, 139th Pennsylvania Infantry from Sept. 1, 1862 until honorably discharged in Washington D.C., on June 21, 1865.

Organized at Pittsburg September 1, 1862. Moved to Washington, D.C., September 1-3. Attached to 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 4th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to September, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to October, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 3rd Division, 6th Army Corps, to January, 1864. Wheaton's Brigade, Dept. of West Virginia, to March, 1864. 1st Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, and Army of the Shenandoah to June, 1865.

SERVICE.--Bury dead at Bull Run, Va., September 4-7, 1862. Maryland Campaign September 7-24. Battle of Antietam September 16-17 (Reserve). At Downsville September 23-October 20. Movement to Stafford Court House October 20-November 18, and to Belle Plains December 5. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December 12-15. Burnside's 2nd Campaign, "Mud March," January 20-24, 1863. At Falmouth until April. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations at Franklin's Crossing April 29-May 2. Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg, May 3. Salem Heights May 3-4. Banks' Ford May 4. Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 13-July 24. Battle of Gettysburg July 2-4. Pursuit of Lee July 5-24. Duty on line of the Rappahannock and Rapidan until October. Bristoe Campaign October 9-22. Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8. Rappahannock Station November 7. Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2. At Harper's Ferry until March, 1864. Rapidan Campaign May 4-June 12. Battles of the Wilderness May 5-7; Spottsylvania May 8-21. Assault on the Salient May 12. North Anna River May 23-26. On line of the Pamunkey May 26-28. Totopotomoy May 28-31. Cold Harbor June 1-12. Before Petersburg June 17-18. Jerusalem Plank Road, Weldon Railroad, June 22-23. Siege of Petersburg to July 9. Moved to Washington, D.C., July 9-11. Repulse of Early's attack on Washington July 11-12. Pursuit to Snicker's Gap July 14-24. Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign August to December. Near Strasburg August 13. Near Charlestown August 21-22. Demonstration on Gilbert's Ford, Opequan, September 13. Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19. Strasburg September 21. Fisher's Hill September 22. Battle of Cedar Creek October 19. Duty in the Shenandoah Valley until December. Moved to Petersburg, Va., December 9-12. Siege of Petersburg December, 1864, to April, 1865. Dabney's Mills, Hatcher's Run, February 5-7, 1865. Fort Fisher, Petersburg, March 25. Appomattox Campaign March 28-April 9. Assault on and fall of Petersburg April 2. Pursuit of Lee April 3-9. Sailor's Creek April 6. Appomattox Court House April 9. Surrender of Lee and his army. March to Danville April 23-27, and duty there until May 23. March to Richmond, Va., thence to Washington, D.C., May 23-June 3. Corps Review June 8. Mustered out June 21, 1865.

Regiment lost during service 10 Officers and 135 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 5 Officers and 86 Enlisted men by disease. Total 236.

Source - A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion by Frederick H. Dyer

Benjamin S. Cook's Civil War service is memorialized on the 139th Pennsylvania Infantry monument at Gettysburg. Company B: "Benj S. Cook".
Pennsylvania 139th Infantry.

Benjamin S. Cook married Phoebe Jane (sometimes Jennie) Kime at Rupp Lutheran Church, now Christ Rupp Lutheran Church, in Kittanning on March 25, 1866.

Phoebe Jane (sometimes Jennie) Kime

Phoebe Jane was born in Rural Valley, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania on Feb. 14, 1849, the daughter of Anthony Kime and his wife, Sarah Brown.

Benjamin S. Cook and Phoebe Jane were the parents of 7 children:

Julia Cook, born Jan. 22, 1867.

Lewis Clifton Cook (also known as Harry Steward), born June 3, 1868.

George Swigart Cook, born Jan 21, 1870.

Sarah Dessie Cook, born Dec. 18, 1872.

Margaret Blanche Cook, born August 21, 1874.

Volney Rex Cook, born November 10, 1876.

Christina Cook, born Jan. 17, 1888.

Benjamin S. Cook died in Manorville, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, on Feb. 26, 1920, age 75. He is buried at Manor Cemetery in Ford City, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

In his lifetime, Benjamin only used S. as his middle initial. "Swigart" cannot be verified as his middle name.
Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Death Certificate for Benjamin S. Cook.

Phoebe Jane (Kime) Cook died in Manorville, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, on March 19, 1926. She is buried at Manor Cemetery.

Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, Death Certificate for Phoebe Jane Cook.

Cook Family Photographs - Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.

Harry Steward's Grandsons

Leslie Gerald Beerman

Lowell Wayne Beerman

James Bradley Tate

& Great-Grandchildren

Leslie Gerald Beerman married Marguerite Mary Keating at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Denison on Sept. 30, 1940. Marg was born in Denison on April 15, 1922, the daughter of James J. Keating and Nora Fitzpatrick.

Marg & Les.

They were the parents of 5 children:

Coleen (later Colleen) Mae Beerman, born in Denison March 20, 1941. She died in Bettendorf, Scott County, Iowa, on March 15, 2007.

Colleen with her daughter, Terri Lynn.

Mary Kaye Beerman.

Joan Leslie Beerman, born in Denison on March 3, 1945. She died in Waterloo, Black Hawk County, Iowa, on March 23, 1999.

Kenneth Ralph Beerman, born in Denison on Dec. 25, 1946. He died in Davenport, Scott County, Iowa, on July 22, 1950.

Noreen S. Beerman.

Les and Marg divorced. He married Myrlie E. Goudie on Dec. 14, 1961 in Omaha, Douglas County, Nebraska. Myrle was born in Griswold, Cass County, Iowa, on July 13, 1924, the daughter of Ray H. Goudie and Edna A. Hartness. Les died in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, on Jan. 15, 1973. Myrle died in Council Bluffs on Dec. 16, 2002. They are buried at Flint Cemetery in Griswold.

Marg married Gerald "Gary" James Malam. They later divorced. She died in Waterloo on Jan. 8, 2003. She is buried at Garden of Memories in Waterloo.

Lowell Wayne Beerman married Vera Marie Kearney at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Denison on March 8, 1943. Vera was born in East Boyer Township, Crawford County, Iowa, on Nov. 14, 1921, the daughter of Dan Kearney and his wife, Kathryn Costello.

Vera & Lowell.

They were the parents of 6 children:

Barbara Jeanne Beerman.

James Richard Beerman.

Gloria Ann Beerman.

David Kearney Beerman

Annette Kathryn Beerman, born in Omaha on March 6, 1955. She died in Omaha on March 2, 1996.


Martin Wayne Beerman.

Lowell died in Omaha Nov. 25, 1996. Vera died in Omaha June 28, 1984. They are buried at Calvary Cemetery in Omaha.

Lowell & Vera.

James Bradley Tate married Svea Ida Marian Kastengren on Oct. 26, 1963 at Immaculate Conception Church in Cherokee, Cherokee County, Iowa. Marian was born in Cherokee on Oct. 17, 1938, daughter of Joe and Hulda Kastengren. She died in Carroll, Carroll County, Iowa, on Feb. 12, 2019. She is buried at St. Ann's Cemetery in Vail, Crawford County, Iowa.

Marian and Brad.
Brad & Marian.

Eleven children were born to Brad and Marian:

Ann Marie Tate.

Kathleen Mary Tate.

Patricia Lynn Mary Tate.

Julie Maureen Tate.

James Joseph Tate.

Michael Bradley Tate.

Brian Daniel Tate.

Thomas John Tate.

Gregory John Paul Tate.

Madonna Rose Marie Tate.

Diane Michelle Marie Tate.


One mystery solved. But another one discovered.

Autosomal DNA results tell us that Hattie Mae Pollock, the wife of Harry Steward, is not the daughter of her "parents" William Cook Pollock and his wife, Anna Elizabeth Duff. Rather, she is the daughter of Anna Elizabeth Duff, but her father is likely Charles Henry Eatinger of Dundee, Kane County, Illinois.

Father and daughter: Charles Henry Eatinger, born 1846, and Hattie Mae Pollock, born 1877.

Anna Elizabeth Duff married William Cook Pollock in Dundee on Dec. 11, 1876. Hattie Mae was born Aug. 10, 1877.


Martin W. Beerman

Omaha, Nebraska

March 31, 2018

Revised June 19, 2019.

Created By
Martin Beerman


Created with an image by Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the BPL - "Clemens' map of Pennsylvania"