Early Family History

Merrill-Force-Lorentzen Family History, Part 1:  19th Century and early 20th Century 

The earliest information that I can find begins with Amos A. Merrill, born February 7, 1836, in Franconia, New Hampshire. Amos married Mary Anne Farmer, born April 28, 1845 in Findley, Ohio. They were married in Findley OH on December 19, 1864. They had eight children. The oldest was Nancy Jane Merrill, born October 7, 1865 in Fontanelle, Iowa.

I have no birth and death information for Edward Force, except that he died of dysentery some time near the end of the Civil War. He was married to Abbey Maddock, but I couldn’t find the birth and death information for her either. I did find a hand-written note mentioning Vermillion, Minnesota, but I don’t know if Edward and Abbey had lived there, or if one or the other was originally from there. They had one son, Levi Ebbert Force, born after Edward’s death, March 13, 1865 in Kankakee, Illinois.

It’s a mystery to me as to how and why these people moved around so much, but somehow Levi Force and Nancy Merrill met and married on October 21, 1883 in Momence, Illinois, just east of Kankakee near the Indiana state line.

Levi and Nancy had twelve children. Their fifth child was Theodore (Ted) John Force, born December 11, 1892 in Weller, North Dakota. He married Martha Magdalene McAdoo, born June 15, 1908 (no location that I can find, but she must’ve been from the area in central-west North Dakota). Ted and Martha had five children; their first was Elizabeth (Betty) Jane Force, born September 16, 1930.  

Levi’s and Nancy’s sixth child was Lulu Etha Force, born January 7, 1895 in Washburn, North Dakota. Lu married Jack Emil Lorentzen, December 8, 1915 in Manning, North Dakota (county seat of Dunn Co.) Jack and Lu had six children: Lorene Lillian (Sept 27, 1917) , Leonard Levi (May 15, 1919),  Norman Jack (April 12, 1921) Lyman Lloyd (February 4, 1923), Rosemarie (July 9, 1925), and Gaynor Earl (April 27, 1929).

Lyman Lorentzen married his cousin, Betty Force, August 28, 1948 in Casper, Wyoming, sort of ‘doubling down’ on the Merrill-Force connection in the family, and adding the McAdoos.

Jack Lorentzen was born January 13, 1885 in Peoria, Illinois to a Danish immigrant family and spent his childhood in Lincoln, Nebraska. He had an older brother (don’t know his name), who as an adult moved to Stanley, North Dakota. The boys’ mother died when Jack was 13-14 years old. His father went back to Europe, reportedly to Sweden, and took Jack with him. The timing gets lost here and we don’t know when Jack returned to the U.S., but apparently his father stayed in Sweden. When Jack returned, he went to visit his brother in Stanley, ND, but whatever happened between them, they never had anything to do with each other after that. Jack went south across the Missouri River and settled in Werner, only a couple hours from Stanley.  He was 30 yrs old when he married Lu Force, who was only 20 at the time. 

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