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Seth Whiteside Iman was born about 1839 (11 years after Felix Grundy), and is thought to be a younger brother of Felix Grundy. Strangely, some records suggest that he was born in Germany. His marriage and military service are known. (He served alongside another brother in the same military units.) He would have been about 11 years of age at the time of the death of his parents Christian and Mary of cholera near 1850. It's not known where he was in the 1850 census. The children of this family seem to have gone to neighbors and relatives of Eymans and Clarks.|
Patti Cooper is a descendant of Seth Whiteside, and she had worked hard to sort out those Imans and Eymans of early Illinois. Her summaries were in some conflict. Her family tree assumed that Seth Whiteside, was somehow born in Germany in 1839. He died in St Louis and is buried at Miles-Eagle Cliffs there in Monroe County of Illinois. Seth's father, a Christian, is thought born in Virginia around 1799 (others say 1790), and he likely migrated to Southern Illinois with his father and mother around 1815-1820. He married Mary Whiteside (born 1810) in 1828 - the daughter of Davis Whiteside and resident of Columbia Precinct there in Monroe County.
It would seem to make sense that Seth Whiteside was most likely born in Monroe County. I'm not sure where the "error" (if that's what it is) about a German place of birth creeped into the family lore. As a child in the 1940's in the Pacific Northwest, I remember old family tales related a boat full of gold which was long thought by Imans to be coming from Germany as an inheritance. This was in the 1940's and the family joke seemed to be that the Skamania Imans were still waiting for the boat to arrive;-) Independently, the family of Seth Whiteside Iman from Illinois remember Seth Whiteside as saying (this must have been mid-1800s) "all his life" that he was about to head back to Germany to get the family's due! Stories down this line of the family note the receipt of a letter from a lawyer in the late 1800s about which apparently "nothing was done".
Our best understanding of the father of Felix Grundy and Seth Whiteside Iman suggests that Christian was a farmer or laborer. We have generally assumed that he followed the Imans and Eymans out of West Virginia, though there is always the possibility of a different origin. It's conceivable, for instance, that Christian had emerged from a branch of the family for which there may have been an inheritance! Ulrich, who arrived in 1763 or so, was an uncle of Jacob, the presumed grandfather of Christian Jr. of Monroe County. But Ulrich also had a son Ulrich, who remained in Germany, though he is thought to have had sons (and potential inheritors) who migrated to America. This Ulrich Jr. is thought to have died toward 1830-1850.
We also have little information about the ties these Imans and Eymans might have retained with Europe. Among the strangest of records for me to reconcile is evidence that a "C. Eyman", listed as "merchant and citizen" was returning from Germany/Switzerland through the port of New Orleans in 1823 on the ship, Imperial. I have no idea where this chap fits into the picture since records note that he was estimated to have been about 57 years old at the time -- suggesting a birth date of 1766. This could conceivably be our West Virginia Christian Iman, though it's not likely the father of Seth Whiteside and Felix Grundy.
As to Imans as "farmers", I sure with I had a better handle on things. Felix bought a plain wooden coffin for his dad, and the estate sale does suggest that Christian was a small farmer and laborer. Henry, Christian's older brother, was described in court records as having long served as a miller in the area, though records of his milling remain scant. Early court testimony from Eymans suggested laboring roles with settlers living in logs as they scratched out new beginnings, but then Abraham, who had settled first in the area was known not only as a farmer, but church man and politician. Early Illinois involved a strong mix of cultural elements, and I've often thought it was pretty surprising for an old "German" (Abraham) to be elected to the second House of Representatives for Illinois. And Abraham's sons, among the very early settlers to the area were not only farmers but local Treasurers and elected Supervisors -- with some evidence that toward the middle 1800s they may have been involved in helping new German migrants find their way in the new world.
So.. there are many puzzles for us to wonder about.