Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Earnests in:
 • Springdale Cemetery and Mausoleum
 • Peoria
 • Peoria County
 • Illinois
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Community Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Sponsor This Memorial! Advertisement
Sgt John Earnest
Learn about sponsoring this memorial...
Birth: Nov. 9, 1824
Perry County
Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Apr. 20, 1902
Illinois, USA

Sergeant JOHN EARNEST, Co. I, 86th Illinois

John Earnest/Earnst was born in November of 1824 in Andersonburg, Perry County, Pennsylvania. He may have been the son of George J. Earnest, who is found in Madison, Perry County, Pennsylvania at the time of the 1850 census;
George J Earnest M 42
Susanna Earnest F 37
William H Earnest M 18
Samuel F Earnest M 16
Eleazer O Earnest M 13
Henry F Earnest M 9
Emmaretta K Earnest F 7
Mary E Earnest F 5
Jacob B Earnest M 3
George E Earnest M 1

John Earnest is known to have come west to Illinois before 1851, but, I have yet to find him in the 1850 census. On March 27, 1851, John Earnest was married to Rhoda Gilbraith in Fulton County, Illinois. Rhoda was born in March of 1833 in Pennsylvania. She is believed to have been the daughter of James Galbraith and Agnes (Scott) Galbraith, but at the time of the 1850 census, she is found living with a Thomas M. Galbraith in Peoria county, Illinois. Could this be an uncle?
Thomas M Galbraith M 59
Rhoda Galbraith F 17 Pennsylvania
Lucretia Galbraith F 16

Six children are known to have been born to John Earnest and Rhoda (Galbraith) Earnest, all of whom were still living at the time of the 1900 census. They include;
1. Lewis Earnest, born c. 1852/53 in Illinois. At the time of the 1870 census, Lewis is listed as the chairman of the Engineer Corps; At the time of the 1880 census, Lewis is found working as a Blacksmith and living in Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois. He is still single at that time.

2. Hattie Earnest, born c. 1855/56 in Illinois.

3. Rufus Earnest, born c. 1858/59 in Illinois; After the 1880 census, nothing is known for certain about Rufus. He may be the Rufus K. Earnest, who we find in Los Angeles (Districts 0251-0500), Los Angeles County, California in the 1930 census. His parents are both listed as having been born in Pennsylvania;
Adolphe Leiter Head M 55
Flora H Leiter Wife F 55
George W E Hopkins Lodger M 67
Nathan Levy Lodger M 61
Rufus K Earnest Lodger M 71

4. Frank Earnest, born c. 1861 in Illinois; Frank is found with the family in the 1870 and 1880 census records; However, at the time of the 1880 census, Frank is also found working as a Servant in the Bennett household in Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois. He is still single at this time;
Solomon Bennett Self M 45
Delia Bennett Wife F 34
Charles Bennett Son M 11
Annie Meek Other F 28
Annie Welch Other F 30
Frank Earnest Other M 18
Gertie Bennett Daughter F 9

Nothing is known for certain about Frank after the 1880 census, but, he is almost certainly the Frank Earnest who is found in Magisterial District 1 Clay City town, Powell County, Kentucky. His parents are listed as having been born in Pennsylvania, but his date of birth, at least in the census, is listed as January of 1863 in Illinois. He and his wife, Nora Maple, have been married 6 years and they have had 3 children at this time, all of whom are living. Frank and Nora were likely married in Kentucky.
Frank Ernest Head M Jan 1863 37 Illinois
Nora Ernest Wife F Sep 1870 30 Kentucky
Edna Ernest Daughter F Mar 1895 5 Kentucky
Sidney Ernest Son M Feb 1897 3 Kentucky
Ruth Ernest Daughter F Sep 1899 1 Kentucky

Frank and Nora are believed to have had four children, altogether. They include;
A. Edna Earnest, born March 7, 1895 in Kentucky; died on October 23, 1972.
B. Sidney F. Earnest, born February 16, 1897 in Kentucky; died on November 25, 1975.
C. Ruth Marie Earnest, born September __, 1899 in Kentucky; died on November 30, 1975.
D. Mary L. Earnest, born March 13, 1902 in Kentucky; died on November 9, 1972.

At the time of the 1910 census, the Earnest family is found in Clay City, Powell County, Kentucky;
Frank Ernest Head M 48
Enora Ernest Wife F 37
Edna Ernest Daughter F 15
Sidney Ernest Son M 13
Ruth Ernest Daughter F 11
Mark Ernest Son M 7

Frank Seigel Earnest was actually born in Peoria County, Illinois on January 27, 1862, was married to Nora Maple (1870 - 1949), and died on October 10, 1943 in Fayette County, Kentucky. His mortal remains were laid in the Hillcrest Memorial Park in Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky. See his Find A Grave Memorial # 97848927.

5. May Florence Earnest, born c. 1864/65 in Illinois.

6. Edna L. Earnest, born c. May of 1869 in Illinois; At the time of the 1900 census, Edna is a school teacher in Peoria, Illinois and is unmarried at that time; As you will see below, Edna L. Earnest died on February 10, 1940 in Peoria, Illinois, but, her cremated remains are believed to have been sent to Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois for burial.

At the time of the 1860 census, the Earnest family is found in Timber Township of Peoria County, Illinois;
2550 Earnst John 30 M cooper 50 PA
2550 Earnst Rhoda 25 F PA
2550 Earnst Lewis 7 M IL
2550 Earnst Harriet 4 F IL
2550 Earnst Rufus 1 M IL

Now to continue with the biography of Sergeant John Earnest;
On August 7, 1862, 37 year old John Earnest volunteered at Lancaster, Peoria County, Illinois to serve in a company which was being raised in the Lancaster, Illinois/Timber-Hollis Township area of Peoria County by a well known business man and Lancaster area merchant, Allen L. Fahnestock.

Rank SGT Company I Unit 86 IL US INF

Personal Characteristics
Residence LANCASTER, PEORIA CO, IL Age 37 Height 5' 8 Hair DARK
Eyes GRAY Complexion DARK Marital Status MARRIED Occupation COOPER

Service Record
Joined When AUG 7, 1862 Joined Where LANCASTER, IL
Joined By Whom A L FAHNESTOCK Period 3 YRS
Muster In AUG 27, 1862 Muster In Where PEORIA, IL
Muster In By Whom N/A Muster Out JUN 6, 1865
Muster Out Where WASHINGTON, DC Muster Out By Whom LT SCROGGS
Remarks PROMOTED 1SGT SEP 2, 1864

When Fahnestock had about 100 volunteers he led his company into Peoria, where they went into camp at Camp Lyon, near present day Glen Oak Park. Fahnestock was elected Captain of the men of the Timber Township company and on August 27, 1862, Fahnestock, and 96 of the other Timber Township volunteers were mustered in as Company I of the 86th Regiment of Illinois Volunteer Infantry. John Earnest was elected by the men of Co. I to serve as their 3rd Sergeant.
The men of the 85th & 86th Illinois marched out of the gates of Camp Lyon on September 7, 1862, with much fanfare, through the streets of Peoria down to the railroad depot, where they boarded a train bound for Camp Joe Holt in Jeffersonville, Indiana, across the river from Louisville. Three weeks later the men of the 85th & 86th were in the field in Kentucky as part of Colonel Daniel McCook's Brigade chasing Confederate troops. On October 8, 1862, the men of McCook's Brigade were engaged with those Confederate troops during the Battle of Perryville, Kentucky, suffering their first casualties. There would be many more in the next few years.
After the Battle of Perryville, the Confederate forces withdrew from Kentucky, while the men of McCook's Brigade marched on to Nashville, Tennessee, where they went into winter camp. During the next three years, Sergeant John Earnest would serve faithfully in Co. I as the men of McCook's Brigade served in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and North Carolina. During this time, John was also a witness to and a participant in numerous battles and skirmishes, some of the bloodiest fighting in the Western Theatre of the war, including the Battles of Chickamauga, Georgia; Resaca, Georgia; Rome, Georgia; Peach Tree Creek, Georgia; Jonesboro, Georgia, Averysboro, North Carolina; and Bentonville, North Carolina, just to name a few. He also participated in General William Tecumseh Sherman's famous, or infamous, "March to the Sea".
During the Battle of Jonesboro, Georgia, 1st Sergeant John M. Glasford, of Co. I of the 86th was killed. After the fighting was over, on September 2, 1864, Sergeant John Earnest was elected by the men of Co. I to fill the 1st Sergeant position created by the death of John M. Glasford. Corporal John Herstine was elected to fill the opening in the Sergeant ranks, while Private Lewis Krisher was elected by the men of Co. I to fill the vacancy in the Corporal position. 1st Sergeant John Earnest served as such for the remainder of the war.
After the war came to a close, the men of McCook's Brigade marched on to Washington City (now D.C.) where they marched down Pennsylvania Avenue on the 2nd day of the Grand Review in May of 1865. On the evening of June 6, 1865, 1st Sergeant John Earnest was mustered out of the service along with the surviving members of the 86th at Washington, D.C. They soon found themselves of a train bound for Chicago, Illinois where they were they were to receive their final pay and be discharged. Upon reaching Chicago, on June 12, 1865, though they were no longer officially in the service, an election was held to fill the vacant role of 2nd Lieutenant, which had been vacant since the promotion of 2nd Lieutenant Richard W. Groninger on June 5, 1863. 1st Sergeant John Earnest was elected 2nd Lieutenant by the men of Co. I. Shortly after this, the surviving members of the 86th received their final pay and were discharged. By the end of June of 1865, the returned to their homes and families in Central Illinois.

At the time of the 1870 census, the Earnest family is found in Ward 7 of the city of Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois;
354 Earnest John 45 M constable 200 300 Pennsylvania
354 Earnest Rhoda 37 F keeps house Pennsylvania
354 Earnest Lewis 17 M chairman eng. Corps Illinois
354 Earnest Hattie 14 F goes to school Illinois
354 Earnest Rufus 11 M goes to school Illinois
354 Earnest Frank 9 M goes to school Illinois
354 Earnest May 5 F Illinois
354 Earnest Edna 1 F Illinois

At the time of the 1880 census, the Earnest family is found in Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois. John is working as a Laborer. His parents are listed in this census as having been born in Germany;
John Earnest Self M 54
Rhoda Earnest Wife F 47
Rufus Earnest Son M 21
Frank Earnest Son M 18
May Florence Earnest Daughter F 14
Edna L Earnest Daughter F 11

At the time of the 1900 census, the Earnest family is found living in what is called the 5th Ward of the city of Peoria at 131 North Mendenhall Street;
Earnest John Head M Nov 1824 75 M 49 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Pennsylvania
Earnest Roda Wife F Mar 1833 67 M 49 6 6 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Maryland
Earnest Edna L. Daughter F May 1871 29 S Illinois Pennsylvania Pennsylvania School Teacher
Stevens Harriet Niece F Apl 1874 26 S Illinois Illinois Pennsylvania Librarian

Sergeant John Earnest died on November 18, 1901 and his mortal remains were laid on Soldier's Hill in Springdale Cemetery. At the 1902 reunion of the 86th Illinois, Colonel Allen L. Fahnestock had the following to say of the passing of Sergeant Earnest.
"Commander and Comrades, is it possible we are going so fast? Twenty-two names in the List! (This is the Death Roll of the 86th for the year 1902.)"
Fanestock continued, "I wish to speak a kind word for my old Friend, Neighbor and Comrade, Orderly Sergeant John Earnest. We lived in the same town, worked at the same trade, belonged to the same lodge A. F. and A. M. He was Justice of the Peace for our township when he enlisted in my company. He left wife, family and office to defend his country and flag. He marched through the Confederate States and to Washington, D. C. and fought in many battles. I can truthfully say he deserves all the praise his comrades can give on this sad occasion. His wife and family have our heartfelt sympathy for the loss of a good husband, father and brave soldier. We shall miss him at out annual reunions."

At the time of the 1920 census, Rhoda and Edna are found living together in Ward 5 of the city of Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois. Rhoda is listed as widowed;
Edna L Earnest Head F 47
Rhoda Earnest Mother F 86
Alfred Stallings Boarder M 37
Mary R Stallings Boarder F 44

Name: Rhoda Earnest
Event Date: 08 Feb 1920
Event Place: Peoria, Peoria, Illinois
Gender: Female
Age: 86
Birth Year (Estimated): 1834
Birth Date: 22 Mar 1833
Birthplace: Newton-Hamilton, Pa.
Father's Name: James Calbraith
Father's Birthplace: Pa.
Mother's Name: Agnes Scott
Mother's Birthplace: Maryland
Occupation: at home
Residence Place: Peoria, Peoria, Illinois
Spouse's Name: John Earnest
Burial Date: 10 Feb 1920
Cemetery: Springdale

At the time of the 1930 census, Edna L. Earnest found boarding in Peoria, Peoria County, Illinois;
Lena O Cushing Head F 67
Edna L Earnest Lodger F 58
Sophia Holder Lodger F 50
Marie Strehlow Lodger F 51
Fannie Maynard Lodger F 45
Tillie Enders Maid F 36

Name: Edna L. Earnest
Event Date: 10 Feb 1940
Event Place: Peoria, Peoria, Illinois
Gender: Female
Age: 69
Birth Year (Estimated): 1871
Birth Date: 16 May 1870
Birthplace: Peoria, Illinois
Father's Name: John Earnest
Father's Birthplace: Pa.
Mother's Name: Not Known
Mother's Birthplace: Not Known
Occupation: Retired School Teacher
Residence Place: Peoria, Peoria, Ills.
Burial Date: 13 Feb 1940
Burial Place: Chicago, Cook, Ills.
Cemetery: Graceland Cremation

by Baxter B. Fite III

(Baxter would love to hear from anyone, especially descendants of the Earnest family, who might be able to add to the biographical material that we have on John Earnest and the Earnest family. Baxter would also love to see copies of ANY photographs of John Earnest, which have survived the years, added to his Find A Grave Memorial for all to see.)

Family links: 
  Rhoda Earnest (1833 - 1920)
  Frank Seigel Earnest (1862 - 1943)*
  Edna L Earnest (1870 - 1940)*
*Calculated relationship
Springdale Cemetery and Mausoleum
Peoria County
Illinois, USA
Plot: Soldiers Hill
Created by: Baxter B. Fite III
Record added: Nov 06, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61215368
Sgt John Earnest
Added by: Debra
Sgt John Earnest
Added by: Memories From The Mist
Sgt John Earnest
Added by: Memories From The Mist
There is 1 more photo not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

Rest in Peace!
- Lois
 Added: Feb. 17, 2013

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service