John Hossack: Abolitionist, Underground Railway Railroad Conductor and Station Master, Canal Builder, Merchant, Fugitive Slave Law Violator, Spark for the Civil War.



John Hossack of Ottawa, Illinois.  Abolitionist, Underground Railway Conductor, Canal Builder.  Grain and Lumber Merchant.  Crusader for Human Rights and Liberty.  Man of God.  He feared God and loved his Fellow Man.



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Direct Descendants of John Hossack of Ottawa

1 John Hossack 1806 - 1891 Canal Builder/ Lumber-Grain Merchant


......... 2 Annie Hossack 1835 - 1916

..+ William Capron Richardson, 1826-1868

..+ David J. Price, 1832-1918

......... 2 George Barnett Hossack 1836 - 1911

..+ Margaretta Frame, 1840-1913

......... 2 Margaret Hossack 1838 - 1904

..+ Joseph E. Porter, 1831-1902

......... 2 John Forsyth Hossack 1840 - 1887 + Mary Babcock

......... 2 Henry Lens Hossack, Businessman (Grain Lumber) Developer, 1842 - 1936

..+ Medora Tuttle 1849-1901

..+ Alice Jennings

......... 2 Louise Hossack 1843 - 1918

..+ William Wirt Calkins 1842 - 1914, Civil War Historian/Naturalist/Businessman

......... 2 William Hossack 1846 - 1920

..+ Ella Francis Kenyon 1847-1881

..+ Augusta V. Strawn

......... 2 James Alexander Hossack 1848 - 1892

..+ Ermina Belle Dewey, 1851-1907

......... 2 Harriet Emma Hossack 1851 - 1936

..+ John Edwin Scott, 1843 - 1918, Businessman/Carson Pirie Scott Co.

......... 2 Frederick Newton Hossack 1856 - 1948

..+ Myra Ella Babcock

FLORENCE ISABELLE BELLE HOSSACK PUTNEY<---..... 2 Florence Isabelle Hossack 1858 - 1892

MILO.PUTNEY, JR, JEWELER............. +Milo Putney 1859 - 1943 Watchmaker, Jeweler --->


Milo and Belle's marriage Documents (click)

.................... 3 Carrie Belle Putney 1883 - c1965


ALTA1940.bmp (33682 bytes)<---.................... 3 Alta Mae Putney 1885 - 1967

HHP-1940.bmp (32238 bytes)........................ +Harvey Howard Preston  1883 - 1955 Plate Glass Sales (PPG)--->

............................... 4 Mildred Jeanette Preston 1907 - 1986




WMPFAM44.bmp (32238 bytes)............................... 4 William Milo Preston 1914 - 1992 Wholesale Carpet Sales --->

................................... +Helen Elizabeth V. Preston---> 




JWPFAM97.bmp (90906 bytes)........................................... 5 Jay William Preston - Safety Engineer/ Expert Witness/Minister-->

............................................... +Yoshiko H. Preston - Homemaker/Minister (center)-->

...................................................... 6 Elika Preston - Teacher/Journalist (bottom left)-->

...................................................... 6 Yuli Preston - Student/Teacher (bottom right)-->

...................................................... 6 Yujin Jay Preston 1979 - 1999 Student/Pilot (top left)-->

Nathan R. Preston, Nathan Robinson Preston, Nathan Preston, Nate, Germany, Bamberg, Double X Corps, Pattonx, Rokal, Marklin, Hermann Teddy................................ 4 Nathan Robinson Preston 1916 - 1983 Diplomat/Importer

.................... 3 Emma Barbara Putney 1888 - 1959

.................... 3 Florence Maud Putney 1890 - c1964

Milo Putney and Belle Hossack with Carrie and Infant Alta, circa 1886.


The four Putney Daughters, Carrie, Alta, Emma, and Florence (L-R), circa 1930:



bulletMailing of December, 1992

Dear Hossack Family:

It is in the interest of making a possible contact with distant cousins that I am writing to you.

My great great grandfather was John Hossack, of Ottawa, Illinois. He had eleven children. These were Annie, George Barnett, Margaret, John Forsyth, Henry Lens, Louise, William, James Alexander, Harriet Emma, Frederick Newton, and Florence Isabelle "Belle" Hossack.

I am the grandson of Alta, one of Belle’s four daughters with Milo Putney (Carrie, Alta, Emma, and Florence). Alta married Harvey Howard Preston, and one of their two sons was, William Milo Preston, my father.

I am something of the family historian, and I would appreciate it if you have any information to share. I have amassed quite a bit, extending the line back at least two more generations in Scotland. I would be happy to share this with you.

Sincerely yours,

Jay W. Preston

bullet1999 Letter to Hossack Cousin on Genealogy and Research to Date:

(With revisions to 06/09/2001 to report additional contacts)

Dear Cousin: 

I have been using a CD-ROM (computer) USA phone directory to pursue my inquiries. My starting point has been a chart "the Wheel" of the descendants of John Hossack which was compiled in 1919.

I have written to all Hossacks listed on the CD and to all the terminal names on the "wheel" that are not too common or numerous. including, Yentzers, etc. I only wish that I had this new capability while my dad was around, but the CD technology is very new.

I have tried directory assistance in Canada for additional leads. There are 15 Hossacks in Vancouver, for example.

The wheel shows John's parents as well as his siblings. Some of his history indicates that he was in Ottawa, Canada, prior to his trek to the U.S. He was with an uncle William who had a confectionery store there. The wheel shows my John as the son of William from Elgin. Actually William was from Duffus and the father of John of Elgin who fathered my John Hossack who settled in Ottawa, Illinois.

I have found a poem by "Uncle Fred," who I assume was Frederick Newton Hossack (one of John's sons).  I subsequently located a signed copy.

I have updated all, so far, who were helpful. It may come that I will obtain more information that will help define our line further.

Duffus, Moray-Shire, Inverness, Ross-Shire, Cromarty, and Elgin continue to pop up. A history of farming and seafaring as well as a transplant from the continent seems to overshadow family history. The Lens family came from Germany.

All the above locales are near Inverness near the Moray Firth, and the area on maps shown as the seat of the MacIntosh Clan. Hence a common ancestor may be only one or two generations beyond William the father of John and William.

Elgin Castle is the historic site of much Scottish History.  Robert the Bruce is associated with the area. One Hossack coat of arms has devices associated with Robert the Bruce.  A portion of the movie "Braveheart" may fictionalize some Hossack history.

I include this summary:

I thank all for kind assistance in providing me with additional data about the family tree. I particularly want to thank William Cary Hossack for the writings of Frederick Newton Hossack, which takes the family all the back way to Duffus, Scotland. This work solves several of the mysteries that I found, and it speaks well for itself.

I have been trying to find the Scott genealogy that he refers to. I have found the later version by G.T. Scott that has been published and is available in many libraries). I wrote to Carson Pirie Scott to see if they had any data on the founders. My grandmother and the other three Putney girls were raised in the Calkins household after the death of their mother, Florence Isabelle, "Belle" and twins during childbirth.

I have worked from my United States CD-ROM phone directory and the descent chart (The "Wheel") of John Hossack (II) the abolitionist and merchant from Ottawa, IL, that was dated 1919. I have accumulated the following responses:

A genealogy prepared by Frederick Newton Hossack in 1939 when he was the last surviving child of John of Ottawa, IL shows that the "wheel" was wrong in one critical aspect. John of Ottawa, IL was the son of Margaret Forsyth, but of John I (brother of William and son of William who was the husband of the Widow Colley, of Duffis, Scotland). I also have a poem by "Uncle Fred."

*The name "Newton" has popped up high in two related lines. Given the patterns in the family, my guess is that this memorializes the maiden name of "The Widow Colley," wife of the original William who was father to William and John (I).  ((My guess was wrong.  Recent communication indicates a place west of Duffus is called Newton.  Hence, Fred's middle name may be the Hossack home town)).

NOTE: Scottish records show Widow Colley with a first name of "Christan" with a christening date for her son John of February 20 1778.

I have made the following contacts with my inquiries:

William John Hossack (Son of William Andrew and grandson of William R., great grandson of John [probably John I]), an antique dealer. He had a childhood in Ottawa, IL, and he gave me a lead on Alfred Hossack, a portrait artist in California (circa 1876). I have not been able to identify Alfred's line. He provided me with a newspaper photo showing a canal warehouse with the sign "Hossack."

William Arthur Hossack (D-1958, B-1870, Michigan, son of Duncan) who had a son and architect, Orlo R. W. (D-193?) from Portland, Oregon. Adopted daughter (from wife's sister) recently died.

Widow (Grace H.) of Alexander Thani Hossack (B 1902 Ross-Shire, Scotland), who entered the U.S. in this century, but was apparently of a different Hossack family in Scotland. She recounts that there were two families Hossack in the Inverness area of Scotland. One whole family went to Canada en mass (likely ours).

George S. Hossack (Son of John Quimby, grandson of John Hossack [Sheriff of Richardson County, Nebraska] and great grandson of Alexander (B 1810 near Inverness, Scotland {Not the third brother of our John of Ottawa, IL}), a Realtor.

Bion Bradbury Howard (M. I. not Bradley as on the "wheel") (descended from Annie Hossack #1 of John II).

Bion D. Howard (Son of above). Offered updates when he surfed by the site.

Pam and Stuart "Ron" Hossack, son of Stuart Graham Hossack (of British Columbia), and grandson of John Ernest Hossack.

Douglas Aird Hossack (by wife, Patricia) is from Ottawa, Canada. Has a brother in Winnipeg and has been in touch with an Aunt Jessie.

William Cary Hossack (son of Walter Capron Hossack, grandson of George Barnett Hossack, 2nd child of John II), insurance man.

Richard Charles Hossack (son of Vincent Newton Hossack B-1901 D, grandson of Charles Newton Hossack B-1866 D-1962). They were originally from Ottawa IL. They have a family memory of Frederick Newton Hossack. Vincent is apparently the son of Alexander (the Engineer of Ottawa).

Leighton Ewing Yentzer (son of Leighton Ewing Yentzer, grandson of Margaret Hossack and Joseph E. Porter). He sent along a family tree that shows that Porters had married into the Hosack (1-"S") family of New York and Pennsylvania (originally from the same area of Scotland as our Hossacks).

Alex Hossack (B-1922, Glasgow) married Patricia. He is son of John Blair Hossack (B-1897, Glasgow). John Blair's siblings were Isabelle (Isa), Alexander, and James. All were Glaswegians as far back as known.

Charles D. Hossack of Columbia Falls, MT directed me to George in Great Falls who is more up on family history than he is.

Ken Hossack (B-1942) is son of Keith (B-1909 D-1979) and grandson of Hugh (B-1861, Wick, Scotland D-1935) and Helen Small (B-1867 D-1938) Hossack.

Maxine L. Horman, Daughter of Ivan Weede Hossack, Granddaughter of John and Margaret (Murchison) Hossack, and Great-granddaughter of Alexander and Catharine Hossack. Alexander was born October 27, 1812 in Ross-Shire Scotland. He is not the brother of John II.

Janet Little, granddaughter of Wilbert Hossack the son of Donald Hossack and grandson of Duncan Hossack (B-1809, D-1891) Duncan arrived in Canada circa 1830 from Cromarty, Ross Shire with his brother Alexander (B-1784, D-1891). They farmed in Oxford County, Ontario.

Jean Reimering, of the same line as Janet Little, above. She provided photos of her clan.

George Hossack, Great Falls Montana, a retired psychologist descended from a line from Glasgow. He sent voluminous data re: many lines of Hossacks in North America.

Barbara Carolyn Hulk, my father's cousin, who initially sent "The Wheel" to my father and has been helping me track down remote cousins.

John Alden Beaujean has updated me on the line from John Forsyth Hossack and Mary Babcock.

William Preston Scheel, my cousin.

Joseph Gladman Hossack, son of J.G. Hossack, son of J.G. Hossack, son of Angus Hossack. He sent much data including the records of births, deaths, christenings, marriages for all William Hossacks in Scotland from 1768.

Don Beaujean, descendant of the brother of the Don Beaujean who married Frances Hossack. He sent along records relating to his line. A Beaujean is said to be one of the "Indian" raiders for the Boston Tea Party.

James Stuart Welles, one of four sons of Donald P. Welles and descendant of John William Scott, one three sons of Harriet Emma Hossack and John Edwin Scott. He has sent a good copy of the Scott genealogy.

Betty Alden Cockerill Lewis, granddaughter of Frederick Newton Hossack, has confirmed details of The Wheel, and originated my quest by sending a copy to Barbara Hulk.

Barbara Stevenson, granddaughter of Frederick Newton Hossack, has maintained much of the Frederick Newton Hossack memorabilia, including his photo album. She has sent me remarkable photographs including a portrait of Mrs. John (I) Hossack, my GGG grandmother; A group with Ann Lens, Martha Lens, daughter and granddaughter; and the sine qua non: a copy of the 50th wedding anniversary picture with John and Martha Lens Hossack surrounded by all eleven of the grown-up children on the porch of "The Columns," their home on the south bluff of the Illinois River across from Ottawa (Insert in Memorial Book Page). She also sent photos of William and Louise Calkins, my foster Ggrandparents. Also sent was an early portrait of Ggrandparents, Milo and Belle Hossack Putney with their baby daughter, Alta and her older sister, Carrie.

Phyllis Routson, of Pennsylvania a descendant of Hosacks (one "s") sent along quite a bit of history on Hosacks of NY and PA. This includes data on David Hosack, a noted naturalist and physician and correspondent of Thomas Jefferson. She also sent a family tree prepared by Ivan Hosack that alludes to Bohemian roots.  David Hosack is said to be the physician on hand for the Burr-Hamilton duel.

Mrs. Earl McClure Hosack, of Ohio sent a book The Family of John J. Hosack and Martha Barnes Hosack.

Jan Hossack, ex-wife of Charles Errol Hossack, son of Donald William Hossack, son of Frank Woods Hossack, son of William Finley Hossack, son of Donald Finley Hossack, son of Robert Hossack and Catherine McIntosh (b-1797).  She sent a complete set of family charts for the line.

Julia McClure, a descendant of the successor family to the grain mill of William Hossack (see letter on Page).

John Archibald Hossack, a likely descendant of a John Hossack grandson, surfed to the site.

Marjorie Weir, great-great-granddaughter of John of Ottawa, responded by e-mail (See James A. Hossack Page). She sent additional photographs including a second version of the 50th wedding anniversary picture with John and Martha Lens Hossack surrounded by all eleven of the grown-up children and most of the spouses, on the porch of "The Columns" (See Clan Sept Page).  She also sent photos of William Calkins in his Civil War Uniform, and a great picture of Frederick Newton Hossack.

Ann Drake, great granddaughter of James sent details of her family.

Marian McLaughlin, a Winnipeg, Manitoba descendant of the Duncan line from Inverness, surfed to the site (2/15/02).

John Hossack of Bundalong,  Victoria, Australia surfed by.  He is descended from Scottish seafaring Hossacks (3/01/02).

Chris Hossack of England found the site by searching for Hossacks.  He is descended from Hossack industrialists in Manchester, England.  They headed south during the Highland clearances.

Diann Kesler, a great great grand-daughter-in-law through the Annie line.

Peter, a native of Elgin offered some corrections and information about Elgin and Duffus by e-mail.


To further summarize:

Of the eleven children of John (II) of Ottawa, IL, I have contact from:

1. Annie: Bion Bradbury Howard (now deceased). Line continues through son, Bion D. Howard who surfed by the site, December 2000. Diann Kesler, wife of Richard, a great great grandson of Annie.  Diann says they have John Hossack's desk and some other household items.

2. George Barnett: William Cary Hossack

3. Margaret: Leighton Ewing Yentzer

4. John Forsyth: John Alden Beaujean

5. Henry Lens: No likely contact. "Wheel" shows no descent from three children who died before 1919. HLH is said to have been a Civil War hero and notable. This line terminates.

6. Louise: "Wheel" shows no descent from Louise who died before 1919. No children. This line terminates. She and her husband were foster parents, after death of Belle, for Belle's four daughters.

7. William:  Line shows William Bartle Hossack, but no descent from him or his sisters.  A response to this website in October of 2000 confirms that this line is extinct (see below).

8. James Alexander: Contact once considered unlikely because children had daughters. Names were common (Wagner, Mates [Matis on church record], Pope, Hulbert, Bushnell). Contacted one Pope who sent an early American genealogy of that family. Pope Home in Ottawa may be the end of this line. I am still trying. June 4, 2001, I received an e-mail from Marjorie Weir responding to one I sent to the poster of a search for John and Martha Hossack and William Wirt Calkins on a genealogy message board (see James Page). New web response from Ann Drake, James' great granddaughter.

9. Harriet Emma: James Stuart Welles. She married Robert Scott.

10. Frederick Newton: Betty Alden Cockerill Lewis. Barbara Stevenson. Much of the FNH lore is circulating and very helpful. Also John Archibald, a recent surfer to the site.

11. Florence Isabelle, "Belle": My line. Contact with Barbara Hulk (granddaughter of "Belle" and Milo Putney as well as my own first cousins, Bill and Don.

One interesting item is all the lines that I have contacted are very hardy stock. The majority have lived well into their 80's and 90's. Many celebrated or came close to celebrating 50th wedding anniversaries.

If you learn anything further, please keep me informed. Likewise, if you would like more than these tidbits, please let me know. I hope you have found this information interesting.

Note to all cousins. I have been using the World Family Tree program from Broderbund to help with the compilations of family trees. The tree I have been working on is now up to over 10,000 individuals. This is due largely to intermarriage with English colonists with extensive trees of their own from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Widow Colley now has a first name: Christan. The date of christening of her son John (Father of John of Ottawa) is February 20, 1778 in Duffus, Moray, Scotland.

Cousin Barbara Stevenson (of the FNH line) says that the maiden name of Martha Lens’ mother Anne Gilley was Banks. She also says that the maiden name of Margaret Forsyth’s mother was Gregor.

Sincerely yours,

Jay W. Prešton

bullet The Contact of October, 2000:

Dear Cousins and Interested Persons:

The world wide web has been very useful in a number of ways as I have been unraveling the saga of the Hossack Family.

The latest and greatest boon from the web, however, was an e-mail I received from Ms. Julia McClure of Kansas. She has solved the mystery of John Hossack’s son William. He married Ella Francis Kenyon and had three children. He remarried to Augusta V. Strawn, a daughter of a notable family. Their three children, Annie Belle, William Bartle, and Alice Louisa were shown without offspring on the "Wheel." My attempts to locate this branch were fruitless. We know now that William’s three children never married and had offspring of their own. Hence, William’s line is extinct. Apparently William had set up a grain mill in Delphos, Kansas. His wife, Augusta, and children operated it until they all died and it passed into the McClure family.

Another recent contact was with the James Alexander line (06/04/2001).

bullet The Contact of November, 2000:

Dear Cousins and Interested Persons:

The world wide web has come through again.  I received an e-mail from John Archibald Hossack whose father is John Edward Hossack and whose Grandfather is Archibald Babcock Hossack.

A theory is, that this is the Archibald R. Hossack (B and R being easily confused in manuscript form) listed in one of the Ottawa City Directories.  The relationship as cousins is further supported by marriage into a Babcock Family by some of the John Hossack descendants.

The WWW continues to work.

--Jay Preston

bullet The Contact of June, 2001:

In response to a posting on a Hossack Family message board, I sent an e-mail, and I got back a return with a discovery of the single remaining missing link. See the James Alexander Hossack page.

bullet The Contact of August, 2001:

Received another e-mail response.  This was from Ann Drake, granddaughter of John William Hossack (son of James Alexander) and Juanita Knight.

bullet The Contact of November, 2001:

Received another e-mail response.  This was from a cousin (via Grant and Agnes Hossack) of Jean Grant, Agnes Hossack's granddaughter.  Agnes was a sister of John of Ottawa.  See the Letter by Fred.

bulletThe Contact of March, 2002:

John Hossack of Bundalong,  Victoria, Australia surfed by.  He is descended from Scottish seafaring Hossacks (3/01/02).

bulletA Web Visitor of August 2002:

Chris Hossack in England e-mails to let us know that he is descended from some Hossacks that moved south to participate in the industrial revolution in the Manchester area and founded a machine tool operation, Hossack & Co.

bulletA Web Visitor of November 2002:

Diann, the wife of Richard Capron Kesler surfed by.  Richard is the grandson of William Capron Richardson, a grandson of Annie and William Capron Richardson.

bulletE-mail of October 2004:

Ron Hossack wanted to follow up.  He corrected his dad's middle name. Stuart Graham Hossack.


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This website is produced by Jay W. Preston to honor John Hossack, the Abolitionist of Ottawa, Illinois.  The father dedicates this to his son, Yujin Jay Preston (1979-1999), daughter Elika, and daughter Yuli, great great great grandchildren of John Hossack. Permission to reprint this material is granted when this notice is included in full.  © 2000 - 2010 Jay W. Preston.  For information, comments or contributions of time, money, information, materials, or manpower to this site: E-mail Copyrights of works cited, quoted, or excerpted remain with the respective owners, if not in public domain.