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Laura Jane (Miner) Troxel


Laura Jane (Miner) Troxel was born in July 1848 in or near Fort Madison, Lee County, Iowa, the daughter of Nathaniel and Susan (Abbott) Miner.

On Aug. 29, 1871, when Laura was 23 years of age, she married 25-year-old Joseph Troxel Jr. (1846- ? ), also spelled "Troxell," a native-born Pennsylvanian. Their nuptials were celebrated in the home of Laura's parents, officiated by Rev. William Salter. A record of the wedding was made in the Des Moines County Marriage Book.

During the Civil War, before his move to the midwest, Joseph joined the Union Army. He was assigned to the 3rd Pennsylvania Heavy Artillery, Company H. More about his military service will be added here once learned.

The couple bore one known son, Millard Miner Troxel.

The United States Census of 1880 shows the family living in Burlington, Des Moines County, IA, with Joseph working as a furniture dealer. The census taker erroneously wrote Laura's name as "Louisa C." The Troxels relocated in about 1891 to Waterloo, where Joseph and their son together opened a large furniture store along East Fourth Street.


Bird's-eye view of Waterloo, home of the Troxels ca. 1908-1910


Joseph was awarded a federal pension in July 1890 as compensation for illness/injury sustained during the war. [Invalid App. #984.411 - Cert. #803.275]

In 1908, the Troxels resided on Washington Street in Waterloo, a bustling town along the Cedar River. When the federal census was taken in 1910, Joseph was supported by his own income, and his son Millard worked as manager of their furniture store. Roomers John R. Bolley and Charles Dowd  [spelling?] lived under their roof.

Then in 1911, the couple pulled up their Iowa stakes and migrated to Southern California. The federal census enumeration of 1920 shows the Troxels now living in Coronado, San Diego County, CA, with the 73-year-old Joseph still working as proprietor of a variety store.

They remained in Coronado through the 1920s and are listed together in the 1930 U.S. Census, he retired at age 83 and she age 81.

Sadly, Joseph passed away in about 1932 or 1933.

The widowed Laura petitioned the government to receive her late husband's pension, but it was not granted. [Widow App. #1.735.862 - XC 877.179]

Laura died at the age of 94 at home in Coronado on April 10, 1943. Word of her passing was sent to friends in Waterloo, IA. An obituary in the Waterloo Courier said "They went to Coronado 31 years ago and had since resided there" and that she was survived by her brother William Miner of Denmark, IA. Her remains were placed into rest in the Greenwood Mausoleum.

In September 2022, the founder of this website visited the National Archives in Washington, DC and requested to see the Troxel Civil War pension file. He was notified that the file is actually in the custody of the National Archives in St. Louis, and he sent a letter to St. Louis requesting a complete copy of the records. 


~ Son Millard Miner Troxel ~

Son Millard Miner Troxel (1872-1950) was born on Oct. 8, 1872 in Iowa.

He was of medium height and build, with grey eyes and dark brown hair. 

At the age of 26, on Valentine's Day 1889, he was united in wedlock with 19-year-old Cora E. Artz (1879-1907), daugher of E.L. Artz of Burlington, Des Moines County, IA. The ceremony was held in her hometown.

They did not reproduce. 

After two years in Burlington, the pair pulled up stakes and moved in 1901 to Waterloo, where Millard and his father opened a large furniture store on East Fourth Street, known as Troxel Furniture and Carpet Company. He regularly made trips to places such as Chicago and Grand Rapids to promote the business.

A local newspaper said that while in Waterloo, Cora "endeared herself to all whom she met. She was a member of the P.E.O. society and connected with other leading organizations of the city and her beautiful character and gentle disposition made her a favorite with all....[She] formed acquaintances and friends [and] was a familiar figure at the social affairs of the city." 

Among the organizations to which she belonged were the Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, Ladies Literary Society, Coffee and Repartee Needlework Club. She and her mother-in-law often jointly entertained friends.

Millard and Cora liked to fish and were known to have outings on the Black Hawk Creek. Cora also liked to play card games such as euchre.

In 1900, the pair lived under the roof of Millard's parents. That year, Millard was employed as a clerk, likely in his father's furniture store.

Sadly, Cora contracted typhoid fever in August 1906, "which was very severe and from which she never fully recovered," said the Waterloo Courier. "All her life her heart had been weak and this serious illness enfeebled her health still more." Seeking a healthier climate, her husband and mother moved in about March 1907 to the Pacific Northwest and settled in Spokane, WA, "hoping that the change might be beneficial." 

Now in Spokane, said the Courier, the 26-year-old Cora "seemed to be getting along nicely, they had just pleasantly settled in a new home of their own and those with her were hopdful that their loved one was to be restored to them." But on the fateful day of May 8, 1907, at 6 p.m., "she saw a runaway [horse] madly go past the house. Her husband was rather late in coming to supper and she had been worrying about him and seeing the runaway, she imagined he might be hurt and the excitement caused heart failure from which she died half an hour later, her mother and the physician who had been heastily summoned being at her side."  

Word was sent to Millard's father in Waterloo, with an obituary appearing in the Courier. Her remains were returned to Waterloo and taken to her in-laws' residence at 622 Washington Street. Rev. J.W. Bissell officiated the funeral. She was placed into eternal rest in the Elmwood Cemetery in Waterloo, Black Hawk County, IA. A large prominent marker stands at the grave with the words "Troxel."

Millard remained a widower for three years. In 1910, at the age of 38, he resided with his parents in Waterloo and was employed as a manager in the furniture store. He moved to Kewanee, IL sometime that year.

On Sept. 7, 1910, when he was 38 years of age, Millard married for a second time. His second bride was 34-year-old Marie Vimont (1878- ? ), a native of Lincoln, IL and the daugher of William H. and Susan (Nourse) Vimont.  Their quiet nuptials were conducted by Rev. C.T. Hagerman in the presence of 36 guests in the residence of Marie's married sister Mrs. Lowell Chamberlain on West Grand Avenue. A related story in the Des Moines Register said that Marie was an alumna of Northwestern University and Columbia University and had been chair of biology at Kewanee High School. 

They produced two known children -- Margaret Troxel and Joseph Vimont Troxel.

In 1912, when their daughter was born, they lived in Illinois. Then in 1912 they migrated to Southern California and established a new home in Coronado, San Diego County, where he operated his own hardware and general merchandise store. Millard and his father together bullt a small white house on 9th Avenue.

When required to register for the military draft in 1918, Millard disclosed that his address was 617 9th Avenue in Coronado. The store itself was at 1001 Orange Avene. 

The Troxels resided in 1920 on 9th Street in Coronado and remained in the city at least through 1935.

By 1940, the family relocated into the city of San Diego, with a home on Biona Street. Then in 1950, they lived in El Cajon, San Diego County.

Millard died in San Diego County on April 19, 1950, at the age of 68.

Marie passed away in San Diego County on March 2, 1962.

Daughter Margaret Troxel (1911-2013) was born on June 2, 1911 in Illinois. When she was age 28, in 1940, she was employed as a teacher in San Diego, CA and dwelled with her parents. In time she entered into marriage with Walter William Mentze (1904-2007), a native of Harper, KS. In a most fascinating twist, both wife and husband both reached their 100th birthdays. They became the parents of two -- Joan Mentze and Rev. Robert Mentze. They resided in San Diego. Walter also was an educator and taught music at Roosevelt Junior High School and Horace Mann Middle School. The angel of death spirited Walter away at the age of 103 on Nov. 19, 2007. Burial was in Greenwood Memorial Park, with an obituary appearing in the San Diego Union-Tribune.  Margaret outlived him by a little more than five years.  She surrendered to death on Jan. 24, 2013, at the age of 101.

  • Granddaughter Joan M. Mentze (1949- ? ) was born in about 1949 in San Diego. She was in the city of her birth in 2007. 
  • Grandson Rev. Dr. Robert W. Mentze resided in 2007 in Santee, CA. Retired in 2019, he was active with the Presbytery of San Diego.

Son Joseph Vimont Troxel (1915-2004) was born on Aug. 21, 1915 in a hospital in San Diego. He grew up "enjoying all that the Coronado community had to offer, including Tent City and fields of wildflowers," said Coronado Eagle & Journal. He was an alumnus of Coronado High School and worked in the family hardware business, establishing his own space in the back of the building where he sold and fixed radios. Joseph lived at home at age 24, in 1940, and earned a living as a salesman in the store. He also was a volunteer youth worker at Graham Memorial Presbyterian Church and as a camp counselor for the San Diego YMCA. He is known to have moved to San Diego in 1937 and became a member of the Rolando Methodist Church. Then during World War II, he joined the U.S. Army and was in military service for three years. When the federal census enumeration was made in 1950, Joseph was age 35, still a bachelor and continuing to work as a salesman in a retail hardware store in El Cajon, San Diego County. His father died in 1950, with Joseph taking over ownership of the hardware firm and running it for a baker's dozen years, located at the corner of Orange and 10th Streets. In 1963, at the age of 48, he was joined in wedlock with Chicago native and widow Elza Catherine (Venn) Sanders (Nov. 28, 1911-2011), widow of John E. "Jack" Sanders who had owned the Lemon Grove (CA) Hardware Store. She brought two stepchildren to the union, Sharon Konz and Jack Sanders. The couple remained together for more than four decades and put down roots in Rolando. Joseph especially loved to be out in nature in the desert and mountains and at one point purchased a cabin in Pine Valley for his mother. He also "spent many hours working in the large, naturalized garden he loved, especially his rose garden," said the Eagle & Journal. "Joe will always be remembered for his down-home friendliness and helpfulness." Joseph died after a short bout of pneumonia on Nov. 12, 2004. The Eagle & Journal published his obituary. A memorial was held in the family church, where a memorial fund was established in his name. Elza lived in widowhood for another seven years. Death swept her away on Nov. 2, 2011. Her obituary appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

  • Step-granddaughter Sharon Sanders wed (?) Konz. 
  • Step-grandson Jack R. Sanders ( ? - ? ) was joined in wedlock with Maria.


Copyright 2000, 2005, 2016, 2020, 2022 Mark A. Miner