Monday, June 28, 2010

Lake Milton Summers

From left to right,
my sister with her sweet swimsuit; my cousin David;
my grandmother, Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen, with her wonderful red sandals; and
me and my cousin, Belinda

Oh, the joy of spending a whole week - an endless string of glorious, carefree days from a child's view - at Lake Milton! What fun to wake up, run down the steps to the beach, and jump or wade into the water. Did I live in my swimsuit? Probably.

There were only several summers when we went to the lake instead of going on our usual traveling vacation. I was the youngest child and these summers at Lake Milton happened when I was 5 or 6 or 7. I wonder if my parents chose vacations at the lake after having spent previous vacations traveling with a (possibly, probably) whiney little girl in the back seat. A week at the beach was fine with me. I was a girl with energy to burn - and a way to burn it at the lake.

Lake Milton was about half an hour's drive from our home. The cabins had beds/cots, chairs, and a kitchen table, but the renters had to supply everything else. We packed the essential towels, sheets, pillows; pots, pans, dishes, silverware; and of course our clothes and swimsuits, and probably a few extras, into the car, though I don't remember supplies for s'mores.

Just before we got to the turn-off to the cabin, there was a tiny store. My mom always stopped and bought me a coloring book and an 8-pack box of Crayolas. I suppose she thought they would help occupy me if the water wasn't enough entertainment. Perhaps I colored, but I doubt it. Once at the lake and unpacked, my self-imposed mission was to get to the water, with its almost magnetic pull, as soon as possible.

I don't think my mom thought of these weeks at the lake as much of a vacation since she still had to cook, do the dishes, and keep us corralled. At least she didn't have the normal cleaning she would have had at home, so perhaps she did enjoy the time at the lake. I don't ever remember her or my father swimming while we were there, though. Not to say they didn't. I just don't remember it.

We often had family visit while we were there. My mother's youngest sister brought my grandparents, and my mother's 2nd youngest sister came with her husband and children, Belinda and David.

In this photo David is standing over Belinda and me. Don't you think he looks a little ominous, as if he's threatening to throw us into the water or take our inner tubes?

The weeks at Lake Milton were idyllic and I loved them, but I have very few specific memories. Playing in the water and the sand; jumping off the little wooden pier; trying to swim; dog-paddling with an innertube around my waist -- they were enough. Those vacations at Lake Milton were perfect.

I haven't been back to the site of the cabin since I was last there as a child. Perhaps the cabins aren't even there anymore... We drive over Lake Milton when we go back to the Ridge to visit, but it seems we never have enough time to stop and explore the Lake and look for the cabin of my memories.

I wonder if my parents realized how much I enjoyed those weeks at Lake Milton....

Do you have memories of summer vacations near pool, lake, or ocean?

This post is a participant in the Carnival of Genealogy Swimsuit Edition, 2010. Thanks to Jasia at Creative Gene for hosting this carnival and to footnotemaven for the terrific poster.

You can view some of my ancestors in their swimsuits and at water play at Father, Daughter, Swimming Hole.

© 2010 by Nancy Messier

Friday, June 25, 2010

Father, Daughter, Swimming Hole

In the swimsuit is my grandfather, W. C. Robert Meinzen. Beside him is his son-in-law and my father, Lee Doyle.

What a swimsuit! I usually think of younger men wearing this style but by all appearances, Grampa seems comfortable and confident. On the other hand, I'm not quite sure how to read my father's expression. Dubious, perhaps? I think this photo was taken in the early 1940's.

Grampa grew up in Steubenville, Ohio, which borders the Ohio River. We understand that Grampa swam in the river when he was a youth. My brief research into swimsuits suggests this one may have been a 1920's-1930's style. He probably didn't have the opportunity to swim often enough to warrant buying a new suit every year or two.

I don't know where this photo was taken but I suspect it was somewhere near Lake Milton in Mahoning County, Ohio. That seems to have been the usual destination for swimming about the time this photograph was taken.

The next photo is of my mom, Audrey (Meinzen) Doyle, taken when she was perhaps 12 or 14, between 1927 and 1929. I don't know the location of this photo either but it looks like a small, rock-rimmed pool. Safe. Mom never learned to swim and claimed she didn't enjoy being in the water. But to a child/youth on a hot summer day in the 1920's, what could have been better than a dip in a pool, large or small?

Which brings me to the last image. It's a very poor photograph, and I apologize, but I just couldn't resist posting it with these other two. I can almost feel the hot sun and cool water. The photographer captured the action at that split second when the water droplets sprayed the air, just before they fell onto the other bathers; captured the little "Dutch Girl" imp in the center when she was just about to bounce down and thrust her hands into the water to splash the others. I love this photo. It speaks to me of the exuberance, the joy, the delight of summer play in the swimming "hole."

In this photo the spray of water seems to be coming from opposite the photographer. When I enlarge it I think I can just see the outline of an adult behind the splashing water. Can you? Who was teasing these swimmers?

Do you have family photos of swimmers, imps, players-in-the-water? Do you have favorite memories of times spent with friends or family in swimming holes or pools?

Happy water play to you!

This is a Sepia Saturday post. If you like old photographs you might enjoy other Sepia Saturday posts, too.

Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Messier

Monday, June 21, 2010

One More Generation - John Thompson's Parents & Siblings

I wrote earlier about how I found John Thompson, my great-great-grandfather, in FamilySearch’s online Ohio Death Certificate Index, then continued my search to find his obituary to confirm him as my John Thompson.

In reviewing his death certificate, I made two helpful observations:

1) The names given for John’s parents were Jacob Thompson and Mary Richardson. Considering that John died at a county home, I thought it was unusual that his parents’ names were known.

2) The informant for the death certificate was William Thompson. Since I was fairly certain that John didn’t have a son named William, I wondered if he was John’s brother. John’s obituary noted a brother named William.

As family historians, we’re always searching for the next generation back. We also know that death certificates don’t always have accurate information but they can give clues. Based on the hope that what was recorded on the death certificate was close to correct, I began searching for Jacob and Mary (Richardson) Thompson.

Searching for Death Certificates

When I searched the Ohio Death Certificate Index, I searched, in particular, for Jacob Thompson and Mary Richardson as the parents. I knew that if I found individuals with those parents’ names, I could look for additional sources - obituaries, census records, wills - to help confirm or refute the relationship to my John Thompson.

The results of my first search yielded 2 individuals whose parents were named as Jacob Thompson and Mary Richardson: Rachel Anna Hoaglund and Elizabeth Orwick; another individual, William Henry Thompson, whose parents were named as Jacob Thompson and Mary Richerson; and James R. Thompson, on whose death certificate the line for mother’s name was blank but his father was named as Jacob Thompson.

Some information recorded on their death certificates:

Rachel Anna Hoaglund died 24 October 1940 in Zanesville, Muskingum County, Ohio. She was born 7 May 1856 in Cadiz, Harrison County, Ohio. Her parents were Jacob Thompson and Mary Richardson. Her burial location was Alexandria Cemetery near Steubenville, Ohio. The informant was Mrs. Thomas Dusenbery [?].

Elizabeth Orwick died 17 December 1921 in Island Creek Township, Jefferson County, Ohio. She was born 17 June 1849. Her parents were Jacob Thompson and Mary Richardson. The place of burial was Union Cemetery, Steubenville. The informant was Amos Orwick.

William Henry Thompson died 5 October 1842 in Delaud Creek, Jefferson County, Ohio. He was born 4 April 1861 in Jefferson County, Ohio. His parents were named as Jacob Thompson and Mary Richerson. The informant was Andrew Thompson.

James R. Thompson died 9 December 1838 in Cross Creek Township, Jefferson County, Ohio. He was born in 1866 in Wayne Township, Jefferson County, Ohio. His place of burial and the informant were both Jefferson County Home. The father’s name was noted as Jacob Thompson.

Searching for Obituaries

With names plus death dates and locations, I went to the Ohio Historical Society Archives Library to search for obituaries, hoping that parents and siblings would be named in some of them. Below are excerpts from the obituaries I found.

Rachael Hoagland. There were 2 obituaries, one from The Zanesville News, the other from The Zanesville Signal (with the surname spelled “Hoazland” in both), and one funeral notice in The Steubenville-Herald Star with the name spelled as on the death certificate. Mrs. Thomas Dusenberry, the informant of the death certificate, was named as one of her 5 daughters. Probably much of the information on the death certificate was close to accurate. William Thompson was named as a brother.

Elizabeth Orwick. Her obituary in The Steubenville Herald-Star named Amos Orwick as a son. He provided the information on the death certificate, so again I assumed it was probably accurate. This was a great obituary because it named her siblings as James R. Thompson, John Thompson, William Thompson, Mrs. Martha Smith, Mrs. Mary Fellows, and Rachel “Hoglan.” Until finding her obituary I knew of only the five siblings.

William Henry Thompson. There were three brief funeral notices, all in The Steubenville Herald-Star, each on a different day. One named his children, including Andrew Thompson, probably the informant of the death certificate.

James R. Thompson. I was unable to find an obituary. I don’t suppose the County Home paid to publish obituaries.

A Marriage Record

While I was at the historical society I also searched through the book of transcribed marriage records for Jefferson County, Ohio. Because their oldest known child (known to me, anyway), Elizabeth, was born in 1849, I guessed that Jacob and Mary were married between 1847 and 1849. I was pleased to find a record of their marriage for 27 July 1848, and surprised to find that they were married by Justice of the Peace Thomas Thompson. It leaves me wondering if the J.P. was a relative. I have yet to order a copy of their marriage record from Jefferson County.

Census Records

Putting the family together with parents, Jacob and Mary Thompson, and children as Elizabeth, James R., John, William, Martha, Mary, and Rachael, I began my search of the census records with the 1850 census.

The following is what I found in the census records.

1850 U.S. Census, Cross Creek Township, Jefferson County, Ohio, 29 August 1850, Dwelling 1387, Family Number 1449, Lines 19-21

Jacob Thompson, 25 years, male, laborer, born Maryland
Mary Thompson, 26 years, female, born Ohio
Elizabeth Thompson, 1 year, female

1860 U.S. Census, New Athens Township, Harrison County, Ohio, 11 June 1860, Written Page 67, Printed Page 33, Dwelling 475, Family Number 472, lines 23-29.

Jacob Thompson, 35 years, male, coal digger, $50.00 personal property, b. Ohio, illiterate
Mary Thompson, 37 years, female, b. Ohio
Elizabeth R. Thompson, 9 years, female, b. Ohio, in school
John S. [or T.] Thompson, 8 years, male, b. Ohio, in school
Martha I.[?] Thompson, 7 years, female, b. Ohio
Rachael A. Thompson, 4 years, female, b. Ohio
Mary E. Thompson, 1 year, female, b. Ohio

1870 U.S. Census, Cross Creek Township, New Alexandria Post Office, Jefferson County, Ohio, 2 June 1870, Printed Page 288, Dwelling No. 7, Family No. 7, Lines 30-37.

Thompson, Jacob, 50 years, male, white, laborer, $200 real estate, b. Maryland, cannot read, eligible to vote
--------, Mary, 47 years, female, white, b. Ohio
--------, Elizabeth R., 20 years, female, white, b. Ohio
--------, Rachel A., 13 years, female, white, b. Ohio
--------, Mary E., 11 years, female, white, b. Ohio
--------, William H., 9 years, male, white, b. Ohio
--------, James R., 4 years, male, white, b. Ohio
--------, Amos R., 1 year, male, white, b. Ohio

1880 U.S. Census, Cross Creek Township, New Alexandria, Jefferson County, Ohio, 11 June 1880, Written Page 18, Dwelling Number 36, Family Number 36, Lines 39-42.

Thompson, Mary, white, female, 58 yrs, widow, keeping house, b. Ohio, father b. blank, mother born [MD?]
--------, Mary E., white, female, 21 yrs, daughter, single, at home, illiterate, b. Ohio, parents b. Ohio
--------, William H., male, 19 yrs, son, single, farm laborer, illiterate, b. Ohio, parents b. Ohio
--------, James R., male, 13 yrs, son, farm laborer, disabled (maimed, crippled, bed-ridden, or otherwise disabled), cannot write, b. Ohio, parents b. Ohio

Jacob and Mary’s son, John Thompson and his wife, Lydia, were living next door their 4 children.

More Death Certificates

I have yet to search for the obituaries for these other probable siblings but below is the information from their certificates of death. I feel fairly confident that these two people are Jacob and Mary (Richardson) Thompson’s children but I won't yet say positively that they are. I need to do more research to confirm or refute the information.

Martha Smith died 23 June 1935 in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio. She was born 4 March 1853. Her father was named as Jacob Thompson. The informant was Mrs. Mellissa Ritchie.

Mary Ellen Fellows died 8 March 1925 in Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio. She was born 20 January 1858. Her father was named as Jacob Thompson and the informant was Mrs. Janus [Tumi?].

More Questions

While the names and the dates seem to fit together for these individuals, I need to do more research. And I have some unanswered questions.

I’d like to know what happened to little Amos, age 1 in 1870, who appears in no other census. Was Amos Orwick, informant on Elizabeth Orwick’s death certificate, named after Amos Thompson? When and how did little Amos die?

James R. was listed as disabled in 1880 census, then years later he died in the County Home. What was his disability? The way the census question reads, it seems to ask more about a physical disability than a mental disability. I don't suppose I'll ever learn more about James R.

There is a 3-year gap between Martha (b. 1853) and Rachael (b. 1856); a 3-year gap between Rachael and Mary E. (b. 1859); a 5-year gap between William H. (b. 1861) and James R. (b. 1866); and a 3-year gap between James R. and Amos R. (b. 1869). Were children born during those gaps who died between census years? How will I find them, especially the ones born before Ohio required the registration of births?

When did Jacob Thompson pass away? Certainly between 1870 and 1880, since he’s on the census in 1870 but not in 1880, and Mary is listed as a widow in 1880. He was only 50 in 1870. I’d like to find out when, where, and how he died. Will I find a will and/or estate file for him? In the 1870 census it seems that he owned property. Can I can find a deed?

When did Mary (Richardson) Thompson pass away? I haven't found her in the 1900 census yet. If she were alive at that time, she would have been about 75. Where and how did she die? Did she have a will? Did she live alone until her death or did she move in with one of her daughters during the last year or years of her life?

Questions seem to spring forth from every answer I find. Always the search continues....

Copyright © 2010 by Nancy Messier

Saturday, June 19, 2010


The other day I said to my daughter, Brenna, "I have something to tell you."

"What is it?" she asked.

I said, "Your birthday's on Saturday."

"I know that," she responded.

I asked, "You know I post photos on my blog for birthdays, right?"

"Oh. Yeh. Well, just don't post a current one."

So here you see an "older" photo of a younger Brenna. I adore these photos, taken when she was 5.

From the time she was small, we walked a mile and a quarter to school and a mile and a quarter back home, morning and evening, with her older sister. For a year or so I carried Brenna in a snugli. Then she advanced to a stroller, then a wagon, and finally she walked herself.

After she was about 2 she began taking Lizzie, a homemade cloth baby, with her. (All of the cloth dolls were named Lizzie, it's just that one was Lizzie Blue, another Wee Lizzie, etc.) This Lizzie is a little larger and sewn in more of a baby shape than the other Lizzies, with bent knees and arms and with a rounded body shape.

Brenna is so pleased with herself in these photos because she just figured out how to carry Lizzie without having to hold her in her hands, thereby allowing her to hold my hand or pick up treasures along the way and also ensuring that Lizzie wouldn't get lost.

In the second photo, she's holding her head up so we can see Lizzie's face.

Ah, Brenna, you are even more wonderful now than you were then.

I love you and I hope you have a happy birthday.

When the Photographer's in the Photograph

I thought about titling this post "Squinting for the Camera." Maybe some of you remember being told to stand facing the sun so the person with the camera could get a good photo? It can't be true that cameras needed that much sun because I have plenty of old photographs in which people aren't squinting and there appears to be a grey sky.

I thought these two photographs were interesting because the person taking the photo is so clearly visible -- or least her shadow is. I suspect that my mom took both photos. I wonder if she noticed herself in them. I'm fairly certain that both were taken in the late afternoon since all three subjects are facing in a westerly direction. I can tell that because I know the location where both photographs were taken.

In the photo on the left is my mom's younger sister ("Baby Girl" of a previous post). In the photo on the right are my own brother and sister. And all three of them are squinting. You can't help squinting when you face the sun - and the photo turns out an awful likenss (or unlikeness) of the subject.

My mother appears to be holding her camera at about waist level. I vaguely remember a camera in our home that was fairly flat and rectangular in shape, maybe 4" x 7" x about 2" thick. It had a little door on the front which, when opened, allowed a lens to fold down with some collapsible black fabric surrounding it. It seems like the photographs from that camera became 3" x 5" prints (whereas from another camera, maybe a Kodak Brownie, the prints were 3" x 3").

This is probably a graduation photo of "Baby Girl" since in the photo beside it in the album she's wearing a cap and gown.

Do you have photos of yourself or others which were taken with the subject facing the sun? Do you have photographs with shadows of the photographer in them?

Oh, I almost forgot: Go look at the other Sepia Saturday posts!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Isn't She A Doll?

When she was little they began calling her Dolly -- and is it any wonder? Doesn't she look like a doll?! She gave up the name Dolly many years ago but still answers to it when family members use it.

Dolly is celebrating her birthday today but I'm not going to tell you which one.

Happy Birthday, Dolly! I hope it's grand.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

That's A Lot of Strawberries

My father grew up on a farm with a strawberry patch.  I'm not sure it should be called a "patch" since the definition of patch is a "small plot or piece of land, especially one that produces or is used for growing specific vegetation."  Small is a relative term.

When I was a child and learned that my dad knew about growing strawberries I suggested that we grow them.  My dad's response was something like, "Nope.  You don't want to grow strawberries. They're a lot of work."  My father was not to be argued with though I know that if I'd grown up learning how to grow strawberries, the plants I have in my little strawberry pot (in the photo) would be doing much better than they are.

Below you can read what my father's half-sister, Tressa Doyle Wilson, wrote about growing strawberries on the farm.  This is a small section from a longer letter about farm life.  She refers to "Maw and Pap" who are Tressa (Froman) and William Doyle.  "Dad" is Gust Doyle.  The farm was located on Strawberry Hill, now called Fredonia Road, outside of Stoneboro, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

Imagining size from numbers is not one of my strengths and I wanted to understand a little more clearly how much land was planted with strawberries.  I found that one acre is 43,560 square feet, 4,842 square yards, or 9/10 the size of an American football field.  As Aunt Tressa said, "That's a lot of strawberries."

The strawberry patch had been Maw & Pap’s....  Strawberries were a cash crop in June.  I don’t know how large the patch was that Pap had.  After Maw & Pap moved to town Dad had a 2 acre patch to be picked every year.  That’s a lot of strawberries.

In the spring the 2 acre patch had to be prepared for the strawberries we’d be planting for next year’s crop.  Strawberries were a lot of work.  After the plants started to grow – they had to be hoed to keep the soil away from the heart of the plant, to destroy the weeds, and to keep the soil mellow.  We had to help the men with this chore.  Dad and Pap were excellent teachers.

When the blossoms came out on the newly planted plants, we children had to pick off every blossom so the plants could use their strength to send out runners with little plants on.  As the new plants grew and formed roots we had to set the plants in line with the mother plant.  This was to keep them from being uprooted by the cultivator.

By the time the new strawberry patch had been planted and taken care of with tender, loving care – the berries in the other patch were starting to ripen.  This meant more “back breaking” work.  The berries were picked and brought into the garage to be crated.  Each crate held 32 quarts.

After the berries were picked and crated they’d be taken by horse and wagon to the Rail Road Station downtown to be shipped to Franklin to be sold.  In later years we sold the berries to a man who took them to Pittsburgh by truck.

The berries had to be picked every other day.  We never got more than $4.00 a bushel for them.  [A bushel of strawberries equals 37 1/4 quarts.]  As the season progressed the price kept dropping – like 3 quarts for a quarter.  The pickers were paid 1¢ (yes - 1 cent) a quart for picking.  During the depression, in the early 1930's, entire families picked berries.  Many of them had to walk several miles but that didn’t keep them from being in the patch at 5 a.m.  Money was really scarce. 

What a lot of physical labor! I hope I would have been a good worker on the farm.

I have a very poor photograph (no doubt a 2nd or 3rd generation copy from a newspaper) of strawberry-picking time on the Doyle Farm.  There is a farm wagon stacked high with crates of strawberries.  Surrounding and sitting on the wagon are dozens of people.  I regret that the photograph is so bad that no one is recognizable.

Have you picked strawberries yet this year?  Do you eat them fresh, can them, or freeze them, or all three?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Research Stops with Rebecca Smith

My research stops with the knowledge of my father's maternal grandparents' names. From my father's aunt (his mother's sister), I learned that my great-great-grandparents' names were Dixon and Susan (Smith) Bartley and that they lived in Parker Township, Butler County, Pennsylvania.

From a cousin, David Bartley, I learned that Susan Smith was born on June 15, 1817, in Parker Township. I don't usually adopt an individual as an ancestor based on someone else's research and without at least one document of some kind to support the information, but after having looked at David's One Pennsylvania Bartley Family and corresponded with him, I fully trust his research. (That's not to say that I won't search for myself also. I'll want to see everything and obtain any documents for myself.)

David also tells me that Rebecca and Dixon were married on July 16, 1836, when Rebecca was barely 19 and Dixon about 30, based on his estimated birth year of 1806.

I found Rebecca and Dixon in the 1860 and 1870 census records, with 9 children between the two census reports. My great-grandmother, Elvira, was listed in both.

Well, my research on Rebecca hasn't stopped on purpose. It's just that before 1850, census reports contain only names of heads of households -- and with a last name like Smith, however would I guess - let alone know - which Smith is mine when I have no other information?! You see, I'm still fairly new to genealogy research. Cousin David's research is exclusive to the Bartley line, back to Ireland. So I'm left to my own resources for finding Rebecca (Smith) Bartley's parents and siblings.

If any of you who read this are more experienced and have search suggestions, I'd be thrilled to hear them.

Now to get back on topic.... This is a birthday post for Great-great-gramma Rebecca Smith Bartley. I hope you have a wonderful birthday, Gramma, and if I've got the wrong date and I find the correct one, we'll remember you another day. Happy Birthday!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mineral Ridge's Stores, late 1950s - early 1960s

It's sometimes strange where my mind wanders, and when. This morning I was trying to remember the stores in the tiny town where I grew up: Mineral Ridge, Ohio.

All of the stores were on Main Street, and there were very few. People said that at one time, in the late 1800's, the Ridge was larger than Youngstown, the next nearest large city. I haven't researched to know the truth of that. It was hard to imagine

The Ridge's stores I remember, from north to south:

Isaly's Dairy.  This was a little ice cream store where we could buy a cone for either 5¢ or 7¢ (and later 10¢). The nickle cone was pointed with one scoop. The more expensive cone had two scoops and a flat bottom. The shop had tables and chairs and sold sandwiches and I think it was a favorite after-school hang-out for the high schoolers. Isaly's also sold penny candy, a favorite for the younger crowd.

DeNino's Beauty Shop.  Isaly's was a duplex with the restaurant on one side and the beauty shop on the other. I don't remember the beauty shop being there for very long.

Mineral Ridge School (grades 1-12) was on the opposite side of the street just a little south of Isaly's.

Grampa's Barber Shop.  This was the
highlight of another post.

Beazel's Grocery Store was on the same side of the street as the school.  It was a small store with perhaps 4 or 5 aisles and a tiny parking lost that held perhaps 8 or 10 cars.  Beazel's had a great meat department.  Some winters my parents would buy a side of beef and have it cut, sliced, and ground.  We would wrap it in freezer paper at home and store it to eat for a year.  The butchers at the store wore hats, and when I was little they would sometimes give me an end of bologna.  Once when I was 3 or 4 I was at another store with my parents when they began speaking to a man I didn't know.  They told me who he was but I refused to believe them.  The man they said he was always wore a hat and was at the butcher counter at Beazel's.  My brother, Bob, worked at Beazel's when he was in high school.  They hired teens to bag and carry out groceries.  Later my brother graduated to the butcher department.

Tony's Shoe Store.  Tony sold a smallish selection of shoes.  Perhaps my father bought his work boots there.  My mom believed that children should have hard-soled shoes but occasional summers we would go to Tony's and she would buy either Keds or sandals for me.  Tony also repaired shoes.  They never felt quite the same afterward until we wore the comfort back into them.

Mounier's Drug Store.  Mounier's wouldn't have stayed in business with our family if they had sold only prescription drugs.  We were rarely sick.  Fortunately for them they sold all the other things that one could buy in a drug store of the time period.  They just had a small stock and fewer varieties.  Occasionally my dad would go out for an evening walk and bring home a bag filled with candy bars - from the drug store.  What a treat for members of a near-candyless home.

Mullee's Hardware Store.  This store was about the size of Beazel's except perhaps a little deeper.  I remember there was a sales counter in the center of the store and the items for sale were around the edges.  I occasionally went along with my dad when he needed to purchase something to make a repair.

The Post Office.  Mail was delivered both morning and evening, but there was no home delivery.  Everyone went to the post office to collect their mail from mailboxes with combination locks and little windows on the front.  We often went twice a day.  If my dad was out and about in the car, he'd stop; otherwise, when I was old enough, I walked to collect the mail.

And that was the extent of our shopping options in the Ridge.  I guess we could buy almost everything we needed except clothes.  For clothes we went to Niles or Youngstown, and sometimes Warren, where there were more and larger stores.

If anyone from the Ridge reads this post and remembers other stores I haven't mentioned or has particular memories of the stores above, please leave a comment or contact me using the contact tab on the left side of this blog.

If you lived in a small town, do you have memories of the stores where you and your family shopped? What was the population of your small town?


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.  

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Ah, the leisure of long-ago summers when life was slower and families spent time together relaxing, fishing, swimming, and playing.

This is a camping photo. It seems that some weekends my mom's family drove to the lake, parked, and put up an awning. I don't know if they spent the night in this type of "tent" or not.

While I can't definitely identify the people in this photo, I believe that the girl in the front is either my mother or her sister.

This photo was taken in 1928 or later - at least that's my guess after looking at photos of old cars and comparing them to the one in the foreground (and the one in the background, too). It appears that the one in the background is a Chevrolet. If anyone reading this post knows cars and can identify make, model, and year, please respond in the comments. I'd love to know.

My favorite part of the above photo is the shadow - though technically, it's a reflection. See it? I didn't notice it at first but as I was examining the photo it popped out at me. Isn't it wonderful? How did the photographer do that, and where could he have been standing? What time of day was it -- morning or evening? And whose reflection is it?

This is another "camping" photo. I can identify only two people: the woman at the back, second from the left, is my grandfather's sister, Lula. The woman on the right in front is my mother, Audrey. Based on how old my mom looks I think this photo was taken later than the one above.

Inside the tent I can see cots so I think they probaby camped overnight in this tent.

The girls look like they are focused on their ice cream. I think it's interesting that 3 of them seem to be wearing identical bracelets.

These photos came from my grandmother's photo album. Many of the photos in that album had been removed from some other album and put into this newer one. None of the individuals were identified. Many of the photos were postcards that had been cut down, and some of the regular photographs had their borders trimmed off (unevenly). Fortunately, some older living family members remembered some of the people in the album so we can tell that it's organized by families: my grandmother's children and their children; her parents and siblings; her husband's siblings; etc.

I hope you're enjoying your summer (if you're in the northern hemisphere). Thanks for coming to look at my blog.

This is a Sepia Saturday post. Go look at the other
Sepia Saturday posts for this week.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Young Barber

My barber grandfather, William Carl Robert "Bob" Meinzen, of an earlier post, is in the above left photo and is the man on the left in the above right photo. He was born in 1892 and by 1911 he was working as a barber.

I believe both these photos were taken outside 383 Sixth Avenue, Steubenville, Ohio. The 1913 Steubenville city directory lists that address as his place of employment.

Notice the cords on either side of the doorway. My guess is they're for awnings. Also, in the photo on the right, a decorative screen door has been screwed into place.

In the first photo, if you can enlarge it enough to see details, notice...
...that Grampa's sleeves are rolled under instead of up on the outside.
...his boots with the buttons on the sides.
...that he's holding scissors and a comb.

In the second photo, I don't know who the other people are but I suspect that the man holding the child is Grampa's brother-in-law, John Hendricks, husband of Hannah Meinzen. Hannah died in September, 1910, leaving her husband with 3 small girls: Edna, 2 1/2; Zerelda, 15 months; and newborn Anna. If it is John, the child is probably Edna. The photo is undated.

In the group photo, notice...
...the eye contact with the lens of the camera.
...the fob on Grampa's right pocket. It looks like a little dog.
...that his boots lace up instead of buttoning on the side.
...the brick sidewalk.

What interesting details do you notice in these photos that I missed?

This post is being shared at the
Sepia Saturday blog, where you can find links to others' old photos and stories.

Happy Birthday to My Mother

Today my mother, Audrey Meinzen Doyle, would have turned 95 if she were still with us. She passed away in 1997 at the age of 82, 10 years after my father died.

This is such a fuzzy, hazy, faded photo, taken when color photographs were new and cut down from a group shot. And yet, despite the off-color and the lack of clarity, I like it quite a lot. There are plenty of photos of Mom when she was an infant, a child, a teen, a young adult; during her courting days alone and with my father; during the early years of their marriage; and even a few taken when she was older. But there are very, very few photos of her in middle age.

Mom liked bouquets of fresh flowers, the color blue, poetry, and clean sheets. I heard her comment more than once that she loved fresh, clean, crisp sheets on her bed and would have had them every night if she could. No doubt she would have liked them hung out to dry in the fresh air and sunshine, too - by someone else - if that luxury had been available.

I'd send you bouquets today, Mom, if you were still here. I hope you're having a grand celebration with Dad, Gramma and Grampa, and the rest of the family. Happy Birthday! I love you.
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