Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dixon Bartley and Family - census transcriptions 1840-1880

Dixon and Rebecca Smith Bartley are my paternal great-great-grandparents. Others have researched this family but I like to analyze the documents myself and verify the research others have done.

1840 U. S. Census, Pennsylvania, Butler County, Centre Township, page 116, image 235 (ancestry.com)

Dixon Bartley, 1 male under 40 [Dixon], 1 female under 30 [Rebecca], one female under 5 [daughter Eliza]

1850 U.S. Census, Pennsylvania, Butler County, Parker Township, printed page 365, written page 725, dwelling #89, family #898, lines 21-26, 16 Sept 1850.

Dixon Bartley, 40 years, male, farmer, $1000 real estate owned, born Pa
Rebecca Bartley, 30 years, female, born Pa, unable to read and write
Eliza H. [or A.] Bartley, 11 years, female, born Pa., in school within the year
Thomas Bartley, 7 years, male, born Pa., in school within the year
Keziah I. [?] Bartley, 2 years, female, born Pa.
George W. Bartley, 6/12 year, male, born Pa.

1860 U. S. Census, Pennsylvania, Butler County, Parker Township, M[illegible] Post Office, dwelling 316, family 320, lines 22-31, June 17, 1860. Series M653, Roll 1087, Page 715.

Bartley Dixon, 51, male, farmer, $4000 real estate, $1500 personal estate, born Penna,
-------- Rebecca, 40, female, born Penna
-------- Eliza, 21, female, born Penna
-------- Thomas, 17, male, farmer, born Penna, attended school
-------- Jane, 13, female, born Penna, attended school
-------- George, 11, male, born Penna, attended school
-------- Gillmore, 9, male, born Penna, attended school
-------- Elvira, 7, male [?], born Penna, attended school
-------- Lavina, 5, female, born Penna
-------- Joseph, 2, male, born Penna

1870 U.S. Census, Pennsylvania, Butler County, Parker Township, Post Office Bruin, written page 6B, lines 13-19, dwelling #41, house #41, July 22, 1870. Series M593, Roll 1316, Page 381

Bartley Dixon, 62, male, white, farmer, $10,000 real estate, $700 personal estate, born Pa, male citizen 21 years or older
-------- Rebecca, 50, female, white, keeping house, born Pa
-------- Jane K., 21, female, white, at home, born Pa
-------- Edward G., 19, male, white, born Pa
-------- Elvira, 15, female, white, born Pa, at school
-------- Levinah, 14, female, white, born Pa, at school
-------- Arra Bell, 3, female, white, born Pa

1880 U. S. Census, Pennsylvania, Butler, Parker Twp., Enumeration District 51, printed page 384, written page 3, dwelling #20, family #22, lines 13-18, 2 June 1880. Series T9, Roll 1109, Page 384.

Barttey Dixson, white, male, 71 years, married, farmer, born Penna, father born Ireland
-------- Rebeca, white, female, 59 years, wife, married, keeping house, born Penna, parents born Penna
-------- Jane, white, female, 34 years, daughter, single, born Penna, parents born Penna
-------- Arrabell, white, female, 13 years, daughter, single, attended school, born Penna, parents born Penna
-------- Edward, white, male, 8 years, grandchild, single, attended school, born Penna, parents born Penna
Conan Shrman, white, male, 45 years, orphan, single, farm hand, attended school, born Penna

Based on the above information, I put the family together like this:

Dixon was born 1808-1810.
Rebecca was born between June 2 and June 17, 1820. [This is assumes information was given on the date the census was taken, which may not be accurate.]

Their children are:
Eliza, born 1839; moved away, married, or died between 1860 and 1870
Thomas, born 1843; moved away, married or died between 1860 and 1870
Keziah Jane/Jane Keziah, born 1847; living at home in 1880
George W., born 1849; moved away, married, or died between 1860 and 1870
Gillmore/Edward G., born 1851; moved away, married, or died between 1870 and 1880
Elvira, born 1853-1855; married between 1870 and 1880 [Actual birthdate is 12 May 1854.]
Lavina/Levinah, born 1855-1856; married after July 1870
Joseph, born 1858; died between 1860 and 1870
Arra Bell/Arrabell, born 1867; married after 1880

In another post I will combine the information from census records, Dixon's will, and the Golden Wedding article to learn more about Dixon and Rebecca and their family.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Will of Dixon Bartley - a transcription

Dixon Bartley is my paternal great-great-grandfather. He was born in Pennsylvania in the early 1800s and died in Parker Township, Butler County, Pennyslvania on April 22, 1900. Below is a transcription of his will (in a format that varies slightly from the copies in the ledger book). The photocopies (at 11" x 17") were too large for my scanner; these are photographs which will enlarge and be readable if you click on them.

Will of Dickson Bartley
Feb. 10th 1900

I, Dickson Bartley of Township of Parker, in the County of Butler & State of Penn'a being of good understanding & of sound mind & memory do make & publish this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made.

1st. I will and bequeath my soul to God and my body to the grave.

2nd. A certain amount necessary for my burying expenses & also tombstone to my own & my deceased wife graves.

3rd. Eliza Ann Shakely got one thousand dollars in money which is paid.

4th. Thomas Bartley got 53 acres of land known as the James Dickson farm.

5th. Alvira Gerner got forty acres which she now resides on of the old household.

5. Edward Boyed 43 acres which is known as his mother['s] share off the East end of the old homestead (Jane Bartley) subject to the reserves in Fred Gerner & Ace Steel deeds, for roads & limestone. Lavina Steel got 40 acres off the old homestead. I also will & bequeath to Sula Bartley six hundred dollars, eighty seven dollars has been paid by vendue note. I will and bequeath to Gilmore Bartley heirs, Ross Bartley, Clara Bartley & Edward Bartley 100 acres joing [sic] Henry Daubenspeck, Thomas B. Smith on the South, the widow Walley on the West Elexander Thompson on the north Henry Daubenspeck & other on the East, if oil is found on it in paying quantities I reserve 2 hundred dollars of it to be paid to Rebecca Steel within three years which is to be put on interest secured by a mortgage allowing her mother to draw the interest of the same until she is 10 years old after that the interest is to be added to the principle I will and bequeath to my daughter Bell Steel & heirs 50 acres in Fairview & Park Township known as part of Thom Graig farm. I also authorize my executor to sell 41 acres lying West of Edward Boyed share, the money to be aplyed [sic] to paying Sula Bartley & funeral expenses, the balance if any left & residue of the old homestead is to go to Dixson Steel, no division is to be made of the above property during my lifetime. The above legacys are not to be paid till the land mentioned is sold, my executor is to have one year if necessary to sell the land.

I also appoint Ross Bartley my executor who is to collect all debts & pay all debts, make deeds & transact any business as though I was living.

Signed, sealed & delivered by the above named testator for his last Will and Testament in the presence of us who have hereunto subscribed our names at his request as witnesses in the presence of testator & in the presence of each other.
Dickson Bartly

M. Bartley
J. M. Bartley

State of Pennsylvania}
County of Butler} ss
Personally came before me, the Register of Wills &c in and for said county C. R. Bartley a resident of Butler Boro in said county who being duly sworn according to law deposeth and saith that to the best of his knowledge and belief Dickson Bartley late of the Township of Parker in said County departed this life on the 22 day of April A.D. 1900 about 2 oclock A. M. of said day.

Sworn and subscribed before me this 27 day of April A. D. 1900 W. J. Adams Register

C. R. Bartley

State of Pennsylvania}
County of Butler } ss
Registers Office, April 27 A.D. 1900
Then personally appeared before me the Subscriber, Register for the probate of wills and granting letters of Administration in and for said County of Butler M. Bartly and J. M. Bartly the subscribing witnesses to the above and foregoing last will and testament of Dickson Bartley deceased who being duly sworn according to law did say that they were present and did see and hear Dickson Bartley deceased the testator therein named sign, seal, publish, pronounce and declare the above and foregoing instrument of writing as and for his last Will and Testament and that at the doing thereof he was of sound disposing mind memory and understanding to the best of their knowledge and belief and they at his request and in his presence and the presence of each other did sign their names thereto as witnesses.

Sworn and subscribed before me in the day and year aforesaid }
W. J. Adams, Registrar}
J. M. Bartley
M. Bartley

Now April 27 A. D. 1900, the testimony of the above named witnesses being sufficient I do hereby admit the foregoing will to probate and order the same to be recorded as such.

Given under my hand and seal the above date.
W. J. Adams, Register

Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, County of Butler, ss.
Registers Office, Butler, April 27" A. D. 1900
You C. R. Bartley do swear that as Executor of Dickson Bartley deceased you will well and truly administer the goods and chattels rights and credits of the decedent according to law and diligently and faithfully regard and well and truly comply with the provisions of the law relating to collateral inheritance.
C. R. Bartley

Sworn and subscribed before me the day and year aforesaid and letters testamentary granted unto C. R. Bartley.
W. J. Adams, Register

Recorded April 27th 1900

It's interesting that there are two spelling variations of the surname in the same document: Bartley and Bartly. "Dickson" remains the same throughout this will, but in other places it's spelled "Dixon."

Another interesting observation is that my great-grandmother's name is spelled "Alvira" in this will but spelled "Elvira" in every other document I've seen. The fact that they spell it with an "A" gives me a clue to how they usually pronounced it.

Eliza Ann Shakely, Thomas Bartley, Alvira (usually Elvira) Gerner, Jane Bartley, Gilmore (or Edward Gilmore) Bartley, and Lavina Steel are all Dixon's children. Sula (short for Ursula) is a daughter-in-law, widow of George Washington Bartley. Fred Gerner and Ace Steel are sons-in-law.

Gilmore Bartley's heirs, Ross, Clara, and Edward, are probably Gilmore's children though I need to do further research. I also need to research to determine who Dixson Steel, Ross Bartley, M. Bartley, J. M. Bartley, and C. R. Bartley are.


Copyright © 2010-2014 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Photos from Postcards

Don't let the size of these photographs on your monitor fool you. They may look large but the actual photos are no more than 1" across. They were cut from postcards! (Oh, the horror of it.) And someone actually put tape across the round photo to hold it in place.

I found the photos in my grandmother's photo album, the album that has photographs that were moved from an older album with black pages. Gramma, or someone else, organized the newer album by families and these were on two pages that held Meinzen photographs. (My grandmother was a Bickerstaff until she married my grampa, W. C. Robert Meinzen.)

The photo on the left is my grandfather, William Carl Robert "Bob" Meinzen. The photograph on the right -- I don't know who she is. Do you think there's a family resemblance? I wonder if she is my grandfather's sister (or maybe I should say one of my grandfather's sisters). Because of her age and style of clothes in the photograph she could possibly be my grandfather's oldest sister, Hannah, who died in 1910 at the age of 35. My only resource to help identify these old photographs is my aunt, and I hope she can help.

You can find links to more old photographs and the stories behind them at Sepia Saturday, where, hopefully, you won't find any more that have been cut from old photograph postcards.

Celebrating Jamie

Jamie is my nephew-in-law and he's celebrating his birthday today. I think he's with his wife's family, including her sister and brother and their families. If that's so, there will be plenty of people around to eat birthday cake with him.

Happy Birthday, Jamie. I hope it's a great one!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Sometimes A Family Has More than One

So much of family history seems to focus on the men in families. I suppose it's primarily because America and the lands of my ancestors were and are patronymic societies. The women sometimes -- well, often -- seem to get short shrift, which is sad because we all know that there wouldn't be genealogy or family history without the women: they are fully 50% (or more) of the means and methods by which we have families.

There is one woman - plus four more - in my family who gave birth to 13 or more children. They come from four different family lines and two are mother and daughter.

These women are amazing to me for many reasons. With children born about two years apart, imagine sleep-deprived nights and the continuous stream of dozens of diapers to be washed. These ladies all lived at a time when clothes were washed by hand and hung to dry on clothes lines. Clothing would have been made by hand. Cooking would probably have been done in a fireplace or on a wood burning stove. How did they keep the children safe? As far as I can tell, they all lived fairly rural lives, which means there were care-giving responsibilities in addition to tending and teaching children (such as livestock and feeding farmhands). And for this reason more than any other one I hold these ladies in high esteem: a woman who had 13 children would have spent 117 months (or 9 3/4 years) pregnant, and as many months nursing babies (assuming that she nursed a baby 9 months)! I am in absolute awe of these five women who are my foremothers.

Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen was the mother of 15 children.
Born August 24, 1852
Died June 26, 1920
She was 17 years old when her first child was born in September, 1870.
She was 46 years old when her last child was born in May 1898.
There are 29 years between the oldest and youngest child.
Elizabeth is my mother's paternal grandmother.

Susan Holmes Bickerstaff was the mother of 13 (possibly 14) children.
Born 1812-1814
Died January, 1894
She was 17-19 years old when her first child was born in September, 1831.
She was 43-45 years old when her last child was born in 1857-58.
There are 26 years between the oldest and youngest child.
Susan is my mother's maternal great-great-grandmother.

Elizabeth Jane Laws Doyle was the mother of 14 children.
Born October 28, 1845
Died August 30, 1910
She was 17 years old when her first child was born in March, 1863.
She was 43 years old when her last child was born in January, 1889.
There are 26 years between the oldest and youngest child.
Elizabeth is my father's paternal great-grandmother.

Elvira Bartley Gerner was the mother of 16 children.
Born May 12, 1854
Died February 3, 1943
She was 18 years old when her first child was born in May, 1873.
She was 43 years old when her last child was born in April, 1898.
There are 25 years between the oldest and youngest child.
Elvira is my father's maternal grandmother.

Rebecca Smith Bartley was the mother of 13 children.
Born ~1820
Died December 29, 1899
She was ~19 years old when her first child was born ~1839.
She was ~47 years old when her last child was born ~1867.
There are 28 years between oldest and youngest child.
Rebecca is my father's maternal great-grandmother and mother of Elvira Bartley Gerner.

Because of the time in which our ancestors lived, I'm sure there's at least one mother among every family's ancestors who had a dozen or more children.

This post was written to participate in the 100th Edition of Carnival of Genealogy, hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene. "There's One in Every Family" is the topic for the carnival. Jasia suggested we write about special individuals and said, "Interpret as you like." If you'd like to participate in this carnival and you're reading this before December 1, 2010, go to the link at the beginning of this paragraph where you can read full details.

Thank you to Jasia for creating and maintaining this carnival. Thank you to footnoteMaven for the poster.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Greetings

This 1911 postcard sends Thanksgiving Greetings
and wishes you every joy.
I do the same and hope you are having a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Celebrating Tim and Grace

This is Tim, my nephew-in-law. He's one of the most enthusiastic people I know. He's always ready for a new adventure and if there's not one coming his way, he finds or makes an adventure. He's an energetic husband and dad to 3 adorable little boys. Happy Birthday, Tim! I hope it's grand.

This is Grace. She's such fun. Not long before this photo was taken she donated her hair - well, 10 inches of it - to Locks of Love. It wasn't that she went for a haircut and the hairdresser suggested she donate it. Not this girl! She purposefully grew her hair long so she could donate it. What a great example of selflessness. Happy Birthday, Grace! I hope you do something wonderfully fun.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Newspapers Can Confuse and Lead Astray

The announcements below were both published in the same newspaper, on the same day, on the same page. The newspaper was the Butler Citizen. The date was Wednesday, December 20, 1911, and they were on page 5. These articles both came from the Butler Area Public Library Obituary Index.

I wonder how one announcement could have been so wrong. In fact, Gus Doyle and Beulah Gerner were married on December 19, 1911, so the license announcement is correct. George Doyle is Gus' uncle, though Gus may also have had a cousin by that name.

"Gus Doyle of Stoneboro and Beulah Gerner of Saxonburg."

"Miss Beulah Gerner of Saxonburg and George Doyle of Stoneboro, Pa., were married Tuesday afternoon at the Methodist Episcopal church by Dr. E. J. Knox."

This is another reminder about the unreliability of newspapers as sources for accuracy. I like to use obituaries, news articles, marriage and birth announcements, etc., as guides or suggestions. Obituaries, in particular, are sources for lots of information if you choose to research further and find documents to support what you find in newspapers. Often obituaries will give the surnames of married daughters, occasionally including the husband's first names. Obituaries also often give the name of a city where surviving children lived, which can be another lead. If there are several deaths in the family over a period of time and the names and locations of living children are given, you can see where they lived from one family death to the next. Doing that can help you know where to look for a census record or in a city directory or for other government documents.

I'll take my hints almost anywhere I can get them, but the follow-up research is so very important. Use anything you find in a newspaper with caution and search other sources of more accurate information to support or refute what you find in newspapers.

What are your experiences with newspapers? Have they helped you in your searches? Have they ever led you astray or given you just the hint you needed to put you on the right path?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Golden Anniversary - a transcription

My exciting piece of mail which arrived a few days ago is an article about the golden wedding anniversary of my great-great-grandparents, Dixon and Rebecca (Smith) Bartley.  It almost helps me jump right into the party, it's written so descriptively.

The photo at the right shows the Bartley's home in Bruin, Butler County, Pennsylvania, in about 1909, 21 years after the anniversary party.

The article mentions people traveling from North Washington to Bruin.  On today's roads, that trip is about 6 miles.  Traveling by horse and buggy, at about 12-15 miles an hour, the trip would have taken perhaps half an hour.

Below is the transcription of the article which was published in the Butler County Record, page 3, on July 20, 1888.  I've also included a scan of the article itself.  The copy that arrived is more grey and white than black and white but if you want to read from it, click and enlarge it and it will be dark enough to read easily.

Mr. and Mrs. Dixon Bartley Celebrate
Their 50th Wedding Anniversary.

Tuesday, July 10, was a beautiful summer day.  By 10 o’clock, a. m., people began traveling the road between North Washington and Bruin.  The tide kept up until afternoon, by which time 250 people had dined sumptuously under an arched canopy alongside the farm house of Mr. and Mrs. Dixon Bartley, the many friends having met to help them celebrate their golden wedding.  After the feast (for feast it was in the fullest sense) the Bruin cornet band discoursed some excellent music.

J. W. Orr was called to act as chairman of the meeting and H. S. Daubenspeck to act as secretary.  Mr. Orr spoke of the kindly feeling which prompted friends to meet together, showing the regard they had for those they came to greet.

Rev. Fidler, of North Washington, congratulated Mr. and Mrs. Bartley on their anniversary; spoke of the time when such a meeting was considered a waste of time, and hoped that the time spent on this occasion would make all happier and better.  Rev. Hazlett, of North Washington, spoke of this as a model meeting and a great family home gathering, showing how we love each other better than we think.

H. S. Daubenspeck referred to Mr. and Mrs. Bartley as being good citizens and kind neighbors.  He also warned the young folks to be careful in choosing partners for life, and not allow themselves to be deceived by outward appearances, which were not as lasting as true love.

In making the presentation of the many gifts to the aged couple Rev. Decker wished them a bright future and spoke of the pleasure to be derived from such an occasion.  He urged upon all present to endeavor to make life brighter for those with whom they were associated.

After music by the band the young men played a game of base ball. Many remained for supper and a party was held at night.  Everything passed off to the satisfaction of all, and the affair was pronounced one of the most enjoyable ever held in this vicinity.

Dixon Bartley is now nearly 80 years old.  He was born in Cumberland county, Pa.  He is a descendant of Robert Bartley, who located in the lower part of Butler county in 1811, and who came from county Tyrone, Ireland, in 1803.  Mrs. Dixon Bartley is 68 years old.  She was the daughter of Thomas Smith, Sr., whose ancestors came to this county from Little York, Pa., at an early day along with the Murrins.

Mr. Bartley came to Parker township March 2, 1836, and worked at his trade of wagon-making for five years in Martinsburg.  He married Rebecca Smith July 10, 1838.  They have lived together happily for 50 years, having seven children living and six dead.  They have also forty-two grandchildren.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Celebrating Hester

Hester, my niece, is celebrating her birthday today.

I'm sharing her 3rd grade school photograph, given to me by her mom, with her name and grade carefully and beautifully written on the back by her mother. In another few years, her oldest son will be the same age she was in this photograph.

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

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mom in the Kitchen

This snapshot of my mother was probably taken around Christmas, 1965, but the scene would have been very similar on Thanksgiving or nearly any other meal time: Mom in the kitchen finishing up dinner preparations.

She seems to have been caught off-guard just a little, looking toward someone behind the photographer, probably my 6' 6" brother-in-law since she's looking upward.

The room that is the background in this photo is etched in my memory. This is the old kitchen, before they put in new and more cupboards.

I think you can barely see the upper cupboards because they are white against white walls. They had those old handles that had a little lever built in which when pressed released the catch so the cupboards would open.

Just behind my mother, on the counter, sat our heavy, black, rotary dial telephone. There was a stool that sat between the stove and the counter where the phone sat. I spent hours on that stool talking on the phone when I was a teenager. No privacy in our home - no chance of getting into trouble!

You can see the tea kettle on the stove but the coffee pot was used even more often - every morning and night. It was one of those 2-part, hourglass-shaped ones that separated in the middle and used suction to make the coffee. I'm sure it's on the stove - we just can't see it.

The bread basket she's holding is one she used for years and years. I don't know if it was a gift or one she found and particularly liked.

To the right of this photo is the refrigerator, and to the right of that is the closet where my mom stored her large cans of flour and sugar to refill the canisters she kept on the counter; where the coats hung; where the picnic basket was stored; etc.

In the window, barely discernable, is a Christmas wreath with a candle in the center. My mom used that as far back as my memory goes, and until she moved out of the house a year or so before she passed away. Every Christmas it hung in that window. Thinking about it now, it's strange that neither my siblings nor I kept it.

And then there are the smells associated with this photo. I'll smell them again this Thanksgiving and Christmas. Lovely fragrances of roasting turkey, stuffing, hot rolls, pumpkin pie. Sumptuous smells that say, "Holiday!"

I took some unusual photographs when I was young (give a kid a camera and see what you get!) and yet I'm grateful to have them because they make the images in my head more vivid.

Go to Sepia Saturday to see what others are cooking up this Saturday.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Mail Came!

Oh, that blessed Butler Area Public Library and it's Obituary Index! They are prompt and accurate and wonderful (because they provide this service and because they keep adding more and more information).

Today I received the articles I requested last week. The most important one was "Golden Wedding," an article about my great-great grandparents, Dixon and Rebecca (Smith) Bartley. It's a long article with very clear print and, while it doesn't have a lot of genealogical information, it has enough to help my search for my great-great-great grandparents. I'll transpose and post it soon. (Foster Airedale puppy arrived tonight who needs attention.)

Hooray, hooray! I love getting news articles that help me imagine the time in which my ancestors lived and tell about activities of their lives.

A Debt of Gratitude and William O. Henderson

I owe a debt of gratitude to several bloggers and a Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness volunteer for helping me in my quest to find William O. Henderson.

About a month ago I wrote a post about the challenges of finding William O. Henderson, son of my grandfather's sister and her husband, William R. and Bertha (Meinzen) Henderson. I wrote the post hoping that some other family member might find it and contact me with further information. No family member has, but several bloggers made comments to the post which were immensely helpful, with the result that I've found William O. I want them to know that I am grateful for their help. Thank you!

The first comment was from Kerry Scott of Clue Wagon who recommended that I order an SS-5. I decided to wait to request it until I was able to determine with a little more accuracy whether there were other William Hendersons and to see if I could find an obituary or some other less expensive source for the man from Brooklyn.

The next suggestion came from Karen of Ancestor Soup who suggested I contact a volunteer in Brooklyn, NY, at Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness (RAOGK) (2nd from the bottom, she said) where I would find a volunteer who would copy information on public records.

Apple from Apple's Tree recommended a newspaper website, Fulton History, with old New York newspapers. She was kind enough to have already done a preliminary search and knew that there were over 300 references to William Henderson in Brooklyn, New York, though she didn't know if any were mine. She provided the specific search string with exact directions for getting to the search results.

Finally, Natasha of Today's Gift wondered if William may have been Bill in the 1930 census. That was something I hadn't considered and will see if I can find him. He would have been about 21. Thank you, blogging friends. I appreciate your help.

I tried Apple's newspaper search first. She told me it would be slow to load. It completely stopped my computer. I thought I'd go back to that source later. I hesitated to try RAOGK because I'd asked a volunteer to do something before, she agreed, and then nothing happened. So I put William O. on hold. Then late last week I noticed that someone had come to my blog as the result of a search for William Oliver Henderson. That was just the motivation I needed to continue my search.

On Monday I searched the Fulton History site and found that the William O. Hendersons who were mentioned predated the birth of my William O. That site was not helpful for this particular search but because my husband's family comes from upper New York and my daughter is working on his family history, that site could potentially be very, very helpful. Thank you again, Apple.

Next I went to the RAOGK site and emailed Jessica Scheiber, the Brooklyn, NY, volunteer. I explained what I was hoping to find and asked if the kind of searches she did could help me. She responded a few hours later after having done a preliminary google search. The options were to order a death certificate which would require that I prove a relationship; or she could search the index cards for Surrogate's Records. If she found a card for William O., she said she could pull his file and see what she could find. I asked her to please look in the Surrogate's Records whenever she had time. On Tuesday evening Jess sent information that confirmed that the man who died in Brooklyn in 1990 was my William O. Henderson. She provided so much information -- the date of the will; the names of the heirs; his address when the will was written; his date and place of birth; the date, time, and location of his death; his wife's name and their marriage date and location; his profession; the cemetery where he was buried; and the name and address of funeral home that took care of the funeral.

I am so grateful to Kerry, Karen, Apple, Natasha, and Jessica Scheiber for their help. Thank you, ladies. I hope I can return the favor or pay it forward to someone else searching for a pesky ancestor. And one last note. It seems that Jess has had some less than pleasant experiences with people requesting her help. If you choose to ask a volunteer from RAOGK to do something for you, please be kind and patient with them. We never know another person's time commitments and restraints.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"The Chateaugay Thaw"

I'm posting this poem to participate in Bill West's The Second Great American Local Poem and Song Genealogy Challenge. Not finding a poem associated with my own ancestors, I'm sharing a poem which my husband's parents clipped from a newspaper for us many years ago. They did not note the name or date of the newspaper.

My mother-in-law was born in Chateaugay, New York, not far from the border between the U.S. and Canada, and both sides of my husband's family have lived in the Chateaugay, Malone, Gouverneur area for several generations. Some readers who have lived or traveled in the North Country may identify with the snowy scene. Some of you may have no idea that the winters up north can be monstrous cold and snowy and sometime deadly. Still, Northerners can see the humor in the snow and cold winters, as attested to by this poem.

In an online search I found "The Chateaugay Thaw" attributed to both Anonymous and to Rev. Alanzo Teall Worden but could find no documentation to support either. I almost think it's come under the heading of folklore/legend because I found several variations.
The Chateaugay Thaw
by Rev. Alanzo Teall Worden or by Anonymous

A story is told of a traveler bold,
In the days of the Hartford coach,
In a big blanket rolled, for the weather was cold,
Here he was just as snug as a roach.
But the snow gathers deep as onward they creep,
And the snow rising higher he saw.
And the driver he cried to the man at his side,
“We shall soon get a Chateaugay thaw.”

Then the man in the coach, lying snug as a roach,
Gently smiled like an infant at sleep,
But the horses’ slow gait never told him his fate
In the snowdrifts so wide and as deep.
At last came a shout and they tumbled him out,
And a sleigh was his fate, then he saw
But a man with a song, pointing to the sky,
Saying, “here comes a Chateaugay thaw.”

“Let it come” said our man, “Just as quick as it can,
For I never was fond of the snow;
Let it melt from the hills, let it run down the rills,
Then back to our coach we may go.”
But the wind raised the song and the snows sailed along,
And the cold it was piercing and raw,
And the man in the rug from his covering snug,
Wished and prayed for the Chateaugay thaw.

When the sleigh with it’s load reached the old Malone road,
Where the drifts reared themselves mountain high,
Malone on the west buried deep out of sight,
Left a white desert plain ‘neath the sky.
Not a fence nor a tree could the traveler see,
As he covered close down in the straw,
And the driver he sighed as the prospects he eyed,
“By George, here’s a Chateaugay thaw.”

While he spoke, lo! the snow hides from the track,
And is drifting high over the sled.
Then the traveler bold, though decrepit and old,
Hurled the driver down in the straw,
Crying out, “Driver, speak, e’er my vengeance I wreak,
What d’ya mean by a Chateaugay thaw?”

Then the old gossips say, he arose in the sleigh,
And extended his hand o’er the scene,
And he laughed and then shrieked,
And the sleigh groaned and creaked,
And he said, “I will tell you just what I mean.
"When the north wind doth blow and there’s ten feet of snow,
And the ice devils nibble and gnaw,
When the snow fills your eyes and the drifts quickly rise,
This is known as a Chateaugay thaw.”

Then the traveler arose and he smote him with blows,
And they sank in a deadly embrace.
And none knew the spot till the June sun was hot,
And a hunter by chance found the place.
Here they made them a grave,
Where the storms loudly rave,
And the epitaph lately I saw.
“Two men lie beneath and they came by their death
Frozen stiff in a Chateaugay thaw.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gust Doyle - Much Too Young

Had he lived past the age of 44 I would have known my grandfather, Gust Doyle. Though we would have lived in two states, two hours' drive apart, I'm certain we would have visited each other. But that's not the way it happened.

Gust was born in November, 1888, in Stoneboro, Mercer County, Pennsylvania, the second child and only son of William and Tressa (Froman) Doyle. They lived on a farm on Strawberry Hill, as it was known at that time. (It's Fredonia Road, now.)

The 1900 U.S. census tells me that William was a coal miner and owned a farm without a mortgage. Tressa was known as "Rose," and Gust was "August." Surprisingly, Gust, at age 11, had attended school 7 months of the year and was not employed elsewhere as some 11-year-olds of the time period were.

By 1910, Gust had become "Gus" and was a 21-year-old farm hand earning a wage. In December, 1911, he became a husband to Beulah Gerner. He became a father at the end of February, 1913. And in early April, 1913, he became a widower with an infant son, my father, to care for. Gust had lost not only Beulah, but also Lee's twin, Leila. That must have been a dark and difficult time in his life but he carried on with the help and support of his family. In April, 1916, he married again. He and his second wife began another family, with children born in 1919, 1921, 1924, 1926, and 1930. Gust worked in the coal mine and continued to operate the dairy farm.

Tressa, one of Gust's daughters by his second marriage, wrote that Gust "was an extremely good father. He enjoyed his family. When, one by one, we were old enough to help with the farm work we would help Dad, Pap [William] and your Dad [Lee]. I consider this as having been valuable quality time. We helped in the strawberry patch, hoed and weeded corn, helped harvest hay and oats. We were busy. It was good for us."

Gust became ill sometime in 1932 and it was determined that he had colon cancer. Tressa wrote, "On May 17th of 1933 he had colon surgery at Mercer Cottage Hospital, Mercer, Pa. He was the first person we knew of to have a colostomy. By the time he had surgery the cancer had spread to some of his vital organs. He was a bed patient the remainder of his life." He passed away on October 3, 1933, "in the living room of the farmhouse.... We had made it into a bedroom for him. His funeral was held in that room." He was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Sandy Lake Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

His passing affected so many people, not the least of which was my father. Tressa commented, "How I wish we could have had him longer. He was only 44 when he died – much [too] young."

My grandfather was born on this day 122 years ago. I'm looking forward to meeting him and thanking him for the good and wholesome life he lived while here on earth. Happy Birthday, Grampa Gust.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Waiting for the Mail....

I know it's really too early to begin watching the mailbox so eagerly, considering that I just sent the request early last week! Still, I can't help myself. It could be really big news when it comes.

I wrote a post awhile ago about my gg-grandmother, Rebecca Smith, whose parents' names I do not know. I know her husband's name and the names of many of her children. (Her daughter, Elvira, married Fred Gerner, the parents of my grandmother, Beulah.) But I don't know Rebecca's parents' names. And how does one search with a last name like Smith! When I learned that the 1850 Butler County Agricultural Census was online, I perused it just to see how many Smiths there were but it seemed senseless - useless - really without more information.

About two weeks ago I went to the Butler Area Public Library Obituary Index again, searching for Gerners (and found a reference for a marriage licence announcement for Beulah and her husband Gust Doyle!) and decided to look for Bartleys, too.

To my total surprise, there was Dixon Bartley, M/M (Mr. and Mrs.). The note on the page read, "Golden Wedding; long article with genealogy and list of gifts and guests."

Can you see why I'm so eagerly watching the mail?! Maybe tomorrow it will come! And I can only hope and pray that the genealogy will include her family as well as his!

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Entered Into Rest" - An Obituary Transcription for Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen

Below is a loving and heart-felt obituary for my great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen, who died of cancer of the face in 1920. I have to say, though, I wonder if the writer was in training and a supervisor didn't review and edit the obituary. I'm out of breath after reading the second sentence.

Mrs. Henry C. Meinzen
Mrs. Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen, beloved wife of Henry Meinzen, entered into rest after prolonged illness at her home, 1829 Market street, on Saturday, June 26, 1920, at 8:30 p.m., aged 68 years. She was a daughter of Abel Armitage and was born in England on Aug. 24, 1852 and came to this country in her youth and was married to Henry C. Meinzen, fifty years ago, and has been a resident of this city for some time, and beloved by family and friends for her many noble traits of character[.] She leaves to mourn the loss of a devoted wife and mother her husband and four daughters, Mrs. Charles Sticker, Mrs. Russell Rhome, Mrs. George Harris, Mrs.. Benj. Hashman, of this city, and two sons, Robert Meinzen, of Warren, Ohio, and Henry Meinzen, of Youngstown, and nineeteen grandchildren.
The Steubenville Herald-Star, Monday, June 28, 1920, p. 10

Rex's Birthday

My cousin Rex is celebrating his birthday today. He was a few years older than me and we usually saw him and his family when my family and my mom's sisters' families met at Gramma's house for either a Sunday dinner or some other meal.

Rex was a tease! My cousin, Belinda, and I were continually running away from him which I'm sure encouraged him to continue teasing us.

Through the years he and I haven't seen each other very often but when I last spent time with him, Rex was a very pleasant man. Isn't it amazing how wild boys become calm men?!

Though he probably won't see this post, I wanted to remember him today. I hope you have a great birthday, Rex!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Little Light Bearers - a post for Church Record Sunday

This is an enrollment card for my aunt, Geraldine Mae Meinzen, for the Little Light Bearers class in her Sunday School at the Mineral Ridge Methodist Church in Mineral Ridge, Ohio.

The poem on the front reads:
"If every little child could see
Our Saviour's shining face,
I think that each one eagerly
Would run to His embrace.
Though black the hand, red, brown or white
All hearts are just the same:
Each one is precious in His sight,
Each one He calls by name."
The back of the card has spaces for signatures for receipt of money. Enrollment cost 25¢ per year and Geraldine was enrolled her 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years, 1920 through 1922 or 1923. The money was received from Mrs. Robert Meinzen, her mother, and given to Mrs. Sam Baldwin. I don't know why she wasn't enrolled after that. Perhaps they changed the cards or the program after her 4th year.

There is also a space for the baby's handprint on the back.

The information about the program reads, "The Little Light Bearers are auxiliary to the Women's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Payment should be made to the Local Treasurer. If no auxiliary exists, send directly to the Branch or Conference Treasurer."

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Clarence and Daniel

Aren't these two boys cute? The look like they could have been mischief-makers extraordinaire but chances are, during that day and age, childhood mischief was kept in bounds as much as possible through parental input.

I like their short pants and socks and Daniel's little one-piece outfit. Be sure to click on the photograph to get a good look at Daniel's expression. Do you think he looks like he's on best behavior?!

Also interesting to me is what appears to be a dirt road behind them. It's hard to imagine the little village in which I grew up with dirt roads though, of course, every road has a humble beginning.

I found this photo in my grandmother's album. Years ago my mom identified these boys but there was no note about whose boys they were. Through research I've been able to determine that their parents are William Henry and Lucy (VanKirk) Bickerstaff. William Henry is my grandmother's older brother. That makes these boys my mother's cousins and my first cousins once removed. (I only know that specific relationship because my genealogy program has a relationship calculator. Before looking it up I would have said we were 2nd cousins.)

Clarence was born May 12, 1920, in Austintown, Mahoning County, Ohio. Daniel was born November 1, 1922, probably in Austintown or Mineral Ridge, Ohio. Daniel was named after his uncle, his father's younger brother.

My grandmother's album has many photographs that appear to be of the same vintage, probably taken by the same camera (considering the color and size of the photographs), and in about the same location. My aunt identified the location of another photograph of Bickerstaff grandchildren as the home of their grandparents, Edward Jesse and Mary, in Mineral Ridge, Ohio.

This particular photograph has a different background but knowing where E.J.'s and Mary's house was located on Morris Street, I wondered if the church in the background was the Mineral Ridge Methodist Church, which was built in 1930. When I compared it with the church I knew as a child (above left), the steeples were different. Then I looked at the postcard of the old church (above right) and they seem to be the same. The old church was torn down on July 30, 1929 and the new one finished about a year later.

All of the clues tell me that this photograph was taken at the home of E. J. and Mary Bickerstaff on Morris Street, Mineral Ridge, Ohio, sometime between spring 1926 and July 30, 1929. To be sure, Clarence does not look old enough to be 9 so I'll go with a date of about 1927.

As an interesting side note, Clarence's and Daniel's father, William Henry, was the carpenter for the new Mineral Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church, shown in the drawing above.

Using photographs to help puzzle out family history is very satisfying.

Other folks will be sharing their vintage photographs and also possibly puzzling out family history at Sepia Saturday. Enjoy!

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Family of Edward Jesse and Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff

Edward Jesse Bickerstaff
b. 27 Apr 1871, Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio
d. 23 Dec 1945, Youngstown, Mahoning, Ohio
m. 15 Mar 1891, Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio

Mary Thompson
b. 26 Oct 1873, New Alexandria, Jefferson, Ohio
d. 6 Sep 1940, Mineral Ridge, Trumbull, Ohio

William Henry Bickerstaff
b. 26 January 1892, Steubenville Township, Jefferson, Ohio
d. 14 August 1958, Cleveland, Cuyahoga, Ohio
m. 9 September 1909, Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio
Spouse: Lucy M. VanKirk

Emma Virginia Bickerstaff
b. 6 Jul 1893, Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio
d.7 Feb 1973, Warren, Trumbull, Ohio
m. 8 Sep 1914, Mineral Ridge, Trumbull, Ohio
Spouse: William Carl Robert Meinzen

John Ellis Bickerstaff
b. 27 Apr 1897, Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio
d. 25 Jul 1970, Warren, Trumbull, Ohio
m. 24 Dec 1915, Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio
Spouse: Alice May Bickerstaff [Yes, Bickerstaff. They were cousins.]

Daniel Francis Bickerstaff
b. 9 Apr 1897, Steubenville Township, Jefferson, Ohio
d. 3 Sep 1974, Warren, Trumbull, Ohio
m. divorced, but no information about spouse's name

Mary Ellen Bickerstaff
b. 31 Mar 1899, Steubenville Township, Jefferson, Ohio
d. 5 Mar 1999, Mineral Ridge, Trumbull, Ohio
m. 29 Jun 1917, Mineral Ridge, Ohio
Spouse: Edward Morris

Edward Jesse Bickerstaff
b. 20 Nov 1904, Steubenville Township, Jefferson, Ohio
d. 26 May 1962, Youngstown, Mahoning, Ohio
m. 1922
Spouse: Agnes M. Pressell

Andrew Earl Bickerstaff
b. 20 Oct 1906, Steubenville Township, Jefferson, Ohio
d. 6 Mar 1971, Warren, Trumbull, Ohio
m. before 1945
Spouse: Edna Vandergrift
m. 30 Oct 1948
Spouse: Iva M. Traichel

Flora Victoria Bickerstaff
b. 5 Aug 1909, Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio
d. 30 Agu 1910, Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio

Cora Elizabeth Bickerstaff
b. 28 Feb 1911, Steubenville, Jefferson, Ohio
d. 26 Feb 1999, Youngstown, Mahoning, Ohio

Edward Jesse and Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff and their daughter, Flora, are buried in Oakland Cemetery, Mingo Junction, Jefferson County, Ohio. John Ellis is buried in Niles Union Cemetery, Niles, Trumbull, Ohio. All other children are buried in Kerr Cemetery, Evansville, Trumbull, Ohio.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Twice a Veteran

Daniel Bickerstaff was my great-uncle, one of my grandmother Meinzen's younger brothers.

Every source of information I have for him tells me that he was born April 9, 1897. Every source, that is, except his World War I Draft Registration card.

This card was completed during the first registration on June 5, 1917, a registration limited to those who were born between June 6, 1886 and June 5, 1896. Daniel was too young by 10 months to register. While the image itself is not very clear, if you enlarge it, you can easily see that for entry number "3 Date of Birth" he wrote "April 9, 1895." He suddenly became two years older and was able to enlist (or be drafted).

I don't know his motive for claiming to be two years older than he was. Did he believe in the cause of the War? Was he eager for adventure? I always knew Uncle Dan as an unmarried man and only recently learned that he'd been married and was divorced. Perhaps things were difficult in his marriage, though one would think that going to war as an alternative to solving marriage problems would be turning in bad for worse. I rather assume that as a 20-year-old, he looked at war as a grand adventure and as way to show his patriotism.

I don't know details of his military service. I don't know if he enlisted or was drafted, nor when or where his military service began.

How heart-wrenching it must have been for his parents, Edward Jesse and Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff, to see their too-young son go off to war. These days young men who are 18 can easily enlist. In those days, at the beginning of World War I, it didn't happen - except in situations like my uncle's where young men altered their birth records.

Dan served in World War II also. He would have been in his mid-40s by that time. I remember Uncle Dan as a man who was always physically active and physically fit. At 45, he was probably still in excellent physical condition. As I've been thinking about his military service and his age change for WWI, I wonder what happened when he enlisted during WWII. Did the military have a record of his previous service along with his birthdate? When he completed the WWII draft registration did he change his age again and this time make himself younger? I haven't yet seen his World War II Draft Registration card. It will probably answer some questions for me.

Below are three photos I found in my grandmother's album. They are of Uncle Dan with his father, Edward Jesse, and his sister, Cora. They look like they were taken on a military base. There is no information on the backs of the photos to identify date or location.

Daniel's and Cora's mother, Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff passed away on September 6, 1940. I suspect that these photos were taken sometime after that since she's not in them. Cora was in her late 20's and still living at home when her mother passed away. I think E. J. looks very stoic but I think Cora looks on the verge of tears. It would be a frightening thing to send a brother, son, or husband off to war. Gratefully, Dan survived the war was welcomed home.

To all those soldiers, past and present, who have served the cause of freedom in our United States armed forces and sacrificed in more ways than I can imagine, I say thank you. So many times in life those two little words just don't seem enough for some grand offering or service performed. It is particularly true with regards to those who serve our country.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Family of Andrew and Elizabeth (Laws) Doyle

November 11 is the anniversary of my great-great-grandparents, Andrew and Elizabeth Jane (Laws) Doyle. They were married in Northumberland, England, in 1861. To remember them I'm posting their family group.

Happy Anniversary, Gramma and Grampa.

Andrew Doyle
b. 13 Apr 1836, Wallsend, , England
d. 23 Jul 1908, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania
m. 11 Nov 1861, Woodburn, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England

Elizabeth Jane Laws
b. 28 Oct 1845, Yousin Square, , England
d. 30 Aug 1910, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania

William Doyle
b. 3 Mar 1863, Bedlinton [Bedlington, Northumberland?], England
d. 28 Apr 1941, Findley Township, Mercer, Pennsylvania
m. 17 Mar 1885, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania
spouse: Tressa Rose Froman

Elizabeth Jane Doyle
b. 30 Dec 1864, Bedlinton [Bedlington, Northumberland?], England
d. , , Pennsylvania

Robert Doyle
b. 24 Sep 1866, Bedlinton [Bedlington, Northumberland?], England
d. 29 Sep 1944, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania

Martha Doyle
b. 26 Apr 1868, Cambois, Northumberland, England

Margaret Doyle
b. 13 Jul 1871, Arnot, Tioga, Pennsylvania
d. 19 Apr 1952, Baden, Beaver, Pennsylvania
m. 28 May 1890, Franklin, Venango, Pennsylvania
spouse: David Wood

Andrew Doyle, Jr.
b. 8 Jan 1873, Pardoe, Mercer, Pennsylvania
d. 25 Oct 1948, Grove City, Mercer, Pennsylvania
m. ~1897
spouse: Margaret E.

Mary Ann Doyle
b. 8 Apr 1875, Croton, [Mercer?], Pennsylvania
d. 29 Aug 1957, Franklin, Venango, Pennsylvania
m. 19 Oct 1893, Ripley, Chautauqua, New York
spouse: Hurd Hendrickson Campbell

George Doyle
b. 9 Apr 1877, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania
d. 6 Sep 1953, Franklin, Venango, Pennsylvania
m. ~1898
spouse: Emma L.

Isabell Doyle
b. 13 Mar 1879, Pardoe, Mercer, Pennsylvania
d. 23 Sep 1944, , Allegheny, New York

Ida Doyle
b. 23 Mar 1881, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania
d. 28 Mar 1977, Crawford, Indiana, Pennsylvania
spouse: Clarence Dolittle

John Doyle
b. 30 Nov 1882, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania
d. 23 Jun 1941, Lancaster, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
m. ~1907
spouse: Emma

Emma Doyle
b. 2 Dec 1884, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania
d. 1885, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania

Fred Doyle
b. 17 Jun 1887, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania
d. 23 Apr 1888, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania

Frederick Doyle
b. 28 Jan 1889, Stoneboro, Mercer, Pennsylvania
d. 28 Jul 1889, [Stoneoboro, Mercer?], Pennsylvania

Of the children above, William, Andrew, Mary Ann (Campbell), George, Isabell, Ida (Dolittle), and Emma are known to be buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Sandy Lake Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania. Children who may be buried there are Elizabeth Jane, Martha, John, Fred, and Frederick.

Most of the above information comes from the records of Tressa Doyle Wilson. Other information comes from death certificates and U.S. census records.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Clock Builder Turns Back Time...

This article was published about my father, Lee Doyle, during the time that he was building grandmother and granddaughter clocks. My mother clipped the article but did not write the name of the newspaper or date of publication. However, my brother came to the rescue with newspaper and date. It was published in the weekly Austintown Leader on Thursday, December 5, 1968. I'm not going to transcribe the article because you'll be able to read it easily if you click on the images. The image will open in this window; clicking on it again will enlarge it. To return to this post, click the back arrow on your browser.

I can't remember how Dad became interested in building clocks. It happened after he'd been a jeweler and clock and watch repairman for many years, but working with wood to build cases for grandmother clocks was a new interest. Perhaps he started with a kit and realized it was something he could do from a pattern. I remember he bought cherry lumber at an auction. And then he started accumulating the tools, a radial arm saw, chisels, clamps, a lathe, perhaps a planer, etc. The garage became his workshop.

The first clock he built was a grandmother clock, a shorter version of a grandfather clock. He also built granddaughter clocks, a petite version of a grandmother clock. He decided it wasn't worth the effort to build the granddaughter clocks and built more grandmother clocks.

He tried his hand at cherry, maple, and walnut lumber (and the article says fruitwood, too, though I didn't remember that). He didn't like maple because it was so hard. He built a bracket clock but set it aside unfinished. When my husband and I asked if he would build us a small clock, he though we wanted a granddaughter clock. We told him we wanted something to put on a table or mantle. He finished the maple bracket clock and gave it to us. It shows small evidences of the maple's unwillingness to conform to his desires but we treasure it just the same.

Dad used a radial arm saw to cut the lumber. He was able to rip boards and make cross cuts by adjusting the saw. As careful as Dad was, he once - no, twice - had accidents. Once he cut off the tip of his finger. I think he said he'd reached back for some reason. The second time we think he blacked out. He had had a heart attack and had high blood pressure. The damage was worse and he cut off two fingers just past the first knuckle on his right hand. They took a while to heal but I think he continued to build clocks for several more years. When Mom was selling and passing on some of his things after he died, she refused for any of us children to have the saw. It had already done too much damage and she felt it was too dangerous.

When cutting the wood Dad was very careful to make sure the saw was squared so that the pieces aligned properly. He was meticulous in all aspects of his clock building. After cutting the pieces, he assembled them to become the clock case. Again, he was careful about how the joints aligned, arranging the clamps just so, and took great care to prevent or remove glue from the outside of the case.

He once paid me to sand several clocks. He showed me exactly what he wanted me to do, watched me at work for a while, then left me to it. I thought it was helpful to know the process and would have liked to learn more, but that as the extent of my help. Assistants can only do so much.

He took over the care of staining and finishing himself. He knew that the beauty of the clock was at least partially determined by the beauty of the case. While I was taking a woodworking course I asked him about how he finished the clocks. He wrote out his recipe for me: "Have surface clean, smooth and dust free. All glue on the surface should be removed. (It doesn't take stain.) I use oil rubbing stain. There are many good stains. You can apply with brush or cloth pad (the brush is not so messy). Allow it to get a frosty appearance, then rub with clean dry cloth. Make [it] shine. The longer you leave the stain on before rubbing the darker the finish it will be. If you wipe it off too soon you can apply again. But if you make it too dark the first time it is nearly impossible to remove. When you get the color you want let it dry at least 24 hours. It may be varnished. I don't use varnish because it takes too long to set up. (It will collect dust particles.) I use 7 coats of spray lacquer (clear)."

The inner workings of the clocks were screwed into a frame which was either glued or screwed into place inside the upper part of the clock behind the windowed doors where the face shows. I think the clock works were Swiss, arguably the best-made works at the time. The pendulum and weights were brass.

The clocks were 8-day clocks. Dad usually wound our clock every Sunday. It would run until Monday, but it was easier to get into the habit of winding it on the same day every week. The process of winding the clock included using a key to wind in three different slots: one for the chimes, and two for the gears. And not too tight. The other part of winding was pulling the weights up. During the week they would gradually lower themselves as the clock ticked away.

The clocks sounded wonderful, clear, and melodious with their Westminster chimes. (Listen to the melody of the Westminster chime on a small clock.) All of the clocks chimed on the quarter hour. I remember napping on the couch or waking in the night wondering what time it was. The clock eventually chimed and I knew whether I had a while longer to sleep or I needed to get up. Dad always said he couldn't sing, and rarely did, but he knew if the chimes of the clock were off-key. He carefully remedied the problem.

After the clocks were completely finished, he moved them inside, wound them, and watched them to make sure they kept time accurately. If they didn't he carefully adjusted them and watched some more. Only after he felt sure of the accuracy of the time-keeping did he offer them for sale.

Dad advertised only once, though the ad may have run more than one day. Mom clipped the ad, again without date or name of paper.

I think my father carefully chose what he wanted to do, then pursued the effort to a successful outcome. He was a very talented man.

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Answers Summons" - an obituary transcription for Henry C. Meinzen

I think it's particularly sad when an obituary misspells the last name of the deceased. This obituary is for my mother's grandfather, Henry C. Meinzen (as opposed to the printed "Meinzer"). It was published in The Steubenville Herald-Star on Wednesday, December 30, 1925.


Henry C. Meinzer Answers Summons at Home of Daughter–Was 88 Years Old.

Henry C. Meinzer, aged 88, one of the city’s oldest and best known residents, died this morning at 1:25 o’clock at the home of his daughter, Mrs. George K. Harris, 1618 West Market street, following an illness of several weeks with complications of old age.

Mr. Meinzer was born in Hanover, Germany, July 25, 1837, coming to Steubenville in early manhood and making his home here over a period of fifty years. He was married to Elizabeth Armitage of this city, his wife preceding him in death five years ago. Surviving are six children, Mrs. George K. Harris, Mrs. B. R. Harshman [sic], Mrs. Charles Sticker and Mrs. Russell Rhome, all of this city. Robert Meinzer of Mineral Ridge, O.; and Henry of Youngstown. He also leaves one brother, Fred, of Hanover, Germany; 22 grandchildren and four greatgrandchildren.

The deceased was a carpenter and wagon maker by trade, retiring from active life only a few years ago. He belonged to the Zion Lutheran church, taking an active interest in all church activities until his last illness.

Held in high esteem by his friends and acquaintances for his many admirable traits of character and dispositoin [sic], the death of Mr. Meinzer will be heard of with deep regret throughout the city. Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

About the daughters and their names:
Mrs. George K. Harris was Elizabeth W., named Wilhelmina Elizabeth at birth and known to family as Mina.
Mrs. B. R. Harshman was Bertha Hashman, married to Benjamin Hashman.
Mrs. Charles Sticker was Lula Sticker.
Mrs. Russell Rhome was Naomi Rhome.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Celebration of Family History

Watch it! It's an hour and a half of family history stories, vignettes, music, and speeches (one by David McCullough) from this summer's National Genealogical Society Conference in Salt Lake City.

Geraldine Mae Meinzen Foulk

This is my lovely aunt, my mother's sister. Her given name was Geraldine but she chose to be called Jeree most of her life. She was born on this day in 1918, the 2nd of 4 daughters born to William Carl Robert and Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen.

Aunt Jeree visited us but we didn't see her as often as we saw the other aunts so I feel like I don't know her as well as the other two aunts. During most of my childhood she lived a little further away. She worked as a beautician in Newton Falls, Ohio, and was married and divorced twice. I think her life was somewhat difficult. It ended abruptly on September 24, 1984, the year she would have turned 66. She left 3 adult children and 3 sisters.

This is a birthday post for her, just so she's not forgotten. Happy Birthday, Aunt Jeree.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Children and Dolls

Don't children and dolls just go together? They're one of those staples of childhood: now, 25 years ago, nearly 100 years ago. Sometimes it's a stuffed animal, sometimes a baby doll. No matter, there's something about children and dolls that belong together, even if only for a brief time.

At top left is my father, Lee Doyle. I have two photographs of him at two different ages with different dolls. I admit to being surprised to see him with a doll. He probably didn't stick with them for very long. He looks about 2 or 3 in this photo, so it might have been taken in 1915 or 1916.

To his right is my mother, Audrey Meinzen. She's about 5 or 6 in this photograph so the year is probably about 1920 or 1921. My sister still has my mom's china doll, though I think the one she's holding here is a different doll.

The last photo is my daughter, more than 20 years ago, with her favorite doll. She's very pleased to have found a way to carry the doll without using her hands.

Enjoy other posts about family, old photographs, etc. at Sepia Saturday.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mineral Ridge Businesses, 1930

This is a list of businesses which advertised in the "Dedication Day Program" of the Mineral Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church of September 7th, 1930. There links to the other posts where you can images of the pages from the program.

I was surprised at how many businesses were in the Ridge at that time. I also thought the phone numbers were interesting.

Mineral Ridge and Evansville
  • The Ridge Cast Products Co.
  • Riverside Hatchery. "Baby Chicks that are bred to lay, from trap nested yearly hens. Broilers - Eggs - Stock. J. W. Laverty, Prop. Phone 107"
  • D. J. Hughes. Coal and Builders Supplies
  • Clyde McConnell
  • C. L. Adgate and Son
  • The Meander Coal and Supply Company. "We had the pleasure of furnishing the builders supplies for this building with the exception of the face brick and few other items. We Sell Quality and Service. Office Phone 203-R. Residence Phone 7004-F 23"
  • D. M. Davis. For Decorating and Painting. Some may deem me full of ego,/ But as sure as you are born,/ You'll not get any where in life/ Unless you toot your horn."
  • William Bickerstaff, General Contractor and Builder of Modern Homes
  • Frank Croft. Gas, Oils and Greases
  • Frank Knoyer Dealer in Poultry, Eggs and Produce.
  • Isaly Diary Products. Myron Evans
  • Peerless Diary. Isaac Joseph
  • Robt. Meinzen. Barber Shop
  • B. Williamson. General Merchandise.
  • Mineral Ridge Print Shop. "Congratulations to the members of the new Methodist Church, We feel grateful for being given the preference of printing this program."
  • The Niles Trust Company - offered congratulations to "the pastor and congregation of the First Methodist Church and the whole Mineral Ridge community upon the completion of their beautiful new house of worship. Such an edifice is truly a community asset."
  • The McKinley Savings and Loan Company - "5 per cent paid on savings accounts."
  • The Home Savings and Loan Co. - "Niles' Oldest Savings Institution. 5% Interest on Savings"
  • E. C. Ferguson Drugs
  • Samuel Rubenstein
  • C. H. Backenstos
  • Kreiger's Sport's Shop
  • The Dollar Savings Bank Co. "Congratulates you upon your wonderful achievement. A truly worthy monument to our Master"
  • O. H. Garland Representing the Niles Motor Sales Co. "For your New Chevrolet or a used car with an O. K. that counts.
  • Frech Brothers Meat Market. 35 State St.
  • Harries and Bowers Building Contractors
  • The Trumbull Savings and Loan Co.
  • Ohio Corrugating Co.
Youngstown and Austintown
  • The Isaly Dairy Co. "All Dairy Products"
  • The Commercial National Bank
  • Jordan-Akins Motor Company. Chrisler [sic] Motor Cars, Firestone Tires, Standard Oil Products.
  • The Dalzell Brothers Company. "'The Roofing and Sheeet Metal Folks.' Warm Air Heaters. 928 W. Rayen Ave."
  • Fithian Cement Products Co. "'Permanent Air Seal' Reinforced. Concrete Burial Vaults. Phone 24812. 6234 Market St.
Other Businesses, Locations not Named
  • The Smith Baldwin Co. "share in enjoying the beautiful Methodist Church. It is a monument that every donor can feel proud of. We are proud of the beautiful addition to our town. Our Churches and our Schools are the Foundation of Good Citizenship. Therefore they are worthy of our full co-operation."
  • John B. Morris - Well Drilling and Pumps. Phone 747-W"
  • Triangle Garage. "Sales Chevrolet Service. Accessories, Tires, Gasoline. General Automobile Repairing. Edison Radios. Phone 536. Day or Night."
  • Garland and Davis. Gas, Oils, Firestone Tires. Exide Batteries, Radios and Accessories. Phone 7 J"
  • Riverside Dairy. Pasteurized Milk and Cream.
  • Geo. Morris & Son. Coal and Cement Work
  • J. J. Tigue. Billiards - Sport Goods - Tobacco etc.
  • Evelyn Dunlap. The Corner Cupboard

The other posts about the dedication program are Dedication Day Program, Mineral Ridge Methodist Episcopal Church; "A Brief Historical Sketch" of the Mineral Ridge Methodist Church; and About the Stained Glass Windows of the Mineral Ridge Methodist Church.

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