Friday, May 30, 2014

History Repeats Itself

It's not exactly that history has repeated itself but sometimes events repeat themselves in a family.

My great-great-grandfather John Froman died in about 1871.  I found his Orphan's Court file in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, ordered it, and learned that he died intestate.  While I was working on his file I ordered the file of his widow, Catherine (Saylor) Froman, who died on December 20, 1928.  It arrived a few days ago. 

It was a pleasure to see that this file was typewritten:  no illegible handwriting to decipher.  A quick overview of the file showed me that all of her children were named and included the daughters' married names.  I had most of thisinformation from my aunt's family records but having the information again gives a little more credence to what may have been family legend or mis-copied information. 

I'm learning that nothing about my ancestors should surprise me but I was surprised to see that Catherine died intestate just as her husband had.  I don't know why that's a surprise considering that she was a female in the early 1900s and probably still had few rights. 

With both John and Catherine having died intestate, I'm wondering if I'll have a whole family of intestates.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Henry Carl Meinzen, the Oldest Son - 52 Ancestors

Henry Carl Meinzen, born in September, 1870, was the oldest child of Henry Carl and Elizabeth (Armitage) Meinzen's 15 children.  He was already 28 when his youngest sibling was born in 1898.  He is my maternal grandfather's brother.
In the photo at left, above, which I think was taken at the time of his mother's death in 1920, Henry is standing on the left of the two men in the rear.  In the photo at right, he is the man sitting on the left.  The center photo is, I believe, Henry when he was younger.  Don't you think it looks like him? 

He missed the 1870 census by several months but appears in the 1880 U.S. Census with his parents as a 10-year-old attending school, living on North 8th Street, Ward 5, in Steubenville, Ohio.

On December 27, 1896, he married Ella Dray (also known as Ellen, Helen, or Hellen) in Steubenville, Ohio.

Living Locations, Employment, Etc.
727 N. Seventh, Steubenville, Ohio.  Henry was a glassmaker.  (1900 Steubenville City Directory)

807 Sherman Avenue, Steubenville, Ohio.  He worked as a chimney maker.  Margaret was the only child.  Ella (listed as Hellen) is noted as the mother of 2 children, 1 living, which explains why my mom and aunt knew nothing about the oldest child, Elizabeth.

939 Sixth Avenue, Steubenville, Ohio.  Henry worked at LaBelle Iron Works.  (1904-05 Steubenville City Directory)

South Pearl Street, Youngstown, Ohio.  He worked as a millwright at a steel mill.  Elizabeth, Sarah, Beatrice, and Mildred were still living at home.  (1910 U.S. Census)

South Pearl Street, Youngstown, Ohio.  He had become a foreman millwright at the steel mill.  All 5 daughters plus a son-in-law were living at home; Margaret was married to Carl Schwab.  (1920 U.S. Census)

Henry's wife Ella died in 1930.  I believe Henry moved to live with one of his daughters but I haven't found which one yet. 

816 Creed Street, Struthers, Ohio.  Henry was a boiler maker helper in a steel mill.  His daughter Beatrice and divorced daughter Veronica Gettings lived with him as well as Veronica's two children.  (1940 U.S. Census)

My mom and aunt remembered 5 sisters who were the daughters of Henry and Ella:  Margaret, Sarah, Beatrice, Mildred, and Veronica.  Veronica was closer in age to my mother (who was born in 1915); the others were older.  Records indicate that there may have been more children, children who died as infants or toddlers, and Henry's obituary indicates that there were 9 children.  The children known from civil records are
  • Elizabeth, born October 22, 1897, died April 6, 1899
  • Margaret, born February 11, 1900, died October 14, 1969
  • Sarah, born February 18, 1902, died
  • Male Infant, born August 19, 1904, buried August 20, 1904
  • Beatrice, born about 1907, died
  • Mildred, born about 1909, died
  • Veronica, born February 14, 1914, died March 25, 1999
  • Howard, born October 2, 1916, died November 1, 1916

Henry died on August 11, 1958.  His obituary was published in The Steubenville Herald-Star the same day, on page 17, column 2.
Henry Carl Meinzen, 87, of Richmond, a former resident of Steubenville, died at 12:45 a.m. today in the home of his daughter, Mrs. George C. Porter of Richmond after a brief illness.

He was born Sept. 25, 1870, in Steubenville, a son of the late Henry C. and Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen.  He retired in 1940 as a millwright at the Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co.  A member of the Lutheran Church, Mr. Meinzen was made a life member of the Knights of Pythias Lodge No. 720 in Struthers, Ohio, last year.

He leaves three daughters, Mrs. Porter with whom he made his home, Mrs. Edward L. Vaughn Sr. of Rocksville, Md., Mrs. R. L. O'Neil Sr. of Struthers and Mrs. Walter Hileman of Letonia, Ohio; a brother, Robert Meinzen of Mineral Ridge; four sisters, Mrs. Ben Hashman, Mrs. George Harris, Mrs. Charles Sticker and Mrs. Russell Rhome, all of Steubenville; 14 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by three sons and three daughters.

Friends will be received at the Dunlope Funeral Home, Wintersville.  Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the funeral home with the Rev. Mr. Charles J. Willmann officiating. Burial will be in Union Cemetery.

Henry is not buried in the same cemetery as his wife.  It's sad to think they're separated in death.

I was alive a few years before Uncle Henry died but I don't remember him. 

. . . . . . . . . . .

This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's call to her readers to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

John Froman's Intestate Court File as it Pertains to Family History

I never know what I'll find when I look at a court file so it's been interesting to transcribe and evaluate this one.  Learning so many details helps me place all of the family members in time and environment, but it leaves a lot to be desired in the way of family history information.

Nowhere in the file was Widow Catherine's maiden name mentioned.  Nowhere in the file was any family relationship mentioned except for naming John's wife and children.  I was pleased to see the list of children and their birth dates (even if they may be inaccurate).  I  was disappointed in the absence of information about John Froman's death.  Other than the vague "died about a year ago" I didn't learn his actual date of date, cause, location, or cemetery of burial.

What I hoped to learn (but did not)
  • John's date of death
  • the location of John's death
  • the cause of death
  • his burial location

The family history information contained in the file
  • John died about December 1871
  • John's wife's name was Catherine (but her maiden name was not given).
  • John had six children at the time he died.  Another was born in January, 1872, several months after his death.
  • the names and birth dates of his children
  • John owned property in West Salem Township, Mercer County, Pennsylvania and in Beaver Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania.  In and of itself this is not family history information but searching property and deeds may reveal some family history information.

John and Catherine's children were named on several documents in the file.  Several of the names had variations in different documents.  Below are their names/variations and dates of birth as given in the file.
  • John, born January 18, 1863
  • Jacob, born October 20, 1864
  • Lizzie, born January 5, 1866  (Lizzie's name is never noted as Elizabeth.)
  • Tress/Theressa, born Aug 20, 1867
  • Adam, born November 15, 1868
  • Gust/Augustus, born October 18, 1870
  • Kate/Catherine, born January 29, 1872

Possible family history information
  • Jacob Seylor/Seyler/Sailer was the administrator of the estate.  He was also named as Jacob D. Seylor/Seyler.  Catherine's maiden name is Saylor and her father's name is Jacob.  It's possible that the administrator is Catherine Saylor Froman's father.  Because of the spelling variations with a name like Saylor/Seyler I don't know a way to make a connection between the name in this file and any other Jacob Saylor that I might find in a census record or some other document.
  • C. Froman and Casper Froman may be the same person.  Both names were one lists of people to whom John owed money.  I have a passenger list with Johannes, Casper, and Heinrich Frommann sailing together.  C. and Casper may be John's brother or some other relation.
  • H. Froman is named as one of the men to whom John owed money.  Is H. Froman the same Heinrich Frommann on the passenger list mentioned above?  Could H. Froman be one of John's relatives? 

The more I learn the more questions I have.

Other posts about this court file:
Of Orphans and Widows
Petition for Guardianship for Theressa Froman
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 1:  Administrator's Bond and Inventory
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 2:  Petition, Exhibits 'A' and 'B', Petitions, Decree
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 3:  Sale of Real Estate, Accounts, Inventory of Children 


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

You Just Can't Trust It - Book of Me

You can trust that every single morning the sun will rise.  Even if it's cloudy, it will be there.  And you can trust that in December winter will begin and the days will get longer, and that in June summer will begin and the days will get shorter.  The seasons will follow each other every single year of our lives in an unfailing cycle.  You can trust the sequence of the sun and the seasons.  You can bet your life on it.  But you just can't trust technology.

I'm thinking of technology in a broad sense, to include more than just electronic devices.  I include microwave ovens, refrigerators, washers and dryers, televisions, automobiles, telephones, refrigerators, audio systems, computers, cameras, cell phones -- all of them.  You can't trust them because sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, and you can never tell when something will malfunction or even just quit working altogether.  The best you can do is take good care of what you own and hope and pray you're never left in a lurch because technology failed.  (I think I hear someone saying, "Back up your files!" which is good advice but it doesn't prevent technology's malfunction or failure.)

My first introduction to technology was probably at birth when electric lights glared into my newly opened eyes.  My next experience may have been a few days later when I rode home in a car and, later still, heard the voice of an unknown person speaking or singing over the radio.  During my young years I benefited from food cooked in an electric oven and preserved in an electric refrigerator.  I heard the hum of an electric Singer sewing machine, and had warmth from a coal fire because coal was delivered by a man driving a dump truck.

By the time I was five I regularly saw people in a box in our living room.  (See photo at left with box on right.)  I eventually understood that it was a television and did not have little people inside and I also learned that there were no people in the radio.  I had answered the ring of the telephone and spoken to my grandmother through it.  I'd also helped my mother with the wash using her electric wringer washer.  Non-technological clothespins were still used to hang the clothes on a clothesline to dry:  no electric dryers yet.

My father seemed able to repair nearly all of the above types of technology devices except maybe televisions.  He seemed to have an innate ability to understand the workings of things and repaired them speedily and efficiently.  When electronic equipment became popular he either didn't have the interest or was too old to think of repairing those things that broke.

In my teen years I enjoyed a battery-operated, transistor radio which I could carry with me if I chose.  Next came 8-track tape players and cassette recorders/players.  I remember my father's first introduction to a cassette player.  I'd brought it home on loan and showed him how it worked.  He was so surprised.  We recorded several conversations and then listened to the recordings.  It wasn't long before he bought his own recorder/player.

When videocassettes became available we could watch movies we chose instead of according to the schedule and choice of broadcasting companies.  Then DVDs came along and we had even better viewing options than with videocassettes.

In high school I learned to type on a manual typewriter.  Later, while working in an office, there was a lovely electric IBM Selectric typewriter which offered several different fonts because of an interchangeable ball.  My next experience with more office technology was an early Apple computer.  I didn't like it.  After spending days and days typing an inventory of laboratory supplies, the inventory disappeared.  Gone, never to be seen again.  That was the beginning of my distrust of technology.  Those who knew computers couldn't find how it disappeared or to where and so I began the laborious and time-consuming processes of typing the entries in once again.  Eventually, in that same office, I was given a computer of my own to use.  Learning its ins and outs was trial and error -- classes were not offered.  I played and learned and was surprised and pleased (wow, it can do this!) and sometimes frustrated and disappointed (why does it do that?!).

Technology keeps advancing.  Sometimes I'm completely pleased, as with digital cameras, cell phones, scanners, and, generally, with computers.  But I have a healthy distrust of all things technology because I never know when they won't work or why.  It seems as time goes on, the slightly older technology becomes more reliable.  Or maybe we just get used to it, or learn how to use the devices better.

I try to imagine what my great-great-grandparents thought about locomotives, electric lights, indoor plumbing, gasoline-powered automobiles, Brownie cameras, telephones, and electric-powered appliances.  Maybe they were as surprised by and distrustful of those innovations as I sometimes am of our modern technological innovations.  Or maybe they welcomed the labor-saving aspects of washers and dryers, stoves and refrigerators.

Perhaps all of those were challenges to my parents and other ancestors when they were new, modern, and untested, but I doubt they caused them as much trouble as modern technology seems to cause me!  I just don't trust it to always do its job reliably.  (But I'd rather have it than not.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This is another post in The Book of Me, Written by You series, created by Julie Goucher of Anglers Rest.

The topic for this post was Technology.  The suggestions were:   What technology changes did your ancestors see?  What technology changes have you seen?  Did your family own one of those early changes? – such as television.  Do you like or dislike technology?  What do you think has been the best technological change in your lifetime and historically?


Monday, May 26, 2014

Honoring Their Memory

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens.  For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.”
James A. Garfield
May 30, 1868
Arlington National Cemetery 

With deepest gratitude to those who gave their all to keep our nation free.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Looking Up

My daughter and her family were here this past week.  About Wednesday I began to think that I'd forgotten something important.  It turns out I had!  On Saturday I remembered that my brother's birthday was on Tuesday.  This post is late but I didn't want to miss the opportunity to wish him a Happy Birthday and a great year. 

Of necessity I had to look up to Bob when I was a child:  he was nearly 11 years older than me.  But by choice I've looked up to him throughout my life. 

As all big brothers probably do, there were times when he teased me, though I don't think there was ever any meanness about it.  But the times and memories that stand out are times when I knew he loved me.  He was the family member who always seemed to have time for me, who played with me, entertained me, and smoothed things over. 

I once decided to run away when I was too young to be out and about alone.  He came up to my bedroom where I was packing my little suitcase, possibly sent by my mom, to persuade me of the foolishness of my choice -- and succeeded by using the enticement of cookies.  He gave me rides on the handlebars of his bike; introduced me to pistachios (only available in pink in those days); and sometimes helped me with homework.  He refinished an oak stool he'd bought at an auction, made a doll cradle in his high school industrial arts class, and sanded and repainted an older bicycle to make it look new -- all for me.  I'm sure I've forgotten more than I've remembered about his kindness to me.

He was and is always kind, fair, thoughtful, and generous and I'm so very grateful that he's my brother.

Happy Birthday, Bob!  Love you.


Monday, May 19, 2014

What Will Become of Me? - Monday Musings

Until about the age of 40, maybe even 45, most of us generally feel confident that we have more years ahead of us than behind us.  But as we approach, oh, say, about the age of 50 or 55, we realize that we're on the shorter side of life. 

I'm at an age where I know I have fewer years left than I've already lived and sometimes I think, What will become of me?  (Morbid, you say?  Well, death is a fact of life:  no one lives forever.)  Knowing I've lived more than half my allotment of years I want to use the time I have left wisely:  I have a lot of things I'd like to do before I die.  But I'd like to have a guess how many years that could be (even though there's no certainty, of course).  Since longevity may be inherited I thought my ancestors' lifespans might give me a clue, so I made a list of my direct ancestors, their ages at death, and their causes of death.

Age  /       Name       /    Dates    /  Cause of Death (if available)  /  Relationship 

24   Beulah Gerner Doyle / 1888-1913 / illness after childbirth / grandmother
31   John Froman  / 1841-1871 /   ?   / 2nd g-grandfather
33   Emma Nelson  / ~1845-1878 /   ?   / 2nd g-grandmother
44   Gust Doyle / 1888-1933 / colon cancer & after-effects of surgery / grandfather
67   Mary Thompson Bickerstaff  / 1872-1940 / coronary thrombosis / g-grandmother
67   Ellis Bickerstaff  / 1840-1907 / suicide-mental breakdown / 2nd g-grandfather
68   Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen  / 1852-1920 / cancer of the face / g-grandmother
68   Tressa Froman Doyle / 1867-1936 / brain hemorrhage / g-grandmother
72   Andrew Doyle / 1836-1908 / intestinal obstruction / 2nd-g-grandfather 
73   John Thompson  /~1850-1923 / lobar pneumonia / 2nd g-grandfather
74   Lee Doyle  / 1913-1987 / heart attack / father
74   Edward Jesse Bickerstaff  /1871-1945 / cancer of prostate gland / g-grandfather
78   William Doyle / 1863-1941 / chronic valvular heart disease / g-grandfather
78   Frederick Gerner / 1848-1926 / chronic interstitial hepatitis / g-grandfather
78   Lydia Bell Thompson / 1851-1930 / cerebral apoplexy / 2nd g-grandmother
79   Emma Bickerstaff Meinzen / 1893-1973 / cardiac arrest / grandmother
79   Christian Gerner /~1820-1899 /  ?  / 2nd g-grandfather
79   Rebecca Smith Bartley / ~1820-1899 /   ?    / 2nd g-grandmother 
82   Audrey Meinzen Doyle  / 1915-1997 /   ?   / mother
84   Catherine Saylor Froman / 1844-1928 / heart disease / 2nd g-grandmother
86   William Bickerstaff  / 1807-1893 / paralysis / 3rd g-grandfather
87   W. C. Robert Meinzen / 1892-1979 /   ?   / grandfather
88   Elvira Bartley Gerner / 1854-1943 / senility, arteriosclerosis / g-grandmother
88   Henry Carl Meinzen / 1837-1925 / complications of old age / g-grandfather
91   Jacob Bell  / 1824-1915 / valvular heart disease / 3rd g-grandfather
94   Dixon Bartley / 1806-1900 /   ?   / 2nd g-grandfather

I also have two great-aunts, one maternal, one paternal, who lived to be over 100.

I still don't know what will become of me but I know I've lived longer than four of my direct ancestors and am younger than 22 of those ancestors when they died.  I know that there are still about 30 years between my age and the age at which the oldest ancestor died.  I still don't know how old I'll be when I die, but what an interesting exercise.  And now I'm off to make good use of the time I have left!


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Gustave Doyle - Sunday's Obituary, 52 Ancestors

At the death of his father, Gust Doyle, his son, Lee Doyle, became an orphan.  Yes, Lee was 20 at the time of his father's death in October, 1933, but this death left Lee with neither father nor mother:  his mother died when he was several weeks old.  The loss of his father must have been more than heart wrenching.

                Gustave Doyle
    Gustave Doyle died at his home
in Lake township at 7:10 o'clock this
morning, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 1933,
following a lingering illness.  Mr.
Doyle was 44 years, 10 months and
17 days old.
    Mr. Doyle was born and spent his
entire life on the same farm on
which he died.  He was born Nov.
17, 1888, a son of Mr. and Mrs. Wil-
liam Doyle.  On April 25, 1918, Mr.
Doyle was united in marriage to
Miss Twlia [sic] Ransom.  Surviving are
his wife and six children, Lee, Doro-
thy, Therese, Evelyn, Billy and Don-
ald.  His parents are living in
Stoneboro as is a sister, Mrs. Emma
Leathers.  Another sister, Mrs. Hazel
Emerson, resides in Maple, N. Y.
    He was a member of the Franklin
    Funeral services are to be con-
ducted from his late home Friday,
Oct. 2, at 3 o'clock.  Rev. S. S. Clark,
pastor of the First Baptist church
of Franklin, will have charge of the
services.  Interment is to be made
in the Oak Hill cemetery.

You can never be too careful about information in obituaries.  If someone with no knowledge of the Doyle family read this obituary, it would be easy to take it at face value and accept all the information as fact.  In fact, Twila Ransom was Gust's second wife and their children were Dorothy, Therese (known as Tressa), Evelyn, Billy, and Donald.  Lee was not the child of Gust and Twila but of Gust and his first wife, Beulah Gerner.

The only other error is that Mrs. Hazel (Doyle) Emerson lived in Naples, New York.

This is the second time in recent months that I've become aware of Gust Doyle being called Gustave in a newspaper article.  I doubt I'll ever get the full story on Gust's real name.  Gust Doyle, August Doyle, Gus Doyle, Gustave Doyle of Stoneboro, Pennsylvania:  they are all the same man.

Gust and its variations were popular names in that locality at the time my grandfather was born.  I see them often while looking through census records.  One of the men happens to be Gust Doyle's mother Tressa (Froman) Doyle's brother, Gust Froman, though as a child that Gust's name was noted as Augustus.  Perhaps my grandfather was named for his uncle or perhaps his parents chose it for its popularity. 

Reading this obituary makes me aware of the narrow life Gust must have lived, having spent all of his 44 years living on the same farm, being a farmer and a coal miner.  He was a dedicated husband and father who worked hard to provide a living for his family.  Might he have liked to travel, move to a different place, have a different occupation?  Or were the variety and challenges of operating a dairy farm satisfying work?  People of that time period often gave selflessly to do the right and honorable thing for those who depended upon them.  Gust was one of those dedicated men.

This obituary was published in the October 4, 1933 issue of the Greenville Record Argus.  It was originally in two columns with the first three lines at the bottom of one column and the rest of the obituary at the top of another column.  I cropped them and arranged them in one column for easier reading and posting.

The obituary was a gift from Dayna, a researcher of a family line that meets mine with Tressa Doyle Wilson.  Thank you, Dayna.

. . . . . . . . . . .

This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's call to her readers to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks


Sunday, May 11, 2014

It Was Mom: A Mother's Day Tribute

I'll be thinking about my mom and all of my foremothers today with a grateful heart:  without them I wouldn't be here!  If your mom's still alive I know she'd be thrilled with a phone call or a visit and a few words of gratitude.  My reflections of Mother's Day also lean to thoughts of being a mother and the gratitude I feel for that opportunity.  I feel especially blessed that one of my daughters surprised me with a visit home for a few days this weekend.

I hope you have a joyful Mother's Day.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Glasses on Shopping Saturday

When I look at these faces...

... is it any wonder that I'm attracted to these ads in old newspapers? 

Do you think maybe I spend too much time with my ancestors?


Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 3:
Sale of Real Estate, Accounts, Inventory of Children

This is the last installment of posts specifically about my great-great-grandfather John Froman's Mercer County, Pennsylvania, Orphan's Court file.  You can read Part One:  Administrator's Bond and Inventory and Part Two:  Petition, Exhibits 'A' and 'B', Petitions, Decree if you'd like to read about the file in sequence. My thoughts, comments, and questions are at the end of the post.

On December 16, 1872, Jacob Seyler, administrator of the estate of John Froman, petitioned and received authorization to sell John's two properties:  three (or part of three) acres in West Salem Township, Mercer County; and about 88 acres (100 minus the 12 retained by his widow) in Beaver Township, Crawford County.

Sale of the Real Estate of John Froman
On February 20, 1873, Jacob Seyler reported his actions to the court.  He had given due public notice of the sale as requested by the court and on February 13, 1873, he sold the property by auction.  The record reads,
he did on the 13th day of Feby 1873 upon the premises expose the property herein described as being the undivided half of three acres to public out cry & sold the same to S. W. Mannheimer for the sum of Seventy five dols [sic] he being its highest & that the best price bidder therefor [sic] But that in offering it he found it would not sell separately & therefore the interest of the Estate of John Froman was sold with this by Mary E. Sailer Adm the whole bringing 150 Doles [sic] and the sale was by that means made for a better price than if sold separately....

Account of Jacob Seylor Administrator of Estate of John Froman
The next document, dated March 22, 1876 and June 21, 1876, lists credits out of the assets of the estate, listed by name of payer and credits in dollars and cents.
H. D. Cossitt   medical bill     11.00
Leninger Bros                        46.98
Geo Reznor                             4.00
E L Rose                                10.50
J C Brown                               4.00
C M Wood                                6.00
A J McQuiston                         1.00
D Lininger [?]                         24.64
Ad McQuiston                          5.00
H. Watson                               2.50
M Lech [?]                               7. 68
M. Maxwell                          212.00
Jesse Smith                             5.75
H. Froman                             40.00
Jos Anple [?]                           3.00
Erwin Fell                               5.10
W Maxwell                            28.00
Jacob Seyler                          10.00
Packard & Co                          2.95
Caspar Froman                      75.00
S W Mannheimer                  118.72
Lininger & Duncan                   3.68
Aaron Fell                               7.00
J Morford                                9.50
Casper Froman                      75.00
N Morford                                8.35
E. L Rose                                 5.20

On the same date (March 22, 1876/June 21, 1876), there is this:
The accountant [Jacob Seyler] charge himself as follows:
Account of Sale of Real Estate
in Crawford Co. to C Cashbaum [illegible]                    1300.00
Interest received on Same                                              66.00
Account of Jacob D. Seylor
And again the account statement on June 22 and August 17, 1876:
          Total assets                                                             $1366.00
          Total Credits                                                            $1247.20
          Balance due.            Estate                                       $  118.80

Inventory of Amounts Paid to Children
The final document in the file is dated August 29, 1876 and is a list of John's children along with their birth dates, when they will be of age, and when they were paid (with the amount noted underneath).  At the top is the writing "Inv. M. Froman Est.  Each paid $20.00."  And at the end, "Amt. Aug 29 1876   $118.00.  Divided into 7 shares.  Ono.)

born 18 Jany 63
of age 18 Jany 84
paid 1 Jun 85  -  1.56

born 20 Oct 64
of age 20 Oct 85
paid 20 Oct 85  -  3.00

born 6 Jany 66
of age 5 Jany 87
paid 19 May 87  -  2.66

born 20 Aug 67
of age 20 Aug 88
paid 6 Jun 92  -  owe .91

born 15 Nov 68
of age 15 Nov 89
paid 6 Jun 92  -  .37

born 18 Oct 70
of age 28 Oct 91
paid 6 Jun 92  -  2.32

born 29 Jany 72
of age 29 Jany 93
paid 6 Jun 92  -  3.00

Notes, Thoughts, Questions
  • I don't understand what happened at the sale of John's acreage in West Salem Township.  It seems that half of the three acres went up for sale ("one undivided half deed no improvements" mentioned in Part 2).  If S. W. Mannheimer had already bid on and bought the property, who found that it would not sell separately?  Who owned the other part?  Who was Mary E. Sailer, whose estate did she administer, and how did she get involved in this sale?  Is Sailer another spelling variation of Saylor and could she be a family member?
  • The only mention of the sale of John's property in Crawford County is "Account of Sale of Real Estate in Crawford Co. to C Cashbaum [illegible]  - 1300.00" with interest of $66.00.  (See above.)   Without knowing the date of the sale it would be difficult, but not impossible, to try to find a newspaper announcement (if I don't mind reading through 2 months' worth of newspapers).
  • The term "credit" initially confused me.  My first thought was that it was money due to John, to be given to him at a later date.  Now I understand that it was goods or services that John had purchased/received on credit for which he owed.  In another word, debts.  How did John come to be in the situation of owing so much money and what goods or services did he purchase?  
  • What happened to the administrator's bond mentioned in Part 1?  Did the court retain it or did Jacob Seyler and S. W. Mannheimer get it back?  What happened to the $1600 "bond with sureties" that he was required to give the court (mentioned in Part 2)?  Was that returned to Jacob Seyler?
  • I don't understand the amounts of money for each children.  Had they already received some money?  Was this interest?  Had they borrowed on the money allotted to them?  Next to Tress's name is "owe."  Is the amount owed to her or does she owe that amount back to the court?
  • It is good to finally get a list of all of John and Catherine's children.  Family records did not include Adam and did not have birthdays for all the children.  Not surprisingly, the birthdays may or may not be accurate compared to family records and some census records and obituaries.

I know some of my questions are completely unanswerable but if any of you readers can offer insights into this court file I would be grateful to hear them.  Thanks for following through with this series of posts.

Other posts on this topic:
Of Orphans and Widows
Petition for Guardianship for Theressa Froman
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 1:  Administrator's Bond and Inventory
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 2:  Petition, Exhibits 'A' and 'B', Petitions, Decree


Monday, May 5, 2014

The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 2:
Petition, Exhibits 'A' and 'B', Petitions, Decree

In the previous post I introduced John Froman's intestate orphan's court record and presented Administrator's Bond and Inventory.  Jacob Seyler was declared the administrator of John Froman's estate and an inventory was taken.  This post presents several petitions made by Jacob Seyler on December 16, 1872, and the court's decree.

Petition of  Administrator of Estate (who is Jacob Seyler)
On December 16, 1872, Jacob presented the following information to the judge.  This petition appears to be a statement of the situation as it was, not a request for something.
  • John Froman died about one year ago leaving to survive him his widow, Catherine, and seven children:  John, Lizzie, Jacob, Theressa, Adam, Augustus, and Catherine.
  • S. W. Mannheimer had been named the guardian of the children
  • The personal estate of John Froman was insufficient to pay his debts as noted in "inventory hereto attached marked 'A'."
  • An account of his debts was presented in "Schedule B."
  • John Froman owned real estate in West Salem Township, Mercer County.  The plot of land was 3 acres but "the interest of intestate being one undivided half deed no improvements." 
  • John Froman also owned "four sevenths of about One hundred Acres in Beaver Township Crawford Co Pa . . .  bounded by lot set apart for widow of intestate. . . ."

Exhibit 'A' (December 14, 1872)
No personal property

Exhibit 'B' (December 14, 1872)
B. Heardein                                  $160.00
A. Seifars                                          6.10
? Willowford                                      6.10
Irvin Fell                                           6.10
O. A. Irish                                         5.80
R. Liuenger                                      46.98
J. Morford                                          9.50
C. Froman                                      150.00
D. Lemuger                                      28.50
Leiminger & Duncan                           3.62
H. Froman                                        40.00
S. W. Mannheimer                           112.00
W. Maxwell                                     228.00
A. Fell                                                7.00
J. Seyler                                           10.00
Probable expense of administrator  100.00
Total                                               919.70

Petition (December 16, 1872)
  • Jacob Seyler, S. W. Mannheimer, and Elias Ostheimer stated that they were held and firmly bound to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in the sum of $1600.00.
  • Jacob Seyler applied to the Orphans Court for an order authorizing him to sell real estate in Mercer County and for "a decree authorizing him to raise a certain sum" by the sale of real estate in Crawford County.
  • The petition was granted "if the said Jacob Seyler shall faithfully appropriate the proceeds of such Sale according to his respective duties" as administrator of John Froman's estate.

On December 16, 1872, Jacob Seyler stated
  • that John Froman died intestate leaving a widow and seven children. 
  • that John Froman's personal estate was insufficient to pay his debts.
  • The property John owned, located in West Salem Township, Mercer County, was bounded on the north by lands of Jacob Seyler; on the east by Jacob Seyler; on the south by land of J. Bach; and on the west by the property of Martin Zint and contained "about three acres the interest of intestate being one undivided half acre no improvements."
  • The 100 acres of property owned by John Froman in Beaver Township, Crawford County, was bounded on the north by land of A. Allen, on the east by public road or H. Reedler; on the south by the lot set apart of John's widow, Catherine; and on the west by land of Johnson and Odell.
  • It would require the sale of all the property to pay John's debts.

Jacob Seyler asked the court to order "a sale of the premises situate in West Salem Township Mercer County which will bring about Sixty Dollars" and also for a decree authorizing him to raise the balance of the funds needed to pay John's debts (which, he stated, "will be about Eight Hundred and Fifty Dollars") from the real estate in Crawford County.

The Decree
On December 16, 1872, the court repeated the decree three times on different court forms in varying but similar language.  It decreed that Jacob could sell the property to pay John's debts but first required him to give "bond with sureties" in the amount of $1600.00.  He was to raise the sum of $850.00 from the sale of the real estate.  He was also required to give "due public and timely notice of the sale of said Estate in Mercer and Crawford counties by publication in at least one newspaper published in Each one of the Counties aforesaid for three successive weeks the last insertion to be at least ten days before the day of sale and also by written or printed handbills posted in at least six of the most conspicuous places in the vicinity of said Estate not less than twenty days before the day of sale...."

Notes, Thoughts, Questions
  • In the 1870 U.S. census John Froman was listed as 29, a coal miner, with $1 real property and $283 personal estate.  What changed between 1870 and 1871 regarding the amount of property he owned and its value?  How did he obtain real estate valued at about $850.00?
  • Exhibit A indicates that he had no personal property.  Does that mean that the property retained by his widow, Catherine, was all the personal property he owned?
  • I don't know what to think about all the debt.  Was he indebted to "the company store" and borrowed money from friends and family to keep up with needs and/or wants?  When looking at the inventory there doesn't seem to be much excess, little in the way of want versus need as far as material goods.
  • John appears on the 1860 U.S. Census with Caspar Froman, age 7, and Henry Froman, age 10, (as well as Werner Froman, age 58).  John was listed as 20.  Could C. Froman and H. Froman on Exhibit B be Caspar and Henry?  Could they be brothers?  If C. Froman is Caspar, where would a 17-year-old boy obtain $150.00?  Could C. Froman be Catherine Froman?  Would Catherine have had money to call her own?
  • Exactly how much property did John Froman own in West Salem Township?  One document described it as "about three acres The interest of intestate being one undivided half deed no improvements."  In another it was "about three acres the interest of intestate being one undivided half acre no improvements."  It is 1 1/2 acres or 1/2 acre?

Considering that Jacob Seyler was required by the court to advertize the sale of both properties in one newspaper local to each property for three weeks before the sale date, it's possible (though maybe not likely) that one of those newspapers exists on microfilm and that I might be able to find a copy published on the date of the announcement.

Other posts relating to John Froman and his intestate court file:
Of Orphans and Widows
Petition for Guardianship for Theressa Froman
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 1:  Administrator's Bond and Inventory
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 3:  Sale of Real Estate, Accounts, Inventory of Children


Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 1:  Administrator's Bond and Inventory

John Froman died without having made a will, leaving an intestate estate; a widow, Catherine (Saylor) Froman; and seven children:  John, Lizzie, Jacob, Theressa, Adam, Augustus, and Catherine.  John died about December, 1871.  The estate was processed through the Orphan's Court of Mercer County, Pennsylvania, beginning in March, 1872.

From The Source:  A Guidebook to American Genealogy, 3rd edition, by Loretto Szucs and Sandra Luebking, I learned that
When a person dies without making a will, his or her property becomes an intestate estate.  It is divided according to settlement shares determined by law.  In most states, if the deceased is a married man, the widow receives a prescribed interest in any real property her husband owned (known as her dower rights) and a prescribed share of his personal property, and the rest is divided equally among the children.
There are several processes before that division of property can take place.  Below are the first steps in the processing of John Froman's estate.

Administrator's Bond
As stated in the court record, on March 4, 1872, Jacob Seylor, S. W. Mannheimer, and B. Miller each paid $100.00 to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, taking on the responsibility of administrators.  Jacob Seylor became the named administrator of "all and singular goods, chattels and credits" of John Froman.  His obligation was to "make, or cause to be made, a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of the said deceased, which have come or shall come into the hands and possession or knowledge of him the said Jacob Seylor" or anyone else, and to do it within one year.

The Inventory
In Pennsylvania law, according to a document in this file, the wife of a husband who died intestate could retain "goods and chattels . . . to the value of three hundred dollars . . . for the use of herself and her family."

It is hard to tell from the papers in the file whether the items that Widow Catherine kept (at right and transcribed below) are all the items that John Froman owned or whether the list contains only those items that Catherine retained.  (Click on the images to enlarge.)  This inventory was dated September 21, 1872.

      1 Cookstove / $10.00
      2 Coffeepots / illegible
      1 bucket / illegible
      2 Coffeemill[s] / $ .50
      1 Pot / $ .75
      1 Teakettle / illegible
      1 [illegible] iron / illegible
      2 Crocks
      1 Crant [or crout?] illegible
      2 Bread Pans / illegible
      1 Table  / $2.50
      ---page 2---
      Brought forward / $16.86
      1 Bureau / $6.10
      2 [illegible] / $2.75
      1 Small Rocking chair /$  .25
      1 Cubboard / $7.?0
      6 Seats [maybe?] / $  .60
      1 [illegible] / $  .25
      [illegible] / $1.75
      2 Bedstead / illegible
      1 [illegible] / $1.??
      Total / $49.98

John Froman also owned property.  The balance of Catherine's $300.00 was to be taken from that.  The record states,
For Balance of the Three Hundred Dols See Inventory & appraisement of twelve and half acres of land in Beaver Township Crawford County Pa Bounded North by part of Same lot on the East by public Road South by land of A. Inish and west by part of [illegible] lot being 20 rods North & South & 100 rods East & west & part of said J. Froman Estate which we value as two Hundred Fifty Dols 250$ & set apart to the said widow[.]

Notes, Thoughts, and Questions
  • John Froman was about 30 when he died in about December, 1871.  Catherine was between 26 and 28.
  • At the time of his death, their children ranged in age from 8 to 14 months with another born in January, 1872.
  • Why was there a 3-month delay between the time of John's death in December, 1871, and the beginning of court proceedings in March, 1872?  Is that a common or uncommon amount of time?
  • Why did the inventory not take place until September, 1872, 6 months after the case was opened?
  • Looking at the list of items Catherine kept, they were either a very frugal family or a very poor family.
  • What did Catherine do after her husband's death?  How did she manage with 6 little children and a newborn baby?  Did she live with family?  Her father was Jacob Saylor, possibly the Jacob Seyler mentioned as the administrator in this court file.
  • The property she retained in Crawford County was 20 x 200 rods.  That translates to 330' x 1650' or about 12 acres.  It was a long, narrow strip, part of a larger parcel of land.  John also owned property in West Salem Township, Mercer County.  (In 1870, John and Catherine lived in Pymatuning Township, Mercer County.)  Why was she given the land in Crawford County?  And why a long, narrow piece?

This file, O.S. 3410-D, was obtained from Register of Wills & Clerk of Orphans’ Court, Mercer County, 112 Mercer County Courthouse, Mercer, PA 16137.

Other posts relating to John Froman and his intestate court file:
Of Orphans and Widows
Petition for Guardianship for Theressa Froman
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 2:  Petition, Exhibits 'A' and 'B', Petitions, Decree
The Intestate Estate Record of John Froman - Part 3:  Sale of Real Estate, Accounts, Inventory of Children 


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Sisters in White Dresses - Sibling Saturday, Sepia Saturday

A moment in time, preserved until the photograph disintegrates or until those with the memory of the moment are gone.  These are three sisters and, probably, two cousins.  The girl back left is my mom, Audrey Meinzen.  The two girls front right are her sisters, Geraldine/Jeree, and "Blondie."  ("Blondie" is still alive so no real name.)

When I look at this photo I wonder . . .
  • Were the sisters' dresses all white?  Did their mom make them? 
  • How old were the girls?  
  • Where was the photo taken?  Who are the other two girls in the photo?  Were the sisters visiting relatives in Steubenville or vice versa in Mineral Ridge?
  • Did their father, a barber, cut their hair?  Aren't those adorable bobs?
  • What was the occasion, if it was an occasion?  Would "Blondie" remember this particular photo and the events surrounding it?  (I'll send it to her and ask her.) 
  • What were they doing before the photo was taken and what did they do after?
  • And, who took the photo and with what kind of camera? 

Photographs preserve only a moment in time and the image seen through the lens of the camera.  But they may preserve a memory for those who experienced the taking of the photograph and they may jolt a memory of those whose images were captured by the photograph.

This is a Sibling Saturday post and a Sepia Saturday post.  I invite you to go to Sepia Saturday 226 where you can see other old photographs and musings about them.


Friday, May 2, 2014

Steamed Raisin Pudding - Family Recipe Friday

This is another recipe from my grandmother's Webster's Spelling Book turned recipe book.  I've never made a steamed pudding and I'm not sure how my family would respond to a recipe with raisins as the main ingredient.  During my childhood raisins were used much more frequently that they are in my home.

The recipe doesn't mention flouring the raisins but calls for adding "the floured raisins" along with the other dry ingredients.  Gramma probably sifted the dry ingredients together then tossed in the raisins, mixed them to coat them, then add them with the dry ingredients.  It makes sense to me.  That's what I would do.

Also, thinking about soda in a steamed pudding makes me think it rises as it's steaming.

Gramma did not include a recipe for Hard Sauce.  I suppose that recipe was memorized and became part of the repertoire of young cooks.

Steamed Raisin Pudding
1 1/4 cups Raisins
1/2     "    Molasses,
1/2    "     milk
1 7/8  "     flour
3 tablespoon fat.
1/2 teaspoon Soda.
1/2    "          Salt.
1/4    "         cloves.
1/4    "        allspice.
1/4    "       nutmeg.
Melt fat, add mollases
Milk, then the dry
ingredients which
have been sifted
together and the
floured raisins.
Beat well and
steam in a greased covered
tins 2 hrs.
Serve with hard
If you try this recipe, I'd love to hear what you think of it.  Thanks.

You can see other recipes from this spelling tablet/booklet here.

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