Saturday, August 31, 2013

Some Stratton Land in Watertown, Massachusetts

     Last week I received a new book, Divided We Stand: Watertown, Massachusetts, 1630-1680 by Roger Thompson.  As I started reading the book I  began to wonder where Samuel Stratton lived in Watertown.  Samuel is my 9Great-grandfather.  He arrived in Watertown by 1637.  
     Google, Middlesex County Land Deeds, and a little persistence helped me find an image of the original plat of the townsite.  It was actually much larger in area than the current town.  In the Google Map that I have embedded on this page you can see 
1. the original plat of Watertown (large red outlined area somewhat triangular in shape).  You may have to zoom out to see the entire region.  This area extends almost to Concord, where Samuel also lived for a time.
2. the current Watertown town limits.  This region is outlined in blue.
3. four of the parcels of land that Samuel owned around the years 1650-1672. These parcels only represent what I have uncovered by this time.
You may need to zoom in and out using the =/- button in the lower right.  You can also click and move the hand around in order to recenter the map.  

1.  "Divided We Stand: Watertown, Massachusetts, 1630-1680",  Roger Thompson, University of Massachusetts Press, 2001

2.  "Family Memorials: Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston; to which is Appended the Early History of the Town", Henry Bond, Little, Brown & Company, 1855

3.  "Google Maps Engine Lite." 2012. 31 Aug. 2013 <>

Friday, August 30, 2013

Clement Gardiner and Henrietta Boone Gardiner

     Clement Gardiner and Henrietta Boone Gardiner arrived in Kentucky about 1797.   Like many Catholics, they left Maryland because of religious oppression. In the years prior to the revolution, Catholics were double taxed and prohibited from certain professions.  The area around Bardstown, Kentucky was a destination for many Catholics.  
     Clement and Henrietta settled along Coxs Creek in what is now Fairfield. They were generous to the church.  Visiting priests celebrated mass at their house.  Later they donated land for St. Michael's Church and cemetery.  They also donated money to build the church.  (The first church in Louisville started as a mission of St. Michael's.)  Clement and Henrietta wanted a school for girls in the Fairfield area so again they provided land so that could happen.  They had difficulty finding teachers for the school.  The Sisters of Loretto answered the call but after illness took the lives of several sisters the school had to be closed. After the death of Clement Gardiner and the closure of the school, Henrietta moved to Loretto and lived out her remaining days in prayer and solitude with the sisters.  
     Clement's and Henrietta's legacy in the church lived on for many generations.  Numerous descendants joined the religious life.  Son Harry joined the Trappist Monastery although he died young.  At least three granddaughters joined the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.  A great-grandson became a priest.  This legacy even lived on into my generation as my sister became a Dominican nun.  The parish hall at present day St. Michael Church in Fairfield is named Gardiner Hall.
1. "Gardiner Descendants plus Hatton Family and Weire Family Histories", Mary Louise Donnelly, 2004

2. "The Centenary of Catholicity in Kentucky : Webb ... - Internet Archive." 2012. 29 Aug. 2013 <>

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What a Lady!

Mother Catherine Spalding  SCN
     In 1813 a group of young women in Kentucky, joined together to form a new Catholic Religious Order, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.  The sisters elected Catherine Spalding, aged nineteen, as their leader.   She must have had an extremely dynamic personality.  Nazareth is located in Nelson County, Kentucky, just south of Louisville.  In 2003 she was named to a list of the most influential people in the history of Louisville and Jefferson County.  She was the only woman.
     The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth had started a school in Louisville as well as an orphanage.  In 1832 a cholera epidemic hit Louisville and the sisters were at the forefront of caring for victims.  The sisters offered to care for the dying if the city council would cover expenses.  The city council and mayor agreed.  Below is a transcription of  a letter written to the city council when their expenses were not covered and she returns some money to the council. 

To the Mayor & Council of the City of Louisville,

At that gloomy period, when the Cholera threatened to lay our city desolate, & nurses for the sick poor could not be obtained on any terms – Rev’d Mr. Abell, in the name of the Society of which I have the honor to be a member, proffered the gratuitous services of as many of our Sisters as might be necessary in the then existing distress: requiring merely, that their expenses should be paid. – This offer was accepted; as the order from your honorable board, inviting the Sisters, will now show. – But, when the money was ordered from your Treasury to defray those expenses, I had the mortification to remark that instead of saying: “the expenses of the Sisters of Charity,” the word services was substituted. – I immediately remonstrated against it, - & even mentioned the circumstances to the Mayor & another gentleman of the Council. – & upon being promised that the error should be corrected, I remained satisfied that it had been attended to; until a late assertion from one of the pulpits of the city leads me to believe that it stands yet uncorrected on your books; as these same books were referred to in proof of the asertion. – If so, Gentlemen, pardon the liberty I take in refunding you the amt. paid for the above named expenses. Well convinced, that our Community, for whom I have acted in this case, would far prefer incurring the expense themselves rather than submit to so unjust an odium. –

Gentlemen, be pleased to understand, that we are not hirelings. - & if we are, in practice, the Servants of the poor, the sick & the orphan; - we are voluntarily so:
But we look for our reward, in another & a better World.
With sincere respect, 
Your obt. Sert. 
Catherine Spalding, 
Sister of Charity. 

($75. ----) 

     There is a big difference between having you expenses covered and being paid for your services.   Firstly, expenses could be considerably more and secondly, the sisters wouldn't want to be seen collecting a salary.  Catherine Spalding had no trouble speaking her mind.  The City Council eventually greed to go back and cover expenses.

Note:  I suspect that Mother Catherine Spalding is somehow related because there are several Spaldings in our family tree.  They seemed to live in the same areas of Maryland and later Kentucky.  At this time I am uncertain of the exact relationship.  Based upon her letter to the city council, I would be proud to have her in my family tree.  I wrote about her because she was such an interesting person and because during my research of the Nazareth Academy (attended by several ancestors) I found at least three granddaughters of Clement and Henrietta Gardiner (my GGGG-Grandparents) who were members of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. Sister Harriet Gardiner was one of the original six founding sister of the order.  Sister Harriet had been a childhood playmate and friend of Mother Catherine.  She founded a school in Vincennes, Indiana.  Mother Frances Gardiner was a superior of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth after Mother Catherine.  Sister Clare was younger than the others and joined about 1819. 

Read more letters of Mother Catherine Spalding

1.  "Sisters of Charity of Nazareth - Mother Catherine Spalding Biography." 2011. 26 Aug. 2013 <>

2.  "The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Kentucky",  Anna Blanche McGill, Encyclopedia Press, New York, 1917

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

You've Got Mail

Maryland Gazette, Aug 4, 1791
   Because of current technology, it only takes a few moments to check to see if you have received any email.  Can you imagine waiting weeks for a letter or walking miles to pick up that letter?
    One feature that used to be appear in newspapers was a section that listed people who had letters waiting at the post office.  I have found a number of instances where ancestors had their names printed in a mail-waiting list.
    On Aug 4, 1791 the Maryland Gazette indicated that the was a letter waiting for James T. Gates at the Annapolis Post Office.  Unfortunately, James lived approximately 40 miles from Annapolis.  (James T. Gates was my GGGG-Grandfather and the father of Elisha Gates.) James had until October to get to Annapolis.
On July 7, 1852 the Sacramento Union printed almost two pages of names.  An estimated 3000 names were printed in the newspaper on that date.  The most likely reason for the excessive number of letters in the newspaper is the fact that the 49ers had arrived in California by the thousands and disappeared up into the foothills looking for gold.

One of the letters was for James T. Lorton.  James T. Lorton was the great grandfather of John Boyd.  (Jayme considers John as her father and John is known affectionately to us as ‘Pop’.)  In 1849, James Lorton had come west with his parents.  He was about 16 years old and both of them had died on the journey west.  In 1852, James was most likely living somewhere in the foothills of the Sierras with other miners.  He was trying to eek out a living by panning for gold. He would probably have been anywhere from 40 to 120 miles from Sacramento.  
This causes one to wonder about three things. 1)  Did James Gates or James Lorton ever pick up their mail?  2)  Who sent them the letter? 3) Could they read the letter.
  I cannot imagine that we will ever find out.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More New Books!

     As we know in order to understand our ancestors we must know the history of their times.  I received three new books in the mail yesterday.  I hope that these books help me better understand the lives of my ancestors.  I have a lot of reading to do but that won't be a problem.  I love to read.
     James David Armstrong left Ireland with his wife and infant daughter in 1849 during the Irish Potato Famine so I ordered the Atlas of the Great Irish Famine edited by Crowley, Smyth, and Murphy.  I am looking forward to this book. I will be reading this book off and on over months because it is a large heavy book.

     Samuel Stratton and his wife Alice arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts by 1647.  My branch of the Strattons stayed in the area for a few generations, so I want to understand this time period. The book that I hope will help with this part of history is Divided We Stand: Watertown, Massachusetts, 1630-1680 by Roger Thompson. I have already found a few references to Samuel, Alice and Richard Stratton.
     Railroad Depots of Central Ohio by Mark J. Camp is my third book.  It will give me a visual of where my grandfather, Lloyd V. Hugus worked.  I don't have any pictures of him working on the railroad. 
      If I miss a day of blogging, you'll know what I 'm doing.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ancestors at the Nazareth Academy

   In 1814 the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth founded a girls’ school just outside of Bardstown, Kentucky. The Sisters called the location Nazareth.  Nazareth was about 5 miles from the location of the future home of Elisha Gates and family.     
    My Aunt Jane had told us that several of our ancestors had attended and graduated from the Nazareth Academy.   On a trip to Kentucky in 2005, my sister, my wife and I stopped by the the girls’ school.  The academy has now been merged with Nazareth College and renamed. Some of the building now serve other purposes. The Sisters were wonderful hosts.  They showed us through their wonderful museum, and some of the rooms where our ancestors would have congregated.  The Sisters shared some old records with us.  It appeared that around 1900 someone at the academy had transcribed records of each alumnus onto 3 by 5 cards.   The front of the cards for my two ancestors are shown below.

Elizabeth Mattingly
(1832 - 1918)
Daughter of George Mattingly and Catherine Miles

Eliza Jane Gates

(1853 - 1903)
Daughter of William R. Gates and Elizabeth Mattingly

    As is normally the case, each record that is found opens new questions or areas of research.  Aunt Jane did not believe that these records were accurate.  She had been quite adamant that Eliza Jane Gates and Elizabeth Mattingly were:
  1. catholic.
  2. graduates of the Academy.
  3. longtime students at Nazareth Academy.
Returning to Nazareth Academy is on my list of things to do.  It always seems that shortly after I have visited archives I realize there is a few more pieces of information that I should have looked up.  At Nazareth I should have examined records of some of the siblings and cousins of Eliza Jane and Elizabeth.  These records might have shed more light on the accuracy of all the records.  But at this point I would certainly agree with Aunt Jane that the statement in that first record about the religion of Elizabeth Mattingly.   The Nelson County marriage record of her parents show that they were married by I. A. Reynolds.   The Rev. Ignatius A. Reynolds was pastor at St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Bardstown at the time.  Her uncle, Richard Pius Miles was the Catholic Bishop of Nashville from 1837 until 1860.  I would tend to believe that Elizabeth Mattingly was Catholic.   I also would tend to believe that Elizabeth’s age is incorrect.   She is shown as being 14 years old in 1848.   Her birthyear on her tombstone1 and her death certificate2 is given as 1832. Were these transcription errors? We might get some answers with another visit to Kentucky.

1. "Find A Grave - Millions of Cemetery Records." 25 Aug. 2013 <>
2. "Kentucky, Death Records, 1911-1955," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Aug 2013), Elizabeth Gates, 1918.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Civil War Ended at Samuel's Depot, Nelson County, Kentucky

     On April 10, 1865 Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.  But the war didn’t end on that day.   The last men to surrender did so not too far from where William R. Gates resided. William Gates is the second son of Elisha and Christina Gates and my GG-grandfather.   
     During the Civil War groups of men, not officially connected to the Confederate Army roamed the south and border states, raided flanks of the Union Army and stole provisions from wagons and trains.  Among the groups of Confederate Irregulars were Quantrill’s Raiders. Quantrill’’s Raiders started in Missouri where there were atrocities performed on and by both sides.  They were a quasi-guerilla type of unit that fought as far south as Texas and east into Kentucky and Tennessee.  After the official surrender by Robert E. Lee,  the Partisan Rangers (Quantrill’s Raiders) continued making raids throughout central Kentucky.
     On 10th May 1865 William C. Quantrill and some of his men were ambushed by Union soldiers in the vicinity of Bloomfield, Kentucky.  Bloomfield lay in Nelson County not too far from the Gates’ Cox’s Creek residence.  Quantrill was shot and paralyzed while trying to escape.  He died about a month later.  The remainder of his men continued raiding.  They were eventually surrounded and surrendered to Capt. Young, US Army, at Samuel's Depot, Nelson County, KY, on 26 July 1865.  Supposedly they surrendered on the front porch of the Samuel’s general store1.  Samuels [Samuel’s Depot] is the location of Saint Gregory’s Catholic Church.  Elisha Gates was one of the founders of the church and was buried in Saint Gregory’s Cemetery.  
    Among those who surrendered that day was Frank James, the older brother of Jesse James.  There was a good possibility that the James brothers knew the Samuel family well because their mother had married Dr. Reuben Samuel after her second husband had died.  
     Also surrendering that day was Alexander “Donnie” Pence.  Donnie remained in Nelson County, married Sarah Isabel Samuel,  and operated a 50-acre farm near Samuel’s Depot fairly close to Saint Gregory’s Church.  He became sheriff of Nelson County in 18712
     I would have to believe that William Gates and his daughter, Eliza Jane Gates (my great-grandmother) were very aware of the activities that took place in 1865.  At the very least they probably met Donnie Pence in the next few decades especially since Donnie Pence's wife was born about the same time as Eliza Jane Gates.

1. "1865 - Maker's Mark."

2. "QUANTRELL'S RAIDERS: story, pictures and information -" 2011. 22 Aug. 2013 <>

Friday, August 23, 2013

Western Kansas Homesteads

Clara and Jake Kilbourn

     In 1892 John Andrew Bell homesteaded 160 acres in the southwest quarter of section 15 in Township 33 South range 35 West of the Sixth Prime Meridan of Kansas.   This farm was about 12 miles east of Hugoton, Kansas.
     In 1894 Jonathan C. Kilbourn, homesteaded 160 acres in the northeast quarter of Section 4 in Township 35 South Range 40 West of the sixth Prime Meridian in Kansas.   The Kilbourn homestead was about 20 miles southwest of Hugoton.
     Lewis Joseph "Jake" Kilbourn married Clara Bell on 5 Sep 1901.  In 1913 they homesteaded 160 acres in the northeast quarter of section 28 in Township 34 South Range 38 West of the Sixth Prime Meridian in Kansas.
    All three homestead were within Stevens County.  Jonathan Kilbourn probably was not too successful at farming or he wasn't healthy enough to continue farming because in less than six years he was living in Indiana, where he had met and married his wife.
     While running the homestead, Jake drilled water wells as a sideline.  That eventually became his sole source of income so about 20 years after claiming the homestead he moved the family into Hugoton1.     
     On aerial images from 1990 there appears to be farm buildings on Jake's property, but there doesn't appear to be any now on Jake's or Jonathan's old homesteads.

By zooming in on this map you can see the land as it appears today.

1. "Jake Kilbourn Passes Following Long Illness." Hugoton Hermes, Nov 7, 1947.

2. "Google Maps Engine Lite." 2012. 23 Aug. 2013 <>

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mapping Three Farms

     Maps have always interested me.  When I was young I use to enjoy following our trips in the station wagon on whatever maps I could obtain.  I even had a map collection for a while.  I wish I had saved those maps.   
    While searching for information on a 3G-Grandfather, Joseph Homan I came across a page that gave me the location of his farm.  It was located along the banks of the Scioto River in Concord Township, Delaware County, Ohio.  
     Joseph's daughter, Elizabeth married Ira Fox of Jerome Township, Union County, Ohio.   I had originally found them in Union County but when I couldn't find their marriage record I had to broaden my search. Their marriage record was recorded in Delaware County.  The marriage record brought me to the land in Delaware County.  
     Ira and Elizabeth Fox settled on Ira's father's farm and upon the death of Chester Fox, Ira took over the farm.  Between 1851 and 1863 Ira and Elizabeth had seven children.  The youngest was Elizabeth Josephine (Lizzie) Fox.  
     Tragically, Ira drowned in the Scioto River on 9 Sep 1865.  I am still looking for newspaper accounts about this tragedy.
     Lizzie didn't go to far afield to find a husband.  She married Hardin R. Pickett.  That marriage lasted over 52 years.
     Studying these farms got me interested in creating a map to show the locations of these three farms.  The border between the two counties is between Concord Road and Jerome Road (at least in the vicinity of the Homan and Fox farms). All three farms are within five miles of each other.

To see the aerial view, change the Base map to Satellite View. 
Be sure to zoom in to get a better view.

Marriage Record of Ira Fox and Elizabeth Ann Homan1

1. "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 Aug 2013), Ira Fox and Elizabeth Ann Hamons, 1850.

2. Google Maps Engine, Google Imagery 2013 Digital Globe, State of Ohio / OSIP, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Barn is Gone

The Home of Henry Fox, 2007
     My mother's maternal grandparents grew up in Jerome Township, Union County, Ohio.  Since they are buried there we decided to visit Jerome during a trip to Ohio in 2007.   In the years prior to that trip I had ordered a copy of a county atlas in order to try to locate the farms of my ancestors.  In the atlas they had an image of the Farm and Residence of Henry Fox1 and as well as its location.   Henry Fox is my Great-Great-Granduncle.
The Barn of Henry Fox, 2007 

    What a surprise we had when we arrived in Jerome.  The house and barn were still standing and in reasonably good condition.   I knocked on the door to contact the owners but to no avail.  Later I learned that a real estate developer owned the house.
     Today as I was trying to create a new map to share on this blog,  I noticed on Google Maps that there was some construction in the area.  The barn was gone.  By using Google Earth's historical imagery I was able to determine that the barn was taken down sometime between 2007 and 2009.  I wish that I could have gone inside the barn back in 2007.   It is disappointing that we can't save all our old buildings.  In the name of progress, I guess.  There is something about walking in the same place that your ancestors once walked.

1.  Atlas of Union County Ohio,  A.S. Mowry, C. E.,  Harrison, Sutton & Hale, Philadelphia, 1877

2. Google Maps Engine, Google Imagery 2013 Digital Globe, State of Ohio / OSIP, U.S. Geological Survey, USDA Farm Service Agency.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dust Storms

Dust Storm in Oklahoma
Possibly in Hooker, Oklahoma
     The Dust Bowl of the 1930s was a series of severe dust storms that swept across the midwest.  This disaster was caused by poor farming techniques as well as the severe drought that the region experienced. The drought devastated the farmland and that together with the Depression was certainly one the reasons that Jayme’s maternal grandparents left Kansas and moved west.  
Dust Storm in Kansas
Probably in or near Hugoton, Kansas

     As one who enjoys his daily shower, I can't imagine having to live through one of these storms.  The fine dust made it inside the houses and covered everything.  The dust coated people's bodies but because of the drought, showers were not a daily affair.  
     If you missed the PBS Ken Burns Documentary, you ought to watch it.  It is available on DVD.
     Lewis Joseph "Jake" Kilbourne and Clara Bell Kilbourne (Jayme's great-grandparents) homesteaded land in Stevens County, Kansas but later moved into Hugoton.  Henry Claydean McBee and Ella Mae Tarr McBee (also Jayme's great-grandparents) lived in Hooker, Oklahoma.  Both Hugoton, Kansas and Hooker, Oklahoma felt the full force of these dust storms.

1. Burns, Ken,  The Dust Bowl. PBS Documentary, 2012

Monday, August 19, 2013

Drilling for Water instead of Oil


     In the wake of the Dust Bowl the United States Geological Survey together with the State Geological Survey of Kansas undertook an investigation of ground-water in Morton County, Kansas.  At the end of the study1 is an acknowledgement to Jake Kilbourne for providing data on wells drilled by him in Morton County.
     In 1906 Lewis Joseph “Jake”  Kilbourn (1879-1947),  (Jayme’s great-grandfather) homesteaded 160 acres in Stevens County close to the border of Morton County.  He ran cattle and drilled wells as a sideline.  About 1922 “Jake and his family moved to Hugoton and after that devoted much of his time to drilling water wells in the Hugoton Gas field”2.  

1. Morton County Geohydrology  Kansas Geological Survey 
Accessed 16 Aug 2013

2. "Jake Kilbourn Passes Following Long Illness." Hugoton Hermes, Nov 7, 1947.

In the foreground
Jake Kilbourn and Clara Bell Kilbourn

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Drilling for Pennsylvania Oil

Jeremiah Berlin
Permelia Olive Ensign Berlin
     The first oil boom in the United States occurred in Pennsylvania starting in 1859.  During the next few decades there were dramatic swings in the price of oil and production capacity far exceeded supply.
     In 1872 drilling was still big news as demonstrated by a few newspaper articles regarding wells on my 2nd great-grandfather, Jeremiah Berlin’s farm.

5 Mar 1872 Petroleum Centre
“Baum, Prentice & Co. have a well down about 300 feet on the Jeremiah Berlin farm in Ashland township about a mile and a half south of Mimm’s Hotel.“

22 May 1872 Petroleum Center Pennsylvania
“The well on the Jeremiah Berlin farm is down over 1,000 feet, and the rocks passed through have been very much the same as that found in the wells at St. Petersburg.  A third sand and paying well is confidentially looked for.”

No further news regarding the well could be located so the outcome is unknown.   By 1900 Standard Oil had created a monopoly and gained control of the oil market and oil discoveries in other parts of the country had moved the focus of the oil industry elsewhere.

Atlas of Clarion County1

View Larger Map

1. Caldwell's Illustrated Historical Combination Atlas of Clarion County, Pennsylvania,  J.A. Caldwell, Condit, Ohio 1877

Friday, August 16, 2013

Becoming a Citizen in 1820 Harrison County, Ohio

Harrison County Courthouse, Cadiz, Ohio
     A Union County, Ohio history pointed me towards some ancestors who might have lived in Harrison County. So when we were visiting relatives in Ohio, we arranged a side trip to coincide with a day when the Harrison County Genealogical Society was open.  After a drive through rural southeastern Ohio, with a stop at a cemetery, we arrived in Cadiz. I was blown away with the original documents that were filed with the genealogical society.  Evidently the local government had thrown many original documents in the dump but the society members rescued these papers.  Holding pages that were written between 1820 and 1850 was an experience.
     One of the documents was a request for citizenship by James B. Norris. The document was loaded with important genealogical information. Below is an image of the page with a transcription.

State of Ohio
Harrison County

To the Honourable the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in and for the County of Harrison and the State of Ohio.   
Now Sitting
 James B. Norris aged fifty years Born in the County of Wilshear (Wiltshire?), England & Parish of Dunhead, Removed from that to Novoscota [sic] and from thence to New York, arrived at New York within The United States of America from Novo Scota on the twentieth day of May in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred & seventeen owing allegience to George the third King of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland and intending to settle in the State of Ohio hereby reports himself for the purpose of being admitted to the rights of Citizenship within the United States, and prays that a record may be made of the same

July Ten 1820    J B Norris

     Finding this type of document certainly proves that local societies and archives are an essential resource for researchers.  It is also a shame when agencies (governmental or otherwise) are unable to store documents and artifacts with historical value.  

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jacob Hugus: Another case of Moving Graves

     I wrote about Jacob Hugus in an earlier post.  He had several patents about stills or making wine.  He also was well known for making Grandfather clocks.  There are currently several of his clocks that are still in working order.  A number of years ago I missed by a few months a clock that was up for auction.  I hope that if any come up for sale in the future that I can afford to purchase it or at the very least see it.
    Jacob Hugus died in 1835 and was buried in the Old German Cemetery in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.  The German cemetery was probably laid out by the German Reformed and Lutheran congregations1.  But if you were to drive to Greensburg today then you won't find the Old German Cemetery.  Instead you will find this parking lot.

View Larger Map

     In 1890 the city of Greensburg passed an ordinance which prohibited burials inside city limits.  After 1890 the cemetery fell into disrepair.   Around 1937 the city took possession of the property.  After moving some of the remains the land was turned into a city park.  An acquaintance of mine used to play at the park when he was young. Around 1957 the park was changed into a parking lot.  Photo of Old German cemetery/park 

     There seems to be some uncertainty whether Jacob and his wife were among those whose remains were moved.  There is a list of those not moved. These may not have been moved.  However there is a picture of a gravestone for both he and his wife in Saint Claire Cemetery on Findagrave.  Jacob Hugus Stone in Saint Claire Cemetery  List of old burials.  I guess when I visit Greesburg I will need to visit both locations, parking lot and cemetery.

1.  Boucher, John N.,  History of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania,  The Lewis Publishing Company,  New York, Chicago, 1906

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

An Abolitionist Ancestor

   Last night's episode of the genealogical television show, Who Do You Think You Are followed the search for Zooey Deschanel's ancestor who had been involved in the abolitionist movement.  I have ancestors who were on both sides of the slavery issue so John G. Norris holds a special place in my family tree because of his opposition to slavery.  
     The obituary of John Gilbert Norris appeared in the Marysville Tribune on May 20, 1874 page 2 Column 3.  In part it says, 
"Rev. John Gilbert Norris ... was reared in the Episcopalian faith but June 25, 1822 he joined the M. E. movement. In October 1829 he left the Methodist Episcopal  because they censured him for preaching against slavery. In 1830 he united with the Protestant Methodists but as they commenced to affiliate with slavery, he helped organize several churches in Ohio called Anti-Slavery Methodists."
     Preaching against slavery got John G. Norris into trouble in 1829 - more than thirty years before the Civil War.  It must have been difficult to speak out in opposition when you know there might be a severe cost for that opposition.  I'm glad that I had such ancestors.    

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

In Memory of Sister Marie Yvonne, O.P.

I’ve decided to change my usual post because today is the anniversary of the death of my sister, Diane (Sister Marie Yvonne, O.P.)  She passed away from cancer in 2009.   I still miss her.

This is a little long but I enjoy going back occasionally and reading it.

Eulogy for Sister Marie Yvonne Armstrong of the Precious Blood, OP
August 17, 2009

“A life poured out in love of God and neighbor”  (John Henry Newman In His Time edited by Phillippe Lefebvre, p. 255)

Who was this 4’10” woman who used to be 5’6” –the one that we became used to seeing in that ungainly, cumbersome body brace with not a grey hair in her head nor a wrinkle in her beautiful, peace-filled face with the serene smile?  The one who only 6 weeks ago trained and conducted from her wheel chair a bell choir in music she had composed (along with S Mary Diane).  She was in such excruciating pain that day that she almost backed out of conducting. But who would have known? We saw her pushing her jerry chair to chapel for Mass and Office, prayerfully participating   Where did her gracious, loving, shy yet stubborn ways come from?

We are once again at the heart of the mystery of the human person.  Let’s see if in between the lines of the dates and events we can come to discover something more of this beloved sister, sister-in-law, aunt, great aunt, Dominican sister, teacher, musician, dear friend, great cook, seamstress, patient and so much more.

Sister Marie Yvonne of the Precious Blood was born Diane Elaine Armstrong of John and Adele Armstrong in Los Angeles on October 12, 1940.  Librans are known for their balance, their love of beauty and their sense of justice, all traits she would develop.

Diane was baptized at the age of 4, October 14, 1944 along with her Mother and brother John  at St Elizabeth’s in Altadena.  Her godparents are listed as Forest and Margaret Madison who became life-long 2nd parents.  Good friends of the Armstrongs,  the Madisons attended the 50th wedding anniversary of John and Adele celebrated at Flintridge Sacred Heart.  There is a lovely photo of the Armstrong family sitting/standing in the patio there.  It had a prominent place in Sister’s room.

The eldest of 9 with 4 brothers and 4 sisters, Diane  has been deeply devoted to her family throughout her life.  John, David, George, Daniel, Jane, Julie, Dorothy and Margaret:  you and yours meant the world to her.  Just as she held your hands when you were little, count on that same care and protection as the months and years go by.

Diane’s memories of family life, of childhood and school were very happy.  The oldest usually develops a  heightened sense of responsibility, which can be mistaken for “bossiness.”  Certainly the Diane, who became Marie Yvonne, was very responsible and meticulous, looking out for the other -- one of the gifts of her place in the family.

She had a marvelous model in your mother who was a stay-at-home mom, devoted to her husband, her children, her garden, a true “homemaker”, a great cook and a wonderful Mom.   The family moved often because Mr. Armstrong was with Standard Oil Company.

Mr. Armstrong had been in the army and was coming home. Mrs. Armstrong was getting the children ready so they would look good for Daddy.  Diane was about 4 ½ and Johnny about 2 1/2.  Mom had combed Johnny’s hair when big sis came by and told him to sit on his training potty because she was going to fix his hair.  Diane took the scissors and wacked away. Mom was horrified when she saw Johnny with big hunks of hair missing.  Welcome home, Daddy!

Just before this at their home on Lake St, Altadena, 4 year old Diane began her career as a gourmet cook.  She decided to fix breakfast.  Having observed her mother innumerable times, she got out the eggs and broke them in the bowl, added salt and pepper and just the right amount of milk and stirred.  Then she got the pan, put it on the stove, added butter and poured in the mixture.  Being a bright girl she went to wake her mother and tell her  “hambled eggs”.  Mom understood, got up, turned on the stove and they enjoyed delicious scrambled eggs. This was the beginning of a life-long passion for cooking—our own Julia Child (I think she wanted to see this movie).  From a four year old scrambling eggs, she became a gourmet cook delighting her Flintridge community at Thanksgiving with the best cinnamon breakfast rolls and a fabulous sweet potatoe casserole among other delights. In fact it was over an argument about fixing jello that she and Glenn Anne became such good friends.  Yvonne did much the same at her annual set reunions.  For 33 years she planned the menus and was the chief cook, much to the satisfaction of her set. She even tried her hand at a wedding cake for her sister’s wedding.

The family moved several times and ended up in Taft on a Standard Oil lease. This was not an exciting place to live, rather isolated.  One day the children decided that they were bored and should run away. Diane cooked up the plan and Mom fixed them a good picnic lunch, knowing that they were perfectly safe and could only go a small distance to the next lease. The kids had a great time and Mom finally had a couple of hours to herself which she relished.  It was from Taft that Diane went to Flintridge Sacred Heart for her four years of high school.

She loved these years as a boarder on the hill.  Her senior yearbook describes her with sparkling blue eyes, blonde curls and an aptitude for science.  She was artistic and daily Mass was a must.  There is no mention of music but there is of sewing.  In the second semester of her senior year, Diane was asked to take over for the sewing teacher.  She wouldn’t have to teach but just help the girls finish the projects that they were working on.  This delighted her because she would have plenty of time to work on her own sewing projects.  At the end of the year, the sisters gave Diane a silver thimble as a token of appreciation.  This was one possession she never gave away.  She was such a good seamstress that over the years she made her own patterns.  It was at Flintridge that her vocation was nurtured.  Sister attributed Sister Benigna and Sister Margaret as having the greatest influence on her.

Diane entered September 7 of 1958 following her graduation.  She received the habit June 13, 1959 and the name of Marie Yvonne of the Precious Blood.  She made her first profession on June 24, 1960 and final vows June 24, 1966. Sister received her BA in Music from Holy Names and her MA in Music with a major in Organ Performance in 1974, also from Holy Names.  A year later she received her secondary teaching credential. Sister Mary Bertha recognized musical talent in sister and  nurtured it. Sister Marie Yvonne listed herself as a music teacher at the motherhouse from 1962-63, at St Anthony’s, San Francisco from 1963-65 (an assignment she loved) and again at the motherhouse from 1965 to 1973. It was during this time that she served as First Chantress, a role she relished since it has such an impact on our prayer life.  She went to Flintridge, her alma mater, in 1973 until 1990, serving as music teacher and prioress. She tried her hand as classroom teacher for two years at San Gabriel Mission High school before returning to the QHRC School of Music from 1992 to 2001 as its principal.

I had the good fortune to spend several years with Yvonne at Flintridge. The music cottage is a bit isolated from the high school building where most of the action is.  Wanting to make her feel at home and get to know the staff, I asked Sister to take a homeroom (15 minutes 3 times a week is all that it was).  She politely refused.  Using what I consider to be fairly strong powers of persuasion I persisted but had met my match in her equally stubborn refusal.  I tried each year but met with failure.  However, God does have great plans and God let Yvonne have it.  The senior Kairos retreat program was introduced and Marie Yvonne became a true believer and entered into this powerful program as one of the adult leaders, setting her shyness aside and letting her strong faith shine through as she worked with the student and adult teams.  So much for 15 minute homerooms!  Needless to say Yvonne was an integral part of the staff, much loved by faculty and seniors, not just an isolated music teacher.  Her last six years on the hill she was also the leader of the sisters’ community.  It was while at Flintridge that Yvonne found a marvelous music teacher from whom she took regular lessons for several years.  This was where she became the master organist, as well as composer.

One of her lasting accomplishments was her collaboration in the development of our Dominican Praise. In her own words:
“I have had many opportunities to travel, but my last traveling was done between 1999 and 2001. During that period I flew several times to the Adrian Dominican Motherhouse in Michigan to work on a Committee in collaboration with Dominican Sisters from some of the other Dominican Congregations. Our goal was to create a new prayer book for Dominican Sisters to use when praying the Liturgy of the Hours. The book eventually came to be called Dominican Praise.”  See p. xxiii for the list of contributors—hers is the first name, along w/ Renilde and Mary Diane.  S Gloria brought a note for Yvonne  from S Honora who worked with Yvonne on Dominican Praise in which she says “Your singing spirit echoes in our prayer book…I promise you my prayers and love as you sing now in – perhaps—a new key.  You are ever a part of us !”

Sister’s last assignment has been at St Martin’s care center and her ministry has been suffering and prayer, though she  certainly kept up with her music, her composition, her relationships.  But just as with Kairos, God has another path on this journey.  In her own words :
“In 2001 I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma which is cancer of the bone marrow.  That year I underwent serious back surgery to remove a malignant tumor and one vertebra in my lower back.  Two more surgeries followed to clean out infections.  After the third surgery the doctors gave me a year or less to live.  I began giving away my possessions and preparing for death.  For five years I was dying of cancer.  Finally, I made up my mind that I didn’t want to do that anymore, so now I am living with cancer instead.  The cancer’s in remission and I’m trying to live each day to the fullest.  However, the illness has left my neck and spine somewhat deformed and caused me to shrink about 8 inches.  For the most part I’m pretty independent.”   One of the treasures she did not give away was her father’s easy chair which Yvonne used in her room.  It was a way of connecting with her beloved Dad.

And live each day she did knowing that this is God’s moment and this is where God is present –the Sacrament of the Present Moment.  Most of this time she has been in pain, though most never guessed the extent of  it.  When asked on a scale of 1 to 10, she would respond  8 to 10 and sometimes 13 to15.  She never showed it by impatience, facial expression, or isolation.  She welcomed anyone who came to her door, always asking how they were.

In the early part of this year she was in excruciating pain.  Her doctor decided to remove the hardware in her spine and fitted her with a different brace.  After physical therapy she came home and was able to be in a regular wheel chair which made her happy.  Things seemed to be going ok.  A few weeks ago she complained of numbness in her legs.  She was hospitalized for a procedure to restore the flow of blood to her legs.  The doctor took a sample of her lymph nodes to send to Stanford.  The day she went to the hospital, August 13, he received the report.  Later that evening with Drs Meheegan, Martin and Chalma present, Sister was told that she had a rampant lymphoma throughout her system.  She was offered a choice of chemotherapy, steroid treatment or hospice.  She said “Hospice and I want to go home.”  At 11pm she did indeed go home, home to her God.  Her body had taken all that it could and she knew it several weeks before.

We have been blessed to watch a saint in the making.  Yvonne was so faithful to people and very loving when she got to know you.  The McPhee’s, her second family, can attest to that as can her countless music students and their parents.  Yvonne had a fine sense of humor and did not take herself seriously, something that helped her greatly these last years.  She was meticulous, sometimes compulsive and a great putterer.  She could spend hours neatening.  When she was treasurer and we had three colors of the forms, she not only had “white out” she had it in the three colors of the forms!

Her thoughtfulness is legendary.  Even her last evening she sent the sisters home, saying she’d see them in the morning.  She was grateful to Tara for accompanying her in the ambulance

Yvonne never wanted to be a bother or to put anyone out.  She wouldn’t tell Glenn Anne how much she was suffering because she didn’t want her to worry.  Sister gracefully and lovingly said her final goodbye to Jennifer as she left for the hospital.

This is a woman who never complained but accepted her path.  She choose to accept death, then choose to embrace life, and then again welcomed death.  She embraced her pain and wasn’t going to make anyone else carry it.  You know how independent she was, even to fixing her own food when she could.  It may well have been this stubborn independence which kept her alive so long.

Her love of Mary followed her all through her life as did her love of the Blessed Sacrament  She spent a quiet daily Holy Hour in the chapel.  She loved her doctors.  And we are all grateful to you.  You now have a good friend and former patient in heaven.

In the end Yvonne was stripped of everything.  She knew it was time to go.  And she did with tremendous courage, equanimity, joy and patience.  Here is the good and valiant woman!

On the back of her door she had this at her eye level:

Let Your God Love You  by Edwina Gately  ( from a recent retreat)

Be Silent         Let your God
Be still         Look upon you.
Alone That is all.
Empty         God knows
Before your God God understands
Say nothing God loves you
Ask nothing Within an enormous love

Be silent         And only wants to look upon you
Be still With that love.
   Let your God – Love you

At the end she was living this  Let us go and do likewise.  We love you, Yvonne

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Tempest of Shooting Stars

       Last night’s talk on the news about the Perseids meteor shower reminded me of a story about my Great-great-grandmother Elizabeth Homan.  Elizabeth was Lizzie Fox Pickett’s mother.     
     In 1833 Elizabeth Homan’s father, Joseph, a blacksmith decided to move his family from Rockingham County, Virginia to Ohio.  He settled in Muskingum County for five years, before moving to Licking County for ten years and eventually to Delaware County.  He traveled rather late in the year because we know that the family was on the road to Muskingum County on November 12, 1833.  We know the exact date they were traveling because of the family story about shooting stars.  
     The Grundy County, Illinois History1 states 
     “. . . while en route [the family] witnessed the remarkable phenomenon of shooting stars which occurred that year. They made their journey westward with team and wagon, and one night took refuge in a school-house, in which place they saw the wonderful astronomical display. . .
     It is because of this astronomical display that we know exactly when they were traveling.  Contemporary accounts tell of the shooting stars falling about half as frequently as  flakes of snow in a snowstorm.  It was estimated that about a quarter of a million meteors were visible during the night in Boston.  There were at least 40 per second.  It frightened people half to death.  Nov 12, 1833 is still considered to be the greatest astronomical display in recorded history.  This was the Great Leonid Meteor Shower of 1833.
     In the summer of 1969 I participated in a sailboat race from Los Angeles to Honolulu.  About 2:30am on the morning of July 15, I spotted an incredibly bright shooting star.  As I wrote in my log, "spotted brilliant shooting star...lit up the whole sky... and left a huge vapor trail".  I remember that I could have read a book, it was that bright.   It left quite an impression on me. 
     I think that if I had seen that starry night in 1833 that it would have made quite an impression also.

NASA article regarding Nov 12, 1833
1.  Biographical & Genealogical Record of LaSalle & Grundy Counties, Illinois, Volume II, Chicago, 1900, p708-711

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Engagement Customs

     Last night I attended the engagement party of my niece Ellie and her fiancee Sachi.  Sachi’s family is from India so I experienced some new customs. Sachi's family welcomed us into their home for a wonderful evening.  
     The evening caused me to reflect upon marriage records that I have uncovered for my family.  One of those was a marriage bond.  In the eighteenth and early nineteenth century a marriage bond was required in some states.  It was a guarantee by the groomsman or some close relative that the marriage was legal.  This bond was from 1801 for the marriage of my GGG-grandparents Thomas Miles and Christine Gardiner.  The bond was for the amount of fifty pounds.  This bond was accompanied by a note from Christine's father, Clement Gardiner, giving permission for her to marry Thomas.  

A transcription of the bond follows.
Know all men by these presents that Thomas Miles and James Spaulding are held firmly bound unto his Excellency James Garrard Governor of Kentucky in the full and just sum of fifty pounds current money to be paid to his Excellency aforesaid and his successors to which payment will bind ourselves our heirs exects [executors] admins [administrators of an estate] jointly and separatly[sic] firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 5th day of February 1801
The condition of the above obligation is such that if there should be no legal cause to obstruct a marriage shortly to be solemnized between the above bound Thomas Miles and Christine Gardiner daughter of Clement Gardiner then the above obligation to be void else to remain in full force 

A partial transcription of the note signed by Clement Gardiner:
Clerk, Nelson County
The ???    hereby authorized to issue marriage license for Mr. Thomas Miles and my daughter Christine Gardiner ??????
Feb 6, 1801                       Clement Gardiner      
Witness  Thomas Miles
             James Spaulding