Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A November Drive

My father and I enjoy going on drives.  Sometimes, we go to familiar places and other times, we try a new direction.  I've had people look at me in puzzlement when I talk about our latest adventure.  It is something that I enjoy and probably take a bit for granted.  It is an easy ride in a car especially with the heater running, comfortable seats, and protected from the wind.  I've often thought about the drive my great grandmother made in a wagon back in 1910 traveling to her new home.

Wedding Picture - December 1908
My great grandparents decided to leave Tennessee upon the encouragement of my great grandfather’s brother, Albert.  There was no land to be had for an inexpensive price in Tennessee and no opportunity for a young couple to start a new life.  So, Pop (David Carl ) Friddle traveled west and found a job working for the railroad and set up a homestead.  Mom (Sophia) Friddle followed a few months later.  It must have been frightening for that 16 year old girl to leave everyone she knew and loved behind and travel clear across the country to a place that was foreign with small child to care for.  Mom Friddle boarded a train probably near Mountain City, TN – possibly Damascus or Abingdon, VA and began her long journey.

I doubt she had much in the way of luggage – only her clothes and that of her son, Jack.  He was only a year old and Mom Friddle was 16.  The train ride took several days while I’m sure she slept in the seat and kept her young son in line.  She arrived in Enterprise, OR on a cold November day.  Mom Friddle still had a two day wagon ride to get to Troy, OR which was where her husband was to meet her.  She stayed at a boarding house that first night, before she began the next part of her trip.  The lady who ran the boarding house must have thought that this girl was ill prepared for the trip.  I’m sure Mom Friddle didn't have a warm coat that was meant for the weather out west, just what she was used to in her Tennessee Mountains.  The woman gave Mom Friddle a coat and heated up rocks to keep around her and her baby’s body as they began their journey to Troy, OR. 

I don’t know all the specifics as the story was related in a letter written by my grandmother telling the story to a relative.  However, Dad and I've made that trip from Enterprise, OR to Troy, OR in a nice warm car on a nice paved road – I’m sure there was nothing nice about that particular trip.  The trip is about 50 miles, so Mom Friddle would have probably traveled about 25 miles each day probably in near freezing temperatures.   She must have been incredibly weary and cold by the time she reached Troy, OR and finally met up with Pop Friddle.  The only relief that she must have felt was that he could take over the driving, because they still had at least another 10 to 15 miles to reach the homestead.  The trip from Troy, OR to Grouse Flats today is a bit of a bear.  It is an extremely steep and winding road that even in a car takes about 10 minutes to go from the bottom to the top.  By that time, it was a matter of reaching their destination on what I’m sure was a bumpy road that probably had already had seen some snow.  When they reached their new home, I’m not sure if Mom Friddle was happy or frightened. 

It was a very simple house that probably wasn't more than a shack.  It probably only had a single room and when the wind blew, the house rattled with it.  It was built a few miles from the nearest water.  Since, Pop Friddle was away during the weekdays working for the railroad, Mom Friddle and Jack would have to walk to get their water every day.  Their nearest neighbor was Pop Friddle’s brother, Albert, who ended up being a mentor to Mom Friddle.  My grandmother used to tell us about Mom Friddle being alone in that shack in the mountains during the winter with the cougars screaming and all other sorts of wildlife right outside the door.  I can’t imagine how isolated she must have felt.  Perhaps Pop Friddle was home often during these first few months, but the experience for that 16 year old girl must have been overwhelming.  She didn’t know how to cook much, make soap or any of the other housewifely skills needed.  Mom Friddle had lived her short life, spoiled by an adoring step grandmother who had taken care of her almost since birth.  Here she was – a young mother and wife who had to learn how to survive because there was no other choice. 
Pop Friddle teaching Mom Friddle how to shoot in the spring of 1911.
When I think of the long wagon ride back on the November day in 1910 – I think about that girl who had no knowledge of the life that was before her.  I wonder at how frightened she might have been, but I suspect that under that fear was the determination and steel of the impressive woman that she became.  When I knew her, she was an old woman with a constant tic probably from Parkinson’s disease.  She had a crutch because of a broken hip….but oh the stories that she could tell.  I wish I had known enough to ask her the details about that long ago trip from Tennessee to Oregon.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

I didn't appreciate the significance of the history of Thanksgiving when I was young.  I knew the general stuff about the Pilgrims because we got to color pictures of them and talked about them in a general sense.  When I got older, teachers only seemed to want to spent a few minutes on the most general and unexciting of details.  History is a story that needs to be taught like a story and not a bunch of names and dates.  I didn't have an appreciation for significance of the Pilgrims and those other early settlers who arrived in the next ten years.  I didn't understand the deprivation that they suffered or the loss of people.  There were a lot of these new settlers who in a few months lost husbands, wives, and children to sickness in those first few months.  I'm not sure that most teachers really know that story to be fair...they probably received the same type of education that I did on the subject.

I've been researching my family's genealogy for 15 years.  During that time, I've come across mostly common people who have made their way in the world - each in their own unique way.  However, so much of my family comes from the New England area and I knew that it was likely that I had a few Mayflower ancestors.  Last year I wrote about these ancestors in:

You might say that now when I sit down to our Thanksgiving table with family and friends that I have a new appreciation of who has come before me.  

I think that this was my second Thanksgiving ..as I am the toddler sitting in the high chair.  So much on the table is familiar from my childhood - from the candle holders, the china, salt and pepper shakers to the Turkey in the center.  As I place that Turkey on our table once again, I know that it has been our family since about 1948 and has been on every Thanksgiving table during my lifetime.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Henry - A Grand Dog!

Whenever my siblings and I get together, one of the topics that often comes up is that of the family dog, Henry.  Even though it has been over 30 years since we lost him to the effects of old age…he is a part of all of our childhoods.

Mom went with her mother to pick out a puppy for her mother and they decided to get a puppy for her family as well.  Grandma was getting a Pomeranian who was a big ball of fluff that she called Cream Puff.  Mom chose Henry – a Pekingese that was much bigger than a handful.  When she brought him home, Mom and Dad had three kids all under the age of three.   Mom said that he was so tiny those first few weeks that she had to help him down the steps when he went outside to go to the bathroom.  My Dad named two of our pets in my lifetime…and Henry was one of them (Dad was never all that creative with names.)  However, I must admit that the name Henry suited our dog. 

Henry took his role as guardian very seriously.  When a German shepherd was getting too close to my brother in the front yard, Henry took after the intruding dog.  You wouldn't think that a Pekingese could do that much, but there is a lot of strength in their stocky bodies and they have incredibly powerful jaws.  It took someone pulling Henry off to save the larger dog.  Whenever we were out playing, Henry would stay with us and watch over us.  When Mom would call, he would come running so Mom would know where we were at…once she was reassured, he would return to guard duty over us kids. 

We lost Henry several times – probably through the carelessness of children.  Most times, it wasn't very long until we got him back…perhaps a few hours.  One Thanksgiving we were heading up to my grandparents and we had to stop in the eastern part of the Lewiston Orchards.  When we got back in the car and headed on, Henry got left behind.  We returned to get him…but he wasn't anywhere to be seen.  So, we continued on our journey to my grandparents for Thanksgiving.  When we returned home we spent a lot of time looking for Henry but never found him.  A few months or so later, Mom and Dad were driving along that same road, and they spied Henry sitting in the exact same place that he had been left before unintentionally.  He was well fed and looked healthy but when he saw my parents he was obviously happy to see his family. 

I've always thought that Henry had a majestic look to him.  There was a pride and dignity about him that reflected his heritage.  Known as “Lion Dogs”, Pekingese dogs belonged to emperor of China and his court.  They didn't even show up outside of China until the 1860’s.  With his heavy coat of fir, Henry could often be found in the summertime outside sitting on a sprinkler to cool off.  It was always a funny sight.  However in the winter time, Henry was in his element.  His favorite activity was playing in the snow.  I remember the last year he was alive, he was playing in the fresh snow just like a puppy.

We lost Henry on Mother’s day, the year I was 13 years old.   During the previous few years, Henry’s muzzle had turned to white and during that last year; he seemed to have lost some of his patience with children.  The week before he died, he went around and visited each of the neighbors and one of them told us that it was like he was saying goodbye.  He was 16 years old and had lived a long and good life taking care of his family and watching over “his” kids.  There is no doubt that he remains a treasured memory of my and my sibling’s childhood.  Henry was a grand dog!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Who is Rhetta?

Every once in a while, I come across a name that I am curious about…today it was Rhetta Shaw.  The only thing that I really had on Rhetta was that she was born about 1869 to Mary Pennington and William Shaw.  She was the granddaughter of Elijah Ephraim Pennington and Mary Osborne…It is time to see if I can find out some more about her.

My first conclusion is the Shaw must be one of those hard to find names…because it is difficult to find Shaw in the census records, which means that it has been transcribed many ways.  I have a note that she was married to a Charlie McCoy, so I approach it from that direction.  After a search, I find that her name is Loretta and not Rhetta…that certainly makes sense.  I have a cousin whose name is Loretta and is called Rhetta.   Then there is a census record for 1910 with a Charles McCoy married to Nancy living in Johnson Co., TN.  I go back to the first census record that I found for William Shawn and Mary Pennington and their daughter was named Nancy and was listed as being born about 1869.  So…now I believe that Rhetta is now Nancy Loretta Shaw.   I find a listing that she is buried in Mock Cemetery which I know is very near where the Pennington family lived – in fact it is literally across the street and up on a hillside.  I now believe that this is the correct Rhetta Shaw.  I locate her death record and it says that she is about 60 years old and the daughter of Wm Shaw and Becca Pennington and that she is the wife of Chas McCoy.    Her cause of death is flux.  So, now that I have found Rhetta…what about her mother.

According to the death record that I have just located, Loretta’s mother is listed as Becca Pennington.  Now, I have seen Mary Pennington listed at times a Mary Rebecca Pennington so this isn't too much of a stretch.  Her husband, William Shaw is listed as dying in 19 Dec 1917 and is buried at the Floyd Welch Cemetery in Ashe Co., NC.  However, there is no Mary or Rebecca Shaw in that cemetery.  Others have a listing that Mary died on 2 Apr 1942.  I do find a death record for a Mat Shaw who died on 2 Apr 1942 in Ashe Co., NC as a pauper in the County Home.  Her husband is listed as Bill Shaw.  There is no listing as to her parents, birth date or birthplace and she dies of the infirmities of age at the age of 91 years old.  She is buried the same day at the County Home cemetery.  I suspect that this is the Mary Pennington who is the daughter of Eliajah Ephraim Pennington and Mary Osborne.  I know that she had one known daughter who died in 1923 and her husband died in 1917.  It is rather sad that she seemed to die all alone in the world when she must have had many nieces and nephews who lived nearby.

Now back to Loretta Shaw and Charlie McCoy…I have seen his death date as 27 Nov 1927, but I would sure like to see a death record.  While searching for said record, I find a marriage listing for Charlie McCoy and Nancy Shaw of 20 Apr 1883 in Johnson Co., TN.  This isn't a strange occurrence – it was probably a shorter distance to get married in Johnson Co., TN while living in Ashe Co., NC especially up in Laurel Twp.  There are a lot of couples who eloped over in Johnson Co., TN.    However, this makes Nancy Loretta Shaw 14 years of age when she was married…so elopement seems likely.  So after a search, I am unable to locate Charlie McCoy’s death record, but I do have a listing in the Ashe Co., NC cemetery records as being buried in Mock Cemetery as well as a listing for his wife, so I suspect the date is correct.  Also listed is that his parents are Harrison McCoy and Caroline Oliver who I know to be Hiram Harrison McCoy and Caroline C. Oliver.

In summary…this is what I have found:
Mary Rebecca Pennington b. abt 1846 d. 2 Apr 1942 m. William Shaw on 8 Dec 1867.  (He was born 1843 and died in 1917)  Mary died in poverty and was buried as a pauper. I have found one child listed and that is Nancy Loretta Shaw.  She was born abt 1869 and died of the flux on 13 May 1923.  Her husband, Charlie died in 1927 and both of them are buried in Mock Cemetery.   I know that they had two children from census records – Ross McCoy and Riley McCoy, but that is a search for another day!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Daddy’s Gone

Two little girls were walking home from church one Sunday morning when the younger one told her sister that she felt like something bad had happened.  When they got home from church that morning, they found out that something terrible had happened.  Their Daddy had died in a hunting accident and it was November 9th, 1947 - 65 years ago today!

Richard hunting a Lynx
Oliver Richard Tannahill was known in his family as Richard.  The Oliver was never mentioned.  He and his sister Olive Rachel (aka Sally) were the youngest of eight children.  The twins were born on April 27, 1912 in Peru, Chautauqua Co., KS.  In the late 1920’s, Richard moved to Lewiston area and graduated from high school and met his future wife.  Richard and Capitola went to Vancouver, WA and married secretly.   In the next several years, he worked at his ranch, transported lumber down from his friend’s mill on McCormick Ridge.  Richard was also one of the mainstays of his family…his siblings and nieces and nephews counted on his support and advice.  He was always a hard worker but he had a special passion and skill for hunting.  Richard would go up to hunting camp and fill his tags that of all of his friends.  He also enjoyed bird hunting.

Richard & Capitola abt 1934
That day began like many Sunday mornings for Richard…he and a friend went out hunting for a few hours.  They were out at Webb Ridge hunting pheasant, when Richard’s friend was startled and his gun discharged.  The shotgun charge hit Richard on the right side of his head and he died instantaneously at 35 years old.  By the time, the two little girls arrived home, their mother, Capitola, had been notified.  I imagine that she must have sat there in the living room in disbelieving shock when she heard the door open that signaled that her two daughters were home.  I never talked to my grandmother about that day – but my mother, Betty, was the younger of those two little girls.  She refused to believe that her Daddy wasn't coming home.  Nothing could convince her…so besides dealing with her own grief, Grandma Cappy had two small children who didn't want to believe that their Daddy was gone.  The coroner and mortician was a friend of the family named Andy Vassar.  He took it upon himself to try and rebuild Richard’s face so his daughters could seem him one more time.  It didn't help my mother much because she simply said that “That isn't my Daddy…that is Uncle Hubert.”

My grandmother kept diaries for many years that are filled will all kinds of anecdotes and stories of her daily activities.  Reading that diary from 1947 is like reading the end first so the events become a prelude to a tragedy.  Just a few days before that Sunday morning accident, Richard had ordered the new family car that would be delivered the next spring.  The night before Richard took his family to see “Stairway to Heaven,” the movie ticket is still in the leather jacket he wore.  On the day of his death, Grandma Cappy simply wrote in her diary…”Oh my darling Richard!”  The next day…she wrote of choosing his coffin and making arrangements.  Then she wrote about the day that she buried him.  Nothing was written in the diary for the rest of the year. 

My mother remembered only pieces about the funeral.  The most vivid memory was being walked away from the cemetery and hearing the creaking of the cables as they were lowering the coffin in the ground.  Some woman pointed out a dandelion to my mother to try and divert her attention.  Mom wasn’t real sure why some lady wanted her to look at the dumb flower.  She told me that she could hear that creaking sound in her dreams from then on.

One of the few pictures of the Richard Tannahill Family -
Cappy, Betty, Richard and Joan
Richard was mourned by many friends and family.  By all accounts, his funeral was well attended and the chapel was overflowing.  Mom remembered some man coming to the door handing money to her mother.  The man told her mother that Richard had loaned him money and he felt that he needed to pay it back.  This happened several times. 

Grandma Cappy both adored her husband and was somewhat exasperated by him.  As hard as he worked…he played almost as hard at both baseball and hunting.  No matter where he was, he could be found with a passel of kids following him around.  My mother had few memories of her father...she remembered being in trouble with her mother and pouting at the table.  Her father sat across from her and slurped up spaghetti to get her to smile.  I've often wondered what my Mom’s family would have been like had her father lived.  On that terrible day, 65 years ago…everything changed in the blink of an eye and suddenly a beloved father and husband was gone forever.

Monday, November 5, 2012

My DNA Journey - The Results

Several weeks ago, I wrote about taking the Ancestry.com Autosomal DNA test and I promised that I would let you know what the results were.  In my previous blog (http://genheirlooms.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-dna-journey.html) I talked about what I expected to find out from my test…here is what I found out.

My supposition was that I would be 100% European – with the possibility that I might have some Native American ancestry or an Asian lineage.  Despite every family story – the test shows that I have no Native American ancestry.  Like most people, the story of that Indian in the background is just that…a story.  In fact, there weren’t a lot of surprises in my results…except one.

Most of my ancestry is Scandinavian or from Norway, Sweden and Denmark.  I would imagine that most people tested whose families come from England and Ireland will most likely have the same result.  The Vikings left a lot of descendants all over Europe both as merchants and raiders.  I suspect that most of this ancestry for me comes through England and Ireland.  From what I have been able to surmise – most of my English ancestors came to England  through the Norman Invasion in 1066.  Since there isn’t a lot of record keeping…going much beyond that is difficult.  The Scandinavian portion is 55%.  Most of my paternal side of the family probably comes from England and probably makes us the majority of this Scandinavian branch.  There is also ancestry on my maternal lines that are Irish and Scottish and could also be part of this Scandinavian portion.

I have 16% Central European ancestry which includes Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.  I am actually surprised that this isn’t a bigger chunk of my family background.  My paternal great grandmother’s ancestry primarily came out of this region – mostly likely Germany and Austria.  My paternal grandfather also had ancestry from Germany.  Most of my German ancestors left Europe in the early to mid-1700’s and ended up in New York and West Virginia. 

The Southern European label is the one that confuses me the most.  According to my test, I have 13% Southern European ancestry which includes Italy, Spain & Portugal.  As far as I know, I have no ancestry from that area.  It is a large enough chunk that it leads me to believe that it might come from my Friddle ancestry.  I make this guess…because of all my family lines, this is the one I know the least about.  My great great grandfather first shows up in 1858 in a record.  By that point, he has been married and already had several children and the 1858 record is his second marriage.  I’ve never been able to locate an 1850 census record for him nor any mention of parents.  My great uncle told me that his father had told him that Moses Friddles was supposedly a foundling child.  He was taken in by a family and raised by them and his ancestry is unknown.  I have no proof of the accuracy of this story.  Most of my family lines trace back to before the 1700’s with only a few exceptions and most of those lines come through either England or Germany.  So…this is definitely a puzzle.

My test also says that I have 12% British Isles ancestry.  Since, there is such a predominance of Scandinavian ancestry in my family that I think comes through England…this ancestry is also puzzling.  I suspect that is an area that had little contact with the pillaging Vikings which leads me to guess that it might be Wales.  According to some of the information that I have read, my mother’s paternal grandfather’s mother was supposedly from a Welsh background.  With a surname like Jones – I’m not sure how you can make that assumption because that name is so common.    However, it is a decent theory to look into.

The test leaves me with a lot of questions and possible contacts.  Several matches have come up that are likely 4th to 6th cousins.  With as many family lines that I have – I suspect that it won’t be easy to really establish a true match.  However the question that I have always had about the Native American ancestry is answered and like most others…is proved false.    (See Blog – Do I have Native American ancestry? - http://genheirlooms.blogspot.com/2011/11/do-i-have-native-american-ancestry.html for more info!)
So here are some of my main family lines and my best guess as to where they came from:
Paternal Lines:
  • Johnson – England
  • Gage – England
  • Gallup – England
  • Montanye – France
  • Shawver – Germany
  • Pitsenbarger – Switzerland
  • Lyons – Ireland
  • Pope – England

Maternal Lines:
  • Tannahill – Scotland
  • Brown – England or Ireland
  • Bailey – Ireland
  • Jones – Wales
  • Dollar – Scotland
  • Friddle - ???
  • Pennington – England
  • Allen – England
  • Kelley – Ireland
  • Fillinger - Ireland

Friday, November 2, 2012

Orlando Gage

Orlando Gage was the eldest child of Gilbert Gage and Phoebe Ann Allen.  He was born on 2 Apr 1850 in Knox, Albany Co., NY.  His family had lived in the New York area for several generations and while they were not wealthy, they must have been well known. 

Orlando Gage as a young man - probably when he married  Charity Hotaling.
Charity Ellen Hotaling Gage
Orlando married Charity Ellen Hotaling on 12 Jan 1875 at the United Methodist Church in Delmar, Albany Co., NY.  She was the daughter of Michael Hotaling and Ellen Robertson.  The young couple had three sons and a daughter before Charity’s death just a month after her daughter was born of quick consumption.  Orlando was left with three boys and baby daughter all under the age of 10 years old when their mother died.  Several months later, Orlando married a spinster schoolteacher in May 1886.  (See My Gallup Branch – Edith - http://genheirlooms.blogspot.com/2012/09/my-gallup-branch-edith.html)  According to my Aunt Phebe, the boys were taken care of by Orlando’s sisters for a short time – but they were too much too handle along with their own families.  After Orlando and Edith married, Orlando began working for Pullman Car Shops helping to build train cars and doing the carpentry work.   A few years later, Edith worried about the rambunctious boys getting into trouble in the city, and so Orlando and Edith moved into the farm that she had been born at and left the city.  Edith farmed the place for a few years until Orlando left his job at the Pullman Car Shops and worked on the farm and did carpentry work on the side.   By this time, their family had grown by four additional living children.  Their oldest died in a tragic accident when he was a few years old.  Granddad Gage (Ora Silas) was the oldest living boy in the second family and then the twins Pete & Phebe and their youngest, Alice.   The farm proved to be too small and in 1900, they moved to a larger farm and then bought their own farm in 1905.
Edith holding the twins (Pete & Phoebe with Alice on her lap)  Ora standing next to her and Orlando on the right.

Their life on their small farm was short lived.  Edith hurt her back and became sick with pneumonia.  Orlando took care of his wife and at her death; he took care of the funeral arrangements and then went home to his bed and died himself eight days after her death.  A Rev. N. McLeod wrote the following obituary:

After a brief illness of pneumonia and within a week after the death of his wife from pneumonia, elder Orlando Gage passed to his reward Jan 16, 1908.  His death caused deep sorrow in the community and especially in the Church and where he was a member and regular attendant.

He was born in Knox, NY Apr 2, 1850.  In early life he learned and followed the trade of carpenter.  He lived for some time in Albany and was an attendant at the West End Presbyterian Church.

He married Miss Charity Ellen Hotlaling of Clarkesville, NY from where four children were born viz. Burton L., Edwin W., Leroy J. and Nellie Mable now Mrs. Harry Lewis.  Mrs. Gage died Oct 9, 1885 while residing in Knox.

Soon after, Mr Gage married Miss Edith Gallup of Duanesburg, NY from whom were born four children viz, Allen, who died when 22 months old, Ora Silas, Peter Z. and Phoebe Margaret, twins, and Alice Irene.  Mr. Gage (with his wife) united with the church at Esperance, Mar 26, 1891 and was ordained an Elder May 8, 1898, which office he filled till his death. 

He was a brother beloved in the church and in the community.