Sunday, December 7, 2014

Remembering Granny Shearer

Today would have been Nettie Pearl Moody Shearer's birthday  I knew her as Granny Shearer.  I always think of Granny around the holidays, probably because that is probably when I saw her the most.  She was born on 7 Dec 1890 and she died in 25 Nov 1980 and I was 13 years old.  I have written a blog about Granny before and I am posting links to those blogs.

Three Great Dames

The Most Important Women in My Life

My Beloved Granny

 One of the biggest impacts she had on my life is my love of cooking.  She took my mother when she was 8 years old and began to teach her to cook.  Her son, Gwen Dean Shearer, had married a widow (my grandmother Capitola Friddle Tannahill) and gave her two new granddaughters.  She immediately bonded with my mother and very soon, she had my mother standing on a stool helping to cook at logging camp.  My mother's love of cooking came from her.  Every Christmas and Thanksgiving, I make a salad that I am sure came from Granny. My niece has named it "Grandpa's Crappy Salad"

So here is how you make it:

1 Large box of Lemon Jello - follow the directions and use the set jello
2 containers of Cream Cheese - at room temperature
1/2 cup of finely chopped celery (you can use more if you like)

Take the set jello, put it in the mixer and whip it with softened cream cheese until combined.   After it is mixed together, then add the celery and mix by hand.

I don't mind the salad until you add the celery - but I must admit that it is an acquired taste.  My grandmother loved that salad as well.  Now, don't judge Granny's cooking by that salad :-)  I am pretty sure that it came out of the 1950's.

So...Happy Birthday Granny.

Taken abt 1949 - Left to right:  Cappy, Floyd (Granny's husband) , Betty, & Granny

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Remembrance

I kind of feel sorry for the kids today.  When we went trick or treating we were out for a few hours and our only rule was we couldn't cross Thain Rd.  Generally we stopped about 12 years old, but since I was the youngest, I was the last one getting candy.  No matter where I hid it, my brothers would find it.  Since they got out of school a half hour earlier than I did - my Halloween candy din't last long.  

I regret that I don't have many photos of us when we were kids.  For many years, Mom would make our costumes out of flannel and then we would wear them as pajamas after the fact.  Mom made me a Sylvester costume one year that I still have the mask.  


In our family - the most memorable one was when I was a child.  I wrote one of my first blogs about that Halloween...and thought some of you might like to revisit it!  Hope everyone has a great Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hunting in the Autumn

Hunting has been a part of my family for decades in both and good ways. I can remember each year when I was a child that my father and later my brothers headed off each autumn to a hunting trip. Mom would usually take the meat and hide it in meatloaf, spaghetti, or chili.  One year she made homemade mincemeat which my father still talks about reverently.

Capitola Frddle  - abt 1933
My mother was born in the middle of hunting season.  When my grandmother went into labor, it was her brother, Claude, who took her to the hospital.  Grandma decided after that experience, that she wasn't going to have any more babies if her husband couldn't be around for the birth.  I can remember when my uncle told me that story.  It must have been something else for a 17 year old kid to drive his sister to the hospital while she was having a baby.  However, my grandmother should have known better.  When she first started going out with my grandfather, Richard...she knew that he was a hunter.  While she was teaching, he poached meat (hunted deer) so she could feed her students.  She brought vegetables up from her parent's home and used meat from her boyfriend, and fed her students who rarely had a hot meal during the height of the depression.  She also went with him on hunting camp after they were married and actually went hunting herself.  That all changed when he was killed during a hunting trip for birds with a friend on 9 Nov 1947.  Grandma Cappy never again went hunting - however, she did marry another man who was also hunter.
Richard Tannahill - Around 1930

Grandpa Gwen built a lumber mill in Elk City, ID.  I know that the location and the availability of the lumber was the biggest lure to the area.   However, I have to wonder if he wasn't tempted by the hunting and fishing in the area as well.  Every year, Grandpa would go out and spend a lot of the autumn season hunting and many times, my father went along.  In his later years, he really wasn't able to go hunting as he used to.  I do remember one year when he went on a hunting trip with my father and brothers.

My brother's have told me that it was one of their most memorable hunting trips.  They were hunting at Eagle Creek which is on the Salmon river in Idaho.  While my brothers and father spent the day hunting, Grandpa spent the day fishing.  Each of them got their deer on that trip.  Grandpa Gwen proved to be an exemplary camp cook and they had the benefit of eating fresh liver and heart for breakfast.  It doesn't sound all that tempting to me...but they certainly enjoyed it.

John Bernard Gage - hunting with dog Scipio
I have talked to some who don't understand why we hunt.  I know that when the men in my family hunt, the antlers might be put on display but I know the meat was not wasted.  Perhaps it was made into sausage or pepperoni.  I know that my grandmother was incredibly excited to get an elk roast.    Nothing was wasted.  I also know that my father and his father hunted to provide meat for their family just as my mother's father did.  In our family, just like many other families in the region, hunting was a whole lot more than just something they did every fall.  Hunting was means of putting meat on the table to help feed the family during the winter.

So...it has become an annual tradition in our family that the men in my family go off to enjoy a hunting weekend during the opening of hunting season. I prepare my mother's chili in large quantity and send along for the hunting getaway.  During the last several years, I have gone to Spokane and my sister in law and I enjoy our own hunting expedition...except we are shopping.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Happy 100th Birthday Grandpa Frank

I can't say that I knew Dad's father very well.  I was only eight years of age when he died and although he was a beloved "Grandpa" in my mind, I had only been around him a handful of times. You might say that I really didn't get to know him except through the memories of others.  If he had lived, today would have been his 100th birthday.

Probably taken after Shirlie's funeral - Upper L to R:  Ulpian, Nan, Frank - Lowee Left:  Audrey and Ruth
Frank Stewart Johnson was born on 10 Oct 1914 near Dunn Center, Dunn Co., ND to Ulpian Grey "George" Johnson and Shirlie Louisa Pope.  He had two older half brothers: George Arch White and Elmer Clayton White. (They were the sons of Shirlie's first husband, Charles A. White.)  He also had two older sisters: Mary Ann b. 27 Jan 1910 d. 1 Mar 1975 and Nancy Mae "Nan" b. 9 Mar 1912 d. 12 Feb 2000 and two younger sisters....Hazel b. & d. 9 Mar 1919 and Audrey Ruth b. 22 Jan 1923 d. 6 Dec 1999.  Grandpa died on 17 Sep 1975 in Canby, Clackamas Co., OR.

There was so little that I really knew about him when he was alive.   I know that even now, when I smell oranges, I think of Grandpa Frank.  I remember when he used to show us how to peel oranges by rolling them around on the table...or when I walk by a display with barrels of candy where you pick what you want and put them in a bag.  I can remember Grandpa taking me around to pick my own bag of candy favorites while he sent Dad around to get the groceries that we came to the store for.  I also remember the day when my grandmother called the house to tell Mom that he had died that morning.  I was home sick from school and I have never forgotten the look on my mother's face as she heard the news and then when she had to call Dad and let him know that his father had died.  Those are the things that I knew about Grandpa when I was a child...there was so much more that I learned as an adult.


Frank in the CCC's
Grandpa Frank wasn't recorded in the 1920 census.  Dad has speculated that they were living down on the breaks of the Missouri river and were probably missed.  I don't believe that life was easy for Grandpa and his family  I don't know how capable his father was to provide for his family.  He had an injury on his arms that made them mostly useless and he was also an old man while his family was quite young (Ulpian Grey Johnson was b. 17 Nov 1869 d. 22 Oct 1944)  So, while Grandpa's mother was alive...there was probably some semblance of a happy family life.  When you consider what life must have been like in North Dakota in the 1920's, I am not sure that anything was easy.  However, that ended when their family lost their mother to pneumonia in a very quick fashion.  Her sister road a horse across the frozen Missouri river to try and help her sister, but Shirlie died soon after she arrived.  (Shirlie Louisa Pope b. 14 Jul 1881 d. 14 Apr 1927).  After her death, it fell on Grandpa's older sister, Nan and himself to do what they could to help provide for their family.  Their sister, Mary was born with dislocated hips and was probably developmentally mentally disabled as well.  The younger sister, Audrey, was only three years old when her mother died.  For some time, Shirlie's sister, Verna took care of her.

Grandpa Frank had little formal schooling...there was no time or opportunity for it.  You might say that the first opportunity that he had to go out into the world was when he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in the mid 1930's.  Grandpa got the opportunity to travel to Louisiana and experience a life much different than what he had ever known.  He then traveled home with a friend to Idaho.  You might say that it was a life changing event.  His friend Lawrence Chandler was taking a local girl to a dance...and Grandpa Frank went along during a double date.  I don't know how much longer it was - but pretty soon the local girl and Grandpa Frank were an item...and in July of 1939, he and Helen Marian Gage were engaged on the night when her youngest sibling was born (Gerald Gage)  When they decided to elope and marry in October, Grandma Marian's father informed them that they weren't married until they were married in the church...so a week later, they were married in parsonage in Moscow, Latah Co., ID.  (1 Oct 1939).

Fairly soon after their marriage, the young couple began their journey to North Dakota  I know their car broke down along the way, and Grandpa had to fix it in the middle of nowhere.  As is normal, the first child came along quite quickly and Grandpa was worried enough that this first child was born in a hospital in Dicknson, ND.
Ulpian standing behind, Grandpa Frank holding my father, Eugene - abt 1941 in ND
 The next two were born at home with a midwife.  So, here this young couple was living in Dunn Center, ND in a small house that had previously been a chicken coop.  In this small house, they lived with their three children, and Grandpa's father and older sister.  Grandpa was working sometimes as many as 4 jobs, trying to support his family.  You might say that Grandma Marian was home sick and probably feeling almost desperate  So, she packed her children up and took a train to Idaho.  Very soon after, they both realized that North Dakota didn't provide the young family with any decent job opportunities.  I imagine that Grandpa Frank must have bee quite torn.  His wife and children were in Idaho and he knew that the best place for his family was Idaho, but his elderly father refused to leave North Dakota so in the end, he dd what he could for his father and sister, and headed off to Idaho

Once in Idaho, Grandpa found work at the local mill, and worked at logging as well.  Sometimes he was laid off which is something that happens quite often in the logging industry.  My father said that when he was growing up, they never really thought they were poor, because they had food to eat and a home to live in  Mostly he remembers having a loving and patient father.  I have learned funny things about Grandpa Frank by listening to my dad and his siblings.  I know that when he napped in his chair, he had one eye that never closed.  (He had been dropped as a baby by his older sister and his forehead was burned and the his eyelid was not able to close).  I know that no one disrespected their mother in front of him, or they faced the consequences.  My mother remembered a gentle man who had a gentle humor.

My father has always said that his father was older than his time.  He had a disease called Charcot Marietooth which is a nerve disease.  He could lay a hand on a hot stone and not even feel the heat.  Grandpa must have endured a lot of physical pain with his disease, but as along as he was able to work and support his family, he did so.

Dad's family had moved from Hatter Creek in 1952 to the place up on Mountain Home (north of Potlatch) In 1965, Grandpa Frank and Grandma Marian moved to Oregon, and Grandpa worked for a time, but soon reached the time when he could no longer physically work  So while my Grandmother worked, Grandpa made sure the laundry was done and meals were on the table when she arrived home.  Then one morning, Grandma woke up to find that Grandpa had passed away in his sleep at the age of 60.
This is the way I remember Grandpa Frank.  Taken abt 1973

My father resembles his father in my ways both physically and mentally.  I think that I know my Grandpa through my Dad...I see the strength, the love of family, and generosity of spirit. I can't say that my Grandpa had great self esteem.  My mother asked him what he knew about his family and he told her what he knew.  The most impressive thing was being related to Pres. Andrew Johnson - but he didn't know the relationship.  He told my mother that he was envious because they seemed to know so much about my Grandma Marian's family and there was so much to be admired and he knew so little.  It turns out that Mom and I found that Grandpa had a wonderful family heritage to be proud of  His ancestors were among the first to arrive in the new world and build a new life.  He had ancestors who fought at the battle of Lexiington and Concord at the opening day of the Revolutionary War and another ancestor who had the first free public school in New England.

I wish I could have known him better but I was never given the opportunity. I would like to think he knows all that we have discovered.  I wish I had a chance to learn all of these things from Grandpa Frank when he was alive..  but it was not too be. So, happy birthday, Grandpa Frank - wish you were still here to celebrate it.
A young photo...about 1928

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Name Changes...

A few weeks ago, I noticed that one of my cousins had a friend reply to her in a post on Facebook.  I told him that he was probably related to my cousin.  He replied that no...that wasn't possible because the name wasn't spelled the same.  This reminds me how many people who do genealogical research of any sort who get caught up in name spellings and neglect to look at the other possibilities.

I have a several families that most likely all descend from a common immigrant ancestor - no matter how the name is spelled.  Here are a few of them.

Pitsenbarger:  I have seen the name spelled Pitzenberger, Pittsenbarger, Pitsenbarger or Pittsonbarger - however it is spelled, most people in this country with that name in their ancestry most likely descend from the immigrant ancestor Abraham Pitzenberger  He was born before 1750 in either Switzerland or Germany  I have never seen any documentation as to when he immigrated exactly - but the first record that I know of is his marriage to Elizabeth Teysinger on 22 Apr 1766 in Lancaster Co., PA.  So, I would assume that he was probably born about 1740 because men were generally older when they got married - 16 seems an unlikely age for a male to get married for the first time. I know that Abraham served as a Private in the Revolutionary war in Michael Reader's company from Virginia and seemed to die before the end of the war in 1781 - when his will was recorded in Shenandoah Co., VA.  I know that my ancestor, Abraham Pitsenbarger, Jr ended up in West Virginia and some of the other descendants later ended up in Ohio and Missouri.  I have often wondered how many Pitsy cousins might have changed the spelling of the name to distinguish themselves

My grandfather was Oliver Richard Tannahill.  When I first starting researching the family, I found that it seemed to spelled primarily two ways - Tannehill and Tannahill.  Later on, I came across the work of James Tannehill "Genealogical History of the Tannahills, Tannehills and Taneyhills".  I soon learned that many of the different spellings came from honest mistakes and legal documents.  We all know that there are numerous misspellings that occur with census records because of the creative spellings of census takers.  If you were to inherit land or money in a will and the name was misspelled – would you argue about it.  Most likely not…so sometimes the misspellings came from wills or deeds.  Sometimes the names change because of personal preference.  My Tannahill line’s name was spelled with “e” until the mid-1800’s.  Most likely all Tannahills came from a Thomas Tannahill who lived in Scotland in the 1500’s.  Immigration for some occurred in the 1650’s because they were essentially indenture servants.   Some came through Canada later on in the 1800’s  I would be interested in seeing more DNA research with these branches to see if we truly are all related which is what the current research shows

My ancestor, John Gallop immigrated in 1630.  Most Gallup descendants descend through his son who went by John Gallup.  It is interesting that when you come across someone who spells their Gallup name as Gallop almost all descend from Nathaniel Gallop, the older son of John Gallop (the immigrant) 

There are other examples in my family lines…but it is an obvious mistake that is made by many researchers.  If a researcher doesn't research alternative spellings, they are possibly missing some important research leads. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Photobomb - 1982

For several years, I have had times that I have spent a lot of time scanning pictures.  Every once in a while I come across a surprising photo...something that we might call a photobomb today!

It was 1982, and my great grandparents were celebrating their 65th Wedding Anniversary.  They requested that my mother pick out a song and play and sing for them.  This put a lot of pressure on my mother - not the performance side, because she was a natural performer - but trying to find the perfect son, that was a struggle.  I remember her going through her music for several weeks picking one song then discarding it, all in the goal of finding the perfect song.  Finally Mom made her decision....she played "True Love" from High Society (a remake of The Philadelphia Story with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly and Frank Sinatra).

The time came for the day of the party.  It was held down at the Lewiston Lyons Club.  Mom's performance was well received and remembered.  My great grandmother was thrilled with Mom's song choice. I remember that I was about 15 years old, and it was really the first time that I was helping out in the kitchen and spending time doling about punch at the punch bowl.  I remember that my great uncles - Cap and Wayne were teasing me to no end that I wore that dress on purpose because it matched the punch.  It was neat feeling that day though - I felt like I had moved to a different place in the family.  Working in the kitchen with the rest of the women in the family was an educational experience.  Mostly because I heard and learned things about family dynamics that I never would have learned otherwise. When family members think about this reunion, the photo below is what they think of.  It is a special photo made even more special because it was the last photo of the oldest nine children, Aunt Norma died a few years later.

Back L - R:  Don, Duane, Byron, Pauline, Marian, Orland, Bernard
Bottom L - R - Norma, Grandma Florence, Grandpa Ora, Elaine
However, there is a one photo that presented an unexpected surprise.  Someone was taking a picture of me...and in the background of that photo I can see a lot of familiar faces including Uncle Wayne Larue, Aunt Jeanne Shawver Renz, cousins Karl Gage and Ivan Gage and there in the background is my mother.  Mom had a great sense of humor that didn't usually show itself in photos.  Probably because she disliked having pictures taken of her so much - but there in the background is my mother, waving a paper plate with a great look on her face.  (Click on the picture and you can see the photo larger) I think one would say that she is photo-bombing the picture...of course it wasn't even a word back then!



Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lyons & Reed

When you research a family member from the 1800’s, you are never quite sure what you will find – especially if it is a female ancestor.  My great grandmother was Shirlie Louisa Pope and when we initially went back to North Dakota, the goal was to find at least whatever remained of the cemetery that she had been buried in.  (She was buried in the Old Dunn Center cemetery in North Dakota and sometime in the 1930’s, the family was told that they needed to move her grave as they had found out that the cemetery was on top of a burning coal mine.  There was no money to make the move, so she remained in an unmarked grave at the old cemetery.)  I had known about Shirlie since I was a child…nothing terribly concrete but the photo from my childhood gave me a mental image of her.  When I first started researching her background and had made some contact with cousins, it was with a great deal of enthusiasm that I began to research her family.

Shirlie was the daughter of Winslow Lonsdale Pope and Nancy Ann Marie Lyons.  I must admit that the Pope side was fairly easy to research.  Within a few weeks after I started researching the family, I made contact with cousins and had the Pope family traced back to literally the earliest settlers in New England. Winslow’s wife, however, took a lot more research.

Nancy Ann Marie Lyons
Nancy Ann Marie Lyons was my great great grandmother.  She was the daughter of John Nathan Lyons, Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Reed.  I know than Nancy was born on 6 Mar 1855 in Bath, Grafton Co., NH and died on 30 May 1906 in Washburn, McLean Co., ND.  (My cousins took me right where she was buried in a little country cemetery called Sverdrup near Washburn, ND)  

She was married to Winlsow Lonsdale Pope on 19 Mar 1881. I have to assume that she was fairly sickly the last few years of her life, as she died of tuberculosis.  I am also sure she must have been considered a spinster when she married because she was 26 years of age.  Through the census records, I could tell that she spent all of her young life growing up in Bath, Grafton Co., NH.   I was fortunate to find information on her parents, but beyond a few census records, I hit a brick wall during my first few years researching them. 

John Nathan Lyons Jr was b. 23 Apr 1820 in Randolph, Norfolk Co., MA and d. 7 Apr 1911 in Bath, Grafton Co., NH.  It wasn't until I got his birth certificate that I was able to find that his parents were John Lyons and Mary French.    Here is more about his family  (Chink in a Brick Wall – John Lyons and My Irish Ancestor – John Lyons )  I know that he married Mary Elizabeth Reed on 21 Dec 1845 in Fairlee, Orange Co., VT.  From census records, he is listed as a wheelwright and I also know that he remarried after Mary Elizabeth Reed’s death to Elizabeth Snow on 23 Mar 1893 in Manchester, NH.   He died at the age of 90 and was buried in the Warren Village Cemetery in Grafton, NH.

Mary Elizabeth Reed was more of a challenge.   I had her name from family records that had been passed on to me, but there was not going to be an easy to way to figure out who her parents were.  For one thing, Reed is a very common name.  For several years, I explored news-lists, emailed other researchers and came to the conclusion that she was most likely the daughter of Samuel Reed and Nancy Chase Swett.  It wasn't until last year when www.ancestry.com published some new records – specifically The New Hampshire Death and Disinterment Records, 1854-1947 that I was able to finally prove my theory.   

There was the record for Mary Reed Lyons death which listed her date of death, age, cause of death and her parents as Samuel Reed and Nancy Sweet (which is a common misspelling for Swett).  I also learned that she died of “Brights Disease” which is kidney disease.    I admit that it was very satisfying to learn that my theory had paid off.  However, once you confirm one theory…now you have the challenge of pursuing her parent’s ancestry…but that is another story.

Here is a list of the children of John Nathan Lyons, Jr and Mary Elizabeth Reed:


  • John Weston Lyons b. 5 Jul 1846 NH d. 22 Oct 1922 m. Jennie M. Stain
  • George Leonard Lyons b. 20 Nov 1849 NH d. 10 Apr 1916 NH m. Inez Clifton Eastman
  • Charles Edward Lyons b. 14 Jun 1851 NH d. 14 Jul 1901 NH m. Lizzie Smith
  • Mary Louise Lyons b. 21 Feb 1853 NH d. 12 Sep 1855 NH
  • Nancy Ann Marie Lyons b. 6 Mar 1855 NH d. 30 May 1906 ND m. Winslow Lonsdale Pope
  • Arabella Eliza Lyons b. 15 Dec 1856 NH d. 9 Jun 1943 NH m. John Harrison Roby
  • Freeman Austin Lyons b. 11 Sep 1860 NH d. 8 Mar 1947 VT m1- Viola Belinda Pope m2- Jane Anderson Richardson m3- Nellie F. Evans
  • Lizzie Maria Lyons b. 19 Dec 1865 NH d. 19 Nov 1942 NH m. Charles Nelson Davison


Friday, August 22, 2014

Going to College

During the past few weeks, I have been observing friends begin the journey of taking their children off to college for the first time.  It has made me remember that summer before my first year in college and what my grandmother told me about her first year.  The experiences couldn't be more different – but there are some things that still remain the same.

Grandma Cappy at the top of the pyramid - 1932 Lewis Clark Normal Tumbling Team
When my grandmother left for college, she didn’t go far.  However, I bet her journey to school took her longer than my drive from Lewiston, ID to Moscow, ID (University of Idaho).  Her trip to school involved a horse on most days and she road from the Lewiston Orchards down to the Lewis Clark Normal School (today’s Lewis Clark State College).  I had money in the bank to pay for tuition and books – Grandma Cappy’s father butchered a hog and sold it to pay for that tuition and necessary books.  There were student loans available in my day, but my grandparents had made sure that when it was time for me to go to college, there would be money available.  

Many of today’s students have to rely on student loans to get them to college.  They have microwaves, laptop computers and matching bedding.  I look at what these kids today are taking to college with a bit of wonder and envy.  I am sure my grandmother must have felt the same about my preparations.  I had a refrigerator and electric typewriter and a car to take me to school.
 
That summer before my first year of college was full of a lot of changes for me.  I had never even driven a car outside the Lewiston – Clarkston valley.  Just after graduation, one of my friend’s parents gave us a weekend up at Three Rivers resort which was a few hours’ drive up the river.  So, that was my first drive outside of the valley on my own.  Then later that summer we traveled down to Santa Rosa, CA to help my Uncle Jack and his wife, Hilda move from Santa Rosa to Roseburg, OR.  I was tasked with driving the little car that Uncle Jack drove around during errands which was a Chevette as I recall.  It had a working radio –but where we were traveling, there was no radio signal.  I had a problem staying awake driving in our little convoy heading north…but I made it.  I can still remember sitting on the floor in my Uncle’s new house with my older brother and parents.  As we set there discussing numerous topics, my mother told my uncle that he needed to make a trip to Lewiston soon to visit my grandmother (his younger sister).  My grandmother’s heart was failing and Mom didn’t know how much longer she would live.  This was sobering news for Uncle Jack.  Grandma Cappy and he had a special relationship…and while they had lived miles apart most of their adult lives, there were always phone calls and letters that kept the close relationship constant.  However, it had been a few years since he had been home and he hadn't seen the decline of my grandmother’s general health.
Left to Right: Aunt Hilda, Uncle Jack, Russ (aka Bub) Gene (Dad) , & Betty (Mom) 
Left to Right: Hilda, Jack, Carmen, Gene & Betty

So, we said goodbye and started the trip back to Lewiston.  During the car ride home, Mom and I made plans on what we were going to do.  We hadn't really done anything to prepare for my move to college.  We needed to buy sheets, towels and many of the other toiletries that a girl needs.  We arrived home on Monday afternoon and decided that we would do our shopping on Wednesday.  On Wednesday morning, Mom called me upstairs at 6:30 am.  She had been listening to the police scanner and had heard a call for an ambulance and my grandparent’s address with a Code Blue.  I went down and got dressed and came back upstairs as Mom and I waited for the phone call telling us which one of my grandparents had had a heart attack.  Twenty minutes later, we knew it was my grandmother and we were on the way to the hospital.  We found my grandfather in the waiting room with a lost look on his face as he told us that they had restarted her heart.  A few minutes later, a doctor told us that she had been without oxygen for too long and he honestly didn’t know how her heart was still beating.  I was tasked with calling my father at work and my brothers to let them know what had happened.  My grandmother’s younger brother was able to see her, and Jack was on his way up.  He was due to arrive Saturday morning and before he arrived, Grandma Cappy slipped away. As I was packing my car, with what I had bought on my own, tears were running down my face.  Going to college which had been an exciting adventure a week previously was now something that I didn’t want to do.  Mom told me that I needed to get my dorm room assignment and meet my roommate.  This was something that Grandma would want me to do.   So, I went through the motions of driving up to my new dorm room, met my roommate and took my things in and then I got back in the car and headed back home.  On the following Tuesday, we buried my grandmother and then my brother and I headed up to Moscow and had to register.  As a freshman, I was registering near the last and didn’t get most of the classes I wanted and had to settle for the classes I could get. 

It wasn't until a few weeks later, when my mother was finally able to come up and visit. By that time, I was in a room on my own and my mother arrived with matching comforters for both of the beds in my room and a small black and white TV as well as whatever else she thought I needed.  Mom and I never got our shopping trip together – so she decided to take care of it on her own. 

I must admit to being a little envious of those going to college.  There is so much excitement at starting a new pathway in life.  I know that my grandmother felt that way as she started going to school on that first day 55 years before my first day.  She was the first one to graduate from college in her family and had a teaching degree in 1932 to show for her efforts.  Needless to say, I will always remember that first day – getting my dorm, carrying my things into my new room and meeting my roommate and hall mates.  However, what I will remember most is the news that morning that Grandma had slipped away from us – it was August 24, 1985 and she was 73 years old!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An Early Military Photo of Uncle Jak!

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I haven't felt on top of the world the past week or so...so I thought I would post a picture of a favorite uncle and what I don't know about it!

Long after my mother died, I was going through an old photo album and found this picture.  I knew that it was my great uncle Jack Friddle...but I was surprised to see a photo that so obviously predated World War II.  Jack was born on 8 Oct 1909 in Mountain City, Johnson Co., TN to David Carl Friddle and Sophia Vestelle Friddle.  I think he probably graduated in about 1927 or so from Pomeroy High School.  My great grandparents homesteaded up on Grouse Flats, Wallowa Co., OR and while my grandmother and great uncle went to the small local school, my great grandmother insisted that her children have the opportunity to go to high school, so in 1924, David Carl Friddle and Sophia Dollar Friddle moved their family to Pomeroy, WA and a few years later they moved to Lewiston, ID where my grandmother graduated from high school.

So...here is what I find curious about this picture.  I know that Jack worked in a retail store after high school and I know he was a paratrooper in World War II - but when was this picture taken.  I asked his brother, Claude, who was still alive at the time about it...and he didn't really know anything.  There is a problem with finding military records from the World War I to II era because so many of the records burned up in a fire.

So, my best guess was that this photo was taken around 1930 to 1932.  I am sure it was taken before he and his wife Hilda Heitmann married in 1934 but other than that -  I can't be sure.  So, my theory is that Uncle Jak (which is the way he used sign letters and cards to me) was probably a member of the local militia and judging by his uniform most likely in the Army.  It is really too bad that I have no one left to ask.  Uncle Jack was definitely a favorite of mine...and I am sorry I don't know more!

Friday, August 1, 2014

George Christian Shawver - 3rd Family

So, it is 1904 and George Christian Shawver is left with five children to care for after the death of Rebecca Jane “Frankie” Pitsenbarger.  According to Harvey (Oldest son from first family) Chris made overtures to his first wife, Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger.  Also according to Harvey – she wanted nothing to do with him.  I am sure that Jessie took over as the oldest child…and perhaps Chris hired someone else to help out.  It is impossible for me to know.  It isn’t until 20 Jan 1906, that Chris married Tamsey Omisca Perry Davidson – and so begins a new chapter.

Marriage photo - 1906
Tamsey Omisca Perry was born on 2 Apr 1882 in Carl Twp, Adams Co., IA to Joseph Henry Perry and Sarah Ada Drake.  She married Charles V. Davidson on 25 Dec 1901 in St. Clair, Monona Co., IA.  She had three children:  William Merle Davidson b. 21 Nov 1902 Whiting, IA d. 27 Aug 1967 Tulare, CA and twins John b. 12 Dec 1904 and died at birth and Ralph b. 12 Dec 1904 d. Jan 1905.  I had always understood that Tamsey was a widow.  However, after a bit of research on who she married, I have discovered that Charles Davidson did not die and remarried to a Myrtle Williams on 4 Sept 1907 and lived until after 1940.  Tamsey married Chris Shawver in 1906 and had a ready-made family with her son and Chris’ five children.  I remember that my great grandmother (Florence Shawver Gage) always referred to Tamsey quite fondly as Mama and I am certain that Tamsey provided the mothering her step children needed. 

It wasn't too long before Chris and Tamsey’s first child was born.  Aida Elizabeth Shawver was born on 13 Dec 1908 in Lyons, Burt Co., NE followed by Ruth Margaret Shawver b. 7 Mar 1911 in Lyons, Burt Co., NE.  Harold Christian Shawver was b. 16 Jun 1913 in Lyons and Ernest Perry Shawver followed on 22 Jun 1914.  Virginia Rachel Shawver was born on 3 Jan 1918 in Lyons.  Then on 3 Jun 1926 when Tamsey was 44 years old, their last child was born – Naomi Jeanne Shawver in Lyons, Burt Co., NE.  Their family was complete with six additional children along with the five children from Chris’ second marriage.
Taken about 1919 - Top Left - Dewey, George, Merle, Florence, Nettie
Bottom Left - Harold, George "Chris" Aida, Ernie in front, Tamsey holding Virginia, Ruth

At this point, some of my information comes from my great grandfather, Ora Gage.  He and my great grandmother were married in 1917 and I think that they actually became quite close.  There were a lot of combined trips to Chicago to sell farm stock and I know that my great uncle spent a lot of time working for his grandfather on his farm.  Chris was actually quite a prosperous farmer.  However, from what I understand, there were some issues with his step son, Merle Davidson.  He made several careless ventures and a lot of money was lost.  In 1930 or so, Chris went back to West Virginia for the first time that I know of since he left in 1888 or so.  There are photos taken with his brother, cousins and nieces as well as photos of his childhood home.  I know from what was told to me that he also went to a bank and watched his son work for a short time.  This makes me think that his older children were still on his mind.  In 1931, shortly before his death, Chris and his son Dewey disappeared for a weekend with a load of goods.  It was thought that he was taking that load to someone from the first family.  I don’t know if his suicide happened shortly after that for later – but on 13 Apr 1931, Chris Shawver was found hung in a barn. 

There are a few reasons why Chris Shawver might have committed suicide.  He was considered to be an upstanding citizen and leader of his community.  From everything I have ever read – he was well regarded.  My great grandfather had the theory that his financial problems might have prompted the suicide and there is also the thought that he was about to be found out about his first family.  I think that his wife, Tamsey, knew about this first family but his other children did not.  So, after his death this came out and his adult children who had children of their own had the shock of finding out that they had five siblings that they had known nothing about.  In fact, the first family and second family were probably as close as siblings genetically since their mothers were sisters and they shared the same father. This is the obituary that was in the local newspaper:
Chris Shawver was born August 6, 1867, and came to Nebraska when a young man. For a number of years he farmed near Decatur, and later moved to his farm northeast of Lyons. At the time of his death he had attained the age of 63 years, 8 months,and 7 days. He was good to his family, a considerate and helpful neighbor, and honest and straightforward in his business dealings and had the respect of who knew him. He leaves to mourn his death, his wife and 11 children. They are: Mrs. John Bacon, George Shawver, Mrs Ora Gage, Dewey Shawver, Mrs Clarence Davidson, Mrs. Art Frey, Mrs. Dale Besst, Harold, Ernest, Virginia and Jeanne and Merle Davidson. One brother John Shawver of Smoot, W. Va. and one sister, Mrs. Wm Rogers of California also survive. The funeral services were held Thurs. afternoon at 2:00 o'clock from the Presbyterian church in Lyons, and with Rev. L. A Thompson in charge. Interment was made in the Decatur Cemetery. Songs: Face to Face, Nearer My God to Thee, In the Sweet By and By. Choir: Clay Newman, Mrs. Walton, Mrs. Matt Pond, Dr. Heyne Odd Fellows had charge of the services at the Decatur Cemetery. Paul Bearers Osean Swanson, Tom Crippen, Wid Bacon, Earl Bacon, Lewis Frey, Charles Frey.

I would assume that it was several years later – perhaps about 1940 when the older siblings met some of their younger siblings.  Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger came along and also met the siblings.  I don’t think that my great grandmother was at this meeting – but I know that she traded letters back and forth many years with her sister, Mary Shawver Booker and when her brother Harvey moved to Spokane, WA there were many occasions when they were able to visit.  I imagine that the entire episode was something that was hard to reconcile with their knowledge of their beloved father.  I tried to get a copy of Chris Shawver’s death certificate and it wasn't available…which makes me believe that it was never filed and it was another way to keep what happened secret.  However, there is no way that gossip won’t be spread and that is probably how I found out about the story in the first place.  My uncle grew up near the family in Nebraska and moved out to Idaho about the same time.  So, he had first hand knowledge.

Tamsey still had a job to take care of herself.  She was left with four children still under the age of 18 with the youngest being just five years old.  By all reports, she was an excellent mother and her children certainly illustrated that.  I know that she made a few trips west to visit her family that had moved out to Idaho.  My father remembers fairly well.  She was the only great grandmother that he ever knew.  Tamsey died on 16 Apr 1958 in Lyons, Burt Co., NE at the age of 76.

Here is a list of Tamsey & Chris Shawver’s family:
  • Aida Elizabeth Shawver b. 13 Dec 1908 Lyons, NE d. 27 Feb 1978 Portland, OR m. 13 Dec 1926 Arthur Glen Frey – 4 children m. 1 Dec 1940 Dell Stewart m. Dec 1945 Vaughn Elijah Maxfield – 3 children m. Dec 1954 Guy Emery Neal
  • Ruth Margaret Shawver b. 7 Mar 1911 Lyons, NE d. 12 Nov 2002 Lewiston, ID m. 31 Jul 1928 Dale Elwood Besst – 7 children
  • Harold Christian Shawver b. 16 Jun 1913 Lyons, NE d. 23 May 1989 MT m. bef 1934 Ruth Evelyn Whitney  4 – children m. Opal Blossom
  • Ernest Perry Shawver b. 22 Jun 1914 Lyons, NE d. 7 Mar 1987 Yuma, AZ m. 22 Apr 1933 Fern Lillian Craig – 1 child
  • Virginia Rachel Shawver b. 3 Jan 1918 Lyons, NE d. 15 Sept 1964 San Francisco, CA m. John Guy Bernich m. John Vincent Biagi – 1 child m. Howard Johnson 1 child
  • Naomi Jeanne Shawver b. 3 Jun 1926 Lyons, NE d. 30 Dec 2012 Moscow, ID m. 3 Aug 1946 Warren Philip Renz – 6 children
Shawver Brothers - Left to Right: Harvey, Ernie, Harold, Marvin & Dewey

Back Left: Harold, Dewey & Ernie
Front Left: Ruth, Jessie, Florence & Jeanne - Taken about 1981.




Monday, July 28, 2014

George Christian Shawver - 2nd Family

So, I’ve told the story of the first family in George Christian Shawver – 1st Family and the next step is to tell the story of the second family.   So the story continues in 1891.  As I have already given a background to both George Christian Shawver and Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger, it is the sister, Rebecca Jane “Frankie” Pitsenbarger who is the primary focus of the second family. 

Rebecca Jane was the youngest daughter of William Pitsenbarger and Mary “Polly” Amick.  She was born on 28 Jan 1870 near the Kanawha River near Shawverville, WV.  According to some papers that “Frankie’s” oldest son had, she was married to a Moffat.  I’ve never found any trace of this marriage in records.  So, she was probably about 18 years old when her sister Sarah Emaline and her husband moved to Iowa and took her along as help.  I don’t imagine that there was a lot for in her West Virginia or for Chris Shawver and his wife.  There wasn’t much in the way of good land to buy, not many options for the women in terms of marriage to someone who wasn’t related to them.  (This didn’t stop William Pitsenbarger and Mary “Polly” Amick as they were actually first cousins.  Mary Amick’s father, Jacob was the older brother William Pitsenbarger’s mother Elizabeth Amick.)  So, the story continues in Iowa in 1891.

I don’t know when Chris left Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger with her sister, Frankie,  but I suspect that it was sometime in the spring.  Judging by the births of both Sarah’s fifth child and Frankie’s first child, they would have become pregnant sometime in early January, and I would assume that the both pregnancies were known by early spring.  Being in the same household, I imagine that Chris and Frankie probably left during that spring in 1891 for Tacoma, WA area.  Tacoma was a booming down in the 1890’s and it was somewhere that no one would know them or question them about their marital status.   So, on 13 Oct 1891, Chris and Frankie’s oldest daughter, Jessie Mabel Shawver was born in Tacoma, Pierce Co., WA.  Her half-brother Samuel Tony Shawver was born on 12 Oct 1891 in West Virginia – so both sisters were probably in labor at about the same time on either side of the country.

It is unknown when Chris and Frankie left Tacoma but they are next found in Malvern, Mills Co., IA on 21 Jan 1894 when their oldest son, George William Shawver was born.  In 1897, a second daughter, Florence Christine Shawver (my great grandmother) is born in Decatur, Burt Co., NE.  My assumption is at that point that Chris Shawver has bought his farm and is living on the Shawver homeplace somewhere between the towns of Decatur and Lyons Nebraska.  A second son, Dewey Dountain Shawver is born on 25 May 1899 and daughter Jeanette Ann Shawver is born on 28 Jan 1901 on her mother’s 31st birthday.  A fourth daughter, Alice Faye Shawver, was born on 31 Oct 1902…but she died a few months later on 19 March 1903.  So Chris and Frankie’s family was complete – but their life together was to be short lived.
Frankie's gravestone - George Christian Shawver's name is on the other side.  Buried at Hillcrest Cemtery, Decatur, NE








According to what I've been told by my relatives, Frankie died on 10 May 1904 of quick consumption  I can’t confirm the death cause because there are no death records available  However, she must have become sick fairly severely because she was taken to Omaha, NE where she died in the hospital there.   There was a postcard in my great grandmother's album of the hospital noting that "This is where our mother died in 1904!" Frankie left behind 5 children with the oldest only being 13.
Photo of Chris & Frankie's Children - Probably taken about 1905
Left to right: Chris holding Nettie, George, Florence with Jessie and Dewey in the front

Here is a list of the children of George Christian Shawver and Rebecca Jane "Frankie" Pitsenbarger:

  • Jessie Mabel Shawver b. 13 Oct 1891 Tacoma, Pierce Co., WA d. 01 July 1897 Lyons, Burt Co., NE  m. 7 Oct 1909 Hugh Gallup- 4 children m.. John Francis Bacon 14 Jun 1919 - 5 children
  • George William Shawver b. 21 Jan 1894 Malvern, Mills Co., IA d. 23 Jan 1983 Billings, Yellowstone Co., MT m. 10 Feb 1915 Clara Adele "Midge" Bacon - 8 children
  • Florence Christine Shawver b. 14 Jun 1897 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 8 Mar 1991 Canby, Clackamas Co., OR m. 4 Sep 1917 Ora Silas Gage (my great grandparents) - 10 children
  • Dewey Dountain Shawver b. 25 May 1899 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 18 Oct 1995 Moscow, Latah Co., ID m. 28 Sep 1919 Alice Elizabeth Davidson  - 3 children
  • Jeanette Ann "Nettie"  Shawver b. 28 Jan 1901 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 31 Aug 1987 Roseburg, Douglas Co., OR m. 10 Dec 1917 Clarence Edward Davidson - 13 children
  • Alice Faye Shawver b. 31 Oct 1902 Decatur, Burt Co., NE d. 19 Mar 1903 Decatur, Burt Co., NE




Friday, July 25, 2014

George Christian Shawver - 1st Family

There has been a family story that for years I have hesitated to write down because I didn’t want to hurt some family members.  It wasn’t that they didn’t know the story, I just don’t think they wanted it publizied.  It is as my Grandma Cappy used to say “You don’t air your dirty laundry in public!”  I have been asked by multiple people to tell this story…so I guess it is time.

Many years ago, my mother and I were enjoying a visit with one of my uncles.  He had a bit of a “salty” sense of humor and he began regaling us with the story of my great grandmother’s father.  This wasn’t something that my mother and I had ever heard.  So we were both astounded that we had never heard the story and asked my grandmother about it.  Her comment was that he was a “good man” and not to say anything around my great grandmother who was in her early 90’s at the time.  It was something that she was embarrased about and didn’t like to think about it.  Fast forward to today, and as far as I know, there are only a few people who knew him personally still alive –so here it is!

George Christian Shawver aka Chris Shawver was born at Fowler’s Knob, Nicholas Co., WV on 6 Aug 1867 to George William Shawver and Elizabeth Matilda Legg.  Chris was the ninth of eleven children.  As the story goes, he married Sarah Emaline Pitzenbarger on 26 Aug 1883 when he was 16 years of age and she was 22.  As my grandmother told me, it was an arranged marriage with a neighbor and he wanted to marry her younger sister.  On the surface, this might make sense – but the facts don’t quite support the story.  The marriage actually occurred six days after Sarah Emaline gave birth to their first son, Harvey.   There are a few items about this these events that don’t quite mesh for me.  Harvey was born in Sioux City, IA according to just about every piece of documentation that I have been able to find.  Sarah Emaline and Chris were married in Nicholas Co., WV.  So…this pushes me to ask a few questions.  Is the birthdate for Harvey incorrect or the birth location?  If the data is correct – does it make sense that Sarah Emaline traveled from Iowa to West Virginia so soon after childbirth or is the year possibly wrong?  I don’t think there is a question in my mind that Harvey is closely related to Chris because he looks too much like him not to be.  Having said that – could Harvey be one of Chris’s siblings sons.  I don’t think that is a question that can be answered.

So back to Chris and Sarah Emaline – they have two daughters in fairly quick succession with Ethel Leota born on 28 May 1885 in Nicholas Co., WV and Mary M. born on 27 Jul 1886 in Hungington, Cabell Co., WV.  Sometime between 1886 and March 1890, Chris and Sarah Emaline move to Sioux City, IA.  This is where the story really gets interesting.  When they made the move from West Virginia to Iowa, they brought along Sarah Emaline’s younger sister, Rebecca Jane “Frankie” to help with the children.  Chris and Sarah Emaline’s fourth child, Marvin Ross was born on 20 Mar 1890 in Sioux City, IA.  Sometime afte the birth of Marvin in March – Chris and Frankie took off and left Sarah Emaline in Iowa with those four children and pregnant with a fifth child.

Sarah Emaline was in a very difficult position – far from where her parents lived and any other person who could help her.  Her family was not wealthy and she certainly must have had little to know money.  I would guess that her parents must have sent her money in order to come back to West Virginia.  I know that I was told by one of Mary’s grandchidlren that those children remembered that trip back to West Virginia well.  Their mother was heavily pregnant and I am sure they were scared and unsure of everything.  It must have been a cold fall, because the girls remember sleeping on the floor of hotel with the cold wind blowing under the doors and through the walls.  Not only that, they also remembered rats and mice scurrying across the floor.  Harvey would have been about eight years old, Ethel probably six and Mary about five and Marvin a young baby.

Once they arrived back in West Virginia, life was not easy for the Sarah Emaline and her children.   Sarah Emaline was born on 19 Aug 1861 in Nicholas Co., WV to William Pitsenbarger and Mary Amick.  By the time, Sarah Emaline came back to West Virigina, only one of her siblgins was still living at home and her children ended up spending a lot of their time doing a lot of work around the farm which is probably the reason that Harvey left home fairly young and joined the Army.  I find all of the children living with their grandparents in the 1900 census with only brother Jacob living with them and Sarah Emmaline is living somewhere else.  I would guess she was working somewhere else and sending money back. 

I know from family stories that William Pitsenbarger died in October of 1901.  He was working out in the barn and was pinned against the side of the barn and crushed and died a short time later.  Sarah Emaline ended up marrying a widower named Jacob Clark Sevy on 6 May 1912.  I don’t think a divorce ever occurred between her and Chris Shawer so doubtful it was a legal marriage.  Jacob Sevy died on 26 Dec 1916.  In the 1920 census, Sarah Emaline is with her daughter Mary Shawver Booker whose husband had husband had died in 1918 and her sons Marvin and Samuel.  In the 1930 census, she is living with her son Sam and his wife in West Virginia and by 1940, she is living with her daughter in Montgomery Co., IN.  It is interesting to note that Mary is listed with the last name of Whittington but I think that it is a mistake by the census taker.

In about 1930, Chris Shawver went back to West Virginia to visit family.  We have a photo album full of photos from this visit.  I was told by one of Marvin Ross Shawver’s sons that his father remembered one afternoon while working at a bank that a man came in and never came to the window but stood near the back and stared at him for quite a long time.  He realized that the man was his father.  Marvin made no effort to say anything to him and neither did Chris Shawver.

On 13 Apr 1931, Chris was found hung in a barn.  He had committed suicide.  No one knows the exact reason – whether it was being found out about the first family or if it was because of financial difficulties.  His oldest five children probably knew about some of their other siblings – but the younger children knew nothing about the first family. 

Sarah Emaline lived the rest of her life with her daughter Mary Shawver Booker and died on 17 Aug 1947 in Linden, Montgomery Co., IN.  She had outlived both her husband and her sister and died at the age of 85.

Left to Right:  Ethel, Mary, Harvey, Marvin & Sam
Here is a list of the children of George Christian Shawver and Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger:

Back Left - Unknown, Unknown, Toni (Harvey's stepdaughter)
2nd Row - Left - Nona McVey Shawver, Ethel Shawver Boone, Jessie Shawver Bacon, Mary Shawver Booker
Front - Sarah Emaline Pitsenbarger Shawver Sevy (Taken abt 1942)
  • Harvey Shawver b. 20 Aug 1883 in Sioux City,  IA d. 26 Jun 1971 in  San Francisco, CA m. Mary E. Brady – 1 step daughter
  • Ethel Leota Shawver b. 28 May 1885 Nicholas Co., WV d. 17 Sept 1948 Selma, Alleghany Co., VA m. ? Jones – 2 children m. Charles Amos Boone 27 Oct 1909 – 8 children
  • Mary M. Shawver b. 27 July 1886 Huntington, Cabell Co., WV d. 6 Apr 1978 Montgomery Co., IN m. James Vernie Booker 28 Dec 1904 – 3 children
  • Marvin Ross Shawver b. 20 Mar 1890 Sioux City, Woodbury Co., IA, d. 11 Sep 1968 Huntington, Cabell Co., WV m. Nona Willie McVey abt 1920 – 3 children
  • Samuel Tony Shawver b. 12 Oct 1891 Huntington, Cabell Co., WV d. 23 Nov 1974 Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., WV m. abt 1926 Elsie Enola Shields - no children


Monday, July 7, 2014

Two Lake Sisters

When you first begin doing genealogy research, the first thing you try to do is document your direct ancestors to the best of your ability or resources.  It isn't until later that you start to look a little more closely at the family ties that begin to emerge.

The Gallup genealogy is an extremely well researched and documented family line.  I think the first genealogy of the family was published in 1896.  I think that the majority of documented descendants of the Gallup family descend through John Gallup and Hannah Lake.  Hannah Lake was born about 3 July 1621 in North Benfleet, Essex, England and died aft 28 Feb 1680 in Ipswich, Essex Co., MA.  She was the daughter of John Lake and Mary/Margaret Reade.  She married John Gallup in 1642.  I am not sure when she immigrated from England.  I have seen the date of 1644 for her father's arrival in New England, but looking at the marriage date of Hannah, I suspect that it must be a bit sooner, because Hannah's oldest child was born in 1644 at the earliest.  There is also the date of 1635 that is on her gravestone, which I believe is probably closer to the truth...at least it was most likely before 1640.

Hannah married John Gallup in 1642 at the age of 21.  They very quickly started their family.  Their children were:

  • Hannah Gallup b. 14 Sep 1644 in Boston, MA d. 20 Jan 1724 Norwich, CT m. Stephen Gifford
  • John Gallup III b. Sept 1646 Boston, MA d. 14 Apr 1735 Stonington, CT m. Elizabeth Harris
  • Esther Gallup b. 24 Mar 1652 New London, CT d. 30 Sep 1717 Taunton, MA m. Henry Hodges
  • Benadam Gallup b. Dec 1655 Stonington, CT d. 2 Aug 1727 Stonington, CT m. Esther Prentice
  • Christobel Gallup b. 1657 Stonington, CT d. 17 Sept 1754 Plainfield, CT m. Peter Crary
  • William Gallup b. 18 Apr 1658 Stonington, CT d. 15 May 1731 Stonington, CT m. Sarah Chesebrough
  • Samuel Gallup b. 1659 Stonington, CT d. bef 1687 m. Sarah Chesebrough
  • Elizabeth Gallup b. 8 Mar 1662 Stonington, CT d. aft 1726 Westerly, RI m. Henry Stephens
  • Mary Gallup b. abt 1664 Stonington, CT d. 1672-1687 Saybrook, CT m. John Cole
  • Margaret Gallup b. 1668 Stonington, CT d. 1689 Suffolk, MA m. Joseph Culver


Hannah Lake lost her husband at the Great Swamp Fight at Narragansett Fort, South Kingston, RI on 19 Dec 1675 during King Philip's War and he is buried in a mass grave at the Fort.  There are also many other notables of New England families that died in the battle.  There were about 70 men who were killed including John Gallup as well as 300 or so of the Narraganeett tribe. Hannah is thought to have died on 28 Feb 1680 and she is buried at Whitehall Cemetery in Mystic, New London Co., CT.

Martha Lake was born about 20 Jul 1627 in North Benfleet, Essex, England.  I use the "abt" for many of the births that I see for these old families because most of the dates that we have are not of the actual birth but rather their baptismal which we is what we have as a written record.  Martha probably came over with her parents around 1635-1640.  Martha married Thomas Harris on 15 Nov 1647.  Thomas Harris was the son of Thomas Harris and Elizabeth Hills and probably came over with his parents in 1631 from England.  He was born on 25 Apr 1618 in Hatherup, Gloucester, England and died on 2 Aug 1687 in Ipswich, Essex Co., MA.  His occupation is listed as Ferryman.

I don't have as much on this family but here is the list of children that I have:

  • John Harris b. 7 Jan 1653 Ipswich, MA d. 21 Nov 1732 Ipswich, MA m. Grace Searle
  • Elizabeth Harris b. 8 Feb 1654 Ipswich, MA d. 1 Feb 1734 CT m. John Gallup III
  • Margaret Harris b. 6 Aug 1657 Ipswich, MA d. 18 May 1750 Ipswich m. John Staniford
  • Mary Harris b. 31 Jan 1660 Ipswich, MA d. bef 1696
  • Ebenezer Harris b. 1663 Ipswich, MA d. 14 Apr 1751 Plainfield, CT m. Rebecca Clarke m. Christobel Crary (Christobel was the daughter of the above Christobel Gallup and Peter Crary)
  • William Harris b. 12 Dec 1664 Ipswich, MA d. 31 Dec 1751 m. Sarah Newman
Martha & Hannah Lake are both my 9th great grandmothers.  I descend through Hannah's children John Gallup III and Benadam Gallup and through Martha's daughter, Elizabeth Harris.  I haven't untangled as much of the Harris line as I have the Gallup line, but I wouldn't be surprised that there might be more genealogical connections.

Now if you do a little research into Hannah and Martha's ancestry...there is a certainly a surprise or two.  If it is correct, their line includes Kings of France, England and Germany going back to at least Charlemagne. Personally, I think anytime you try to go to much past 1600, you run into a lot of trouble with proof.  















Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cemetery Tales - Nishnabotna Cemetery

After Dad and I had left the town of Kirkman and the Rose Hill Cemetery and headed down the road to Mapleton, Iowa, we were chatting about some of the other Johnson family.  Buried at Rose Hill was Washington and Mary Ann Smith Johnson and their daughter Margaret "Maggie" Johnson Rank with a few other family members.  The majority of the other Johnson children had left the Kirkman area, but there was one that I was curious about.  So, as Dad and I drove down the road, I brought up the Johnson family on my tablet and looked at the rest of the children.  Nicholas Keffer Johnson had also lived his life in Iowa.  It seemed that just as I said that Nicholas had died in Denison, Iowa, we saw a sign that pointed to the right saying Denison - 2 miles.  We made the quick decision to head down the road, thinking that the cemetery couldn't be too hard to find.  We immediately found that it wasn't - it was up on the hillside to the left of the road not too far after the turnoff from the highway.
So, Dad and headed into the cemetery and were somewhat shocked at how large the cemetery seemed to be, for such a small town.  Much to our delight, we found a board with all of the inhabitants listed.  I must say, I love Iowa cemeteries :) 


Nicholas Keffer Johnson was the second youngest of eleven children.  When I was much younger, these were pictures that I had seen in an album who I had know idea as to who they were.  Nicholas was the younger brother of my great grandfather, Ulpian Grey Johnson and they were both the children of Mary Ann Smith and Washington Abraham Johnson.
Keff & Lillie - abt 1903
Nicholas was named after Mary Ann Smith's brother, who was a half brother and minister who lived most of his life in Tennessee and Georgia.  Nicholas was born on 28 Apr 1876 in Kirkman, Shelby Co., IA and died at the age of 74 on 25 Mar 1850 in Denison, Crawford Co., IA.  Nicholas married Lillie Ann Baker on 24 Jun 1913 in Dension.  Lillie was born on 17 Mar 1880 in Vail, Crawford Co., IA to George Homer Baker and Ella Mabel Ballou.  She died on 31 Oct 1872 in Dow City, Crawford Co., IA.


Keff & Lillie with Grace - Abt 1920

Keff & Lillie had two children and only one who survived to adulthood, their daughter, Grace.  We were able to very quickly find the graves of Keff and his family, just a short distance from the sign directing us to the location.






I can't tell you how much, I appreciated the opportunity to see the landscape where my ancestors and their families lived...even if it was a relatively short time before my own.  It is easy to get lost in the names, places, dates and other records while researching family members.  I was glad to perhaps get a bit of perspective on where my great grandfather grew up and where some of his family stayed.  I must say, I thought it was a nice place.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Gage Women...

There is no doubt in my mind that I have some fabulous women in my family.  I have been fortunate that I have had the opportunity to know them and appreciate who they are and what they have done in their lives. I am also incredibly lucky to have a library of photos to draw from where I can see them at almost any age.

First there is my beloved Great Grandmother (Florence Christine Shawver) who is technically a Shawver, married Granddad Gage on 4 Sept 1917 and they remained a devoted couple until  Granddad died on 30 Dec 1990 - they had been married for over 73 years.  When the first of her children were born in the late teens and twenties, I'm sure there were hard times, but I also suspect they were very happy years.  Then the depression hit and like everyone else, they also had very hard times.  They uprooted their family from the farm in Iowa, because Granddad couldn't pay the taxes and went first to South Dakota and in 1935 traveled across Montana in November to reach Dover, Idaho. It wasn't until later that year that they had bought land and had build a house on Hatter Creek, ID.  Grandma Florence's oldest daughter was my grandmother Marian who we lost a few years ago at age 91.  Then came Elaine and Pauline, who are both still going strong.  The youngest daughter, Norma, died 30 years ago of cancer.  All four of these women were strong women who could work and did work just as hard as a man did.  I think the farm wife probably worked much harder and longer than her husband - especially when you add 10 children to that mix like my great grandparents had.  My great grandmother was born on 14 Jun 1897 in Lyons, NE and she lived to be 93 years old...just a few months short of 94.  These are just a few of the wonderful photos that my great grandmother had.
Florence Shawver - Graduation

Around 1930 or so...I think Grandma Marian was always
tall for her age - she wanted to be petite but it was never
quite in the cards for her.  She ended up being 5'10

Taken about 1929  - since Norma was born in 1928.  Grandma is holding Norma,
Elaine, Pauline and Grandma Marian in the front.  I love the look of the
devil on Aunt Elaine's face.  I am told that she was not a girl to be trifled with when she was a youngster.


This was taken on the sad occasion of my grandfather's passing in 1975.  Starting Left to Right:
Norma, Elaine, Grandma Florence, Pauline & Grandma Marian