Monday, January 27, 2014

Cemetery Tales - Rosehill Cemetery

Dad and I took a great trip in the fall of 2012 back to see family in North Dakota, Minnesota and then down to Iowa and Nebraska.  It was on a lovely Fall day when we pulled into Rosehill Cemetery in Kirkman, Shelby Co., IA.  My great great grandparents had come up to Iowa from Tennessee and there was a special excitement to see the small community cemetery where they were buried!

My Father - Gene Johnson at his great grandparents grave

Washington Abraham Johnson was born on 25 Oct 1819 in Greensboro, Guilford Co., NC to Moses Johnson and Nancy Mayfield.  He was the second oldest of five children.  His family left North Carolina and traveled to Carter Co., TN to the small town of Hampton.  In 1855, he married Mary Ann Smith, the daughter of Jacob Cunningham Smith and Eleanor Wilson.  Mary Ann was born on 16 Apr 1830 in New Market, Jefferson Co., TN and it was in New Market where Washington and Mary married on 21 Aug 1855.  In 1862, Washington and Mary Ann fled from Tennessee to Iowa to escape the Civil War with their three young children.  They first went to Jasper Co., IA where Washington's brother, Henderson lived but were in Kirkman by 1870.  Washington Abraham and Mary Ann had eleven children, ten who survived to adulthood.  Washington Abraham Johnson lived to the grand old age of 97 years of age, dying on 14 Feb 1917 while his wife of 61 years lived to the age of 85, dying on 14 Mar 1916.

So, here we were on that lovely September day in 2012, Dad I and I pulled into the driveway of Rose Hill Cemetery.  Dad had been there before his mother and my Mom.  They got out and searched the entire cemetery to at last find Washington and Mary Ann's grave.  When they pulled out of the cemetery, they noticed a sign at the entrance that told them where everyone was buried in the cemetery.  Mom told me later that she learned a valuable lesson - always take the time to look around and see what is there.

Dad and I were able to find the cemetery stone fairly quickly without consulting the cemetery listing - but then I had a head start.  I had seen photographs of the gravestone and knew what it looked like.  Near their grave was that of their daughter, Maggie with her husband and children buried nearby (Maggie and Charles Rank).  Of all of their children, only their daughter was buried in the same cemetery.

As far as I could see, most of Iowa is relatively flat and without the wealth of trees that I was used.  It was impossible to know where Washington and Mary Ann lived exactly.  I do have a photo of their house and know that they were farmers.  The town of Kirkman now only has a population of about 64, so it is pretty tiny.  It has been around since about 1880 and was incorporated in 1892.  So, to my shock it is younger than my own hometown of Lewiston, ID.  I do know that they attended the Methodist Church and since the church I found in time was built before my ancestor's I would guess that they probably attended the church.

I can't say that I learned anything special about my great great grandparents that day, however seeing where they lived, went to church and where they were buried gave me some sort of context.  I had seen the land where the Johnson's immigrated to in Tennessee and where Washington's father was buried.  Now, I was able to see where Washington and his wife of 61 years were buried.  I must admit that it did my heart good to add context to all of the census records and photos that I had seen of them over the years.  Something that anyone who researches their family genealogy can truly understand!

Washington & Mary Smith Johnson abt 1914
Washington Abraham Johnson abt 1855

Mary Ann Smith abt 1855

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Valentine Huddleston & Catherine Chatham

When I first started reading the Gage family genealogy when I was a teenager, one of the more interesting entries was that of Valentine Huddleston and his wife Catherine Chatham.  Now my handy dandy genealogy program calculates that Valentine and his wife were my 9th great grandparents - so obviously this couple lived a long time ago.  However, there are definitely some interesting stories.

Valentine was born in 1628 in England and was  possibly the son of Valentine Huddleston and Jane Grey. There is a listing for a Valentine Huddleston who arrived in Maryland in 1663 and I believe that my Valentine might be the same fellow.  He would have been about 35 years old and if this is the same Valentine Huddleston, he made his way up near the Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Catherine Chatham had a much more difficult journey to the colonies.  She was born about 1635 in England. As my old Gage genealogy stated it "Catherine Chatham came to Boston from England dressed in sack cloth as a sign of her belief in the Quaker religion.  She had been threatened with death, but instead was stripped to the waist and driven into the forest in the middle of winter and was expected to have died...but survived and married John Chamberlin."  I have seen this same story written down or some variation of it several times.  She seemed to be a woman of strong beliefs and will from what those few sentences spell out.  She married John Chamberlin, who was a widower with five children.  After her marriage, they had three more children and then John Chamberlin died. around 1667, so she was left with the care of eight children.  When she met Valentine Huddleston and married him on 4 Aug 1672 in Newport, RI, she came with quite a bit of baggage.  I have no idea if Valentine had ever married, but when he married Catherine Chatham, he was 43 years old.

So here is the newly married couple...Valentine at 43 years of age and his wife, Catherine who was 37...and if the data is to believed, they had at least four children:  Henry b. 1673, George b. 1677, Catherine b. 1679 and Jean b. 1681.  Catherine died sometime after 1681 although some have her death date as 1679 - which would make the birth of her last child somewhat difficult.  I'm not sure anyone really knows her exact death date.  Since this was a woman in that particular time period, I'm not sure it is a record that survives. Valentine lived a remarkably long life.  He received land from Governor Bradford of Massachusetts and moved there and spent the remainder of his life there and died on 8 Jun 1727 at the age of 98 years of age.

Catherine and Valentine's son, George married Mercy Case.  Mercy's father was James Case and her mother was Anna Chamberlin, the step daughter of Catherine Chatham.  (Anna's parents were Ann Brown and John Chamberlin.) When you think about seems a rather close connection but there is no blood relation.  James Case married Anna Chamberlin about 1675, two years before George Huddleston was even born.

So, here is my ancestry from Catherine and Valentine:

Valentine Huddleston m. Catherine Chatham
George Huddleston m. Mercy Case
Isaac Huddleston m. Elinor Mortimer
Mary Jane Huddleston m. Joseph Gage
William Gage m. Ruth Macomber
Potter Gage m. Cynthia Swan
Gilbert Gage m. Pheobe Allen
Orlando Gage m. Edith Gallup
Ora Silas Gage m. Florence Christine Shawver
Helen Marian Gage m. Frank Stewart Johnson - my grandparents!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Learning to Shoot...

After my Uncle Jack's widow, Hilda Heitmann Friddle died on 24 Jun 1989, Mom and I got a pleasant surprise.  Her brother dropped by some of Jack's photo albums and a few other bits and pieces.  Among these bits and pieces was a photo album with some really wonderful pictures.  I think my favorite was the one where Pop Friddle was holding on to the toddler (Uncle Jack) while Mom Friddle was learning to shoot.

I have no idea as to the specific location other than it was up on Grouse Flats above Troy, Oregon.  I have no other specific date except the guess that it must have been taken during the late summer, as Mom Friddle seems to be showing her pregnancy somewhat and she had my Grandma Capitola in December.  So this was photo was probably taken around August 1911 and Jack would have been almost two years old, and Mom Friddle (Sophia Dollar Friddle) would have been 17 years old and Pop Friddle (David Carl Friddle) would have been about 22 years old.  I think it is a wonderful picture of a pioneer family...which is what they were.

When Mom Friddle came out west with her young son who was just over a year old in 1910, it must have been quite a culture shock.  She had grown up in a household as the adored and coddled granddaughter.  As my Grandma Cappy described it..."she had grown up like Topsy!"  To paraphrase, she didn't know how to cook much, make soap, care for a house...and here she was a young bride and mother at 16 years old when she came out west in November 1910.  I imagine that after the trip from Troy, OR on a wagon up to her new home, she must have wanted to throw herself on the bed and cry her eyes out.  She had left a comfortable home where she had been taken care and  was in a simple small shack with her young son and her husband gone for weeks at a time working.  That first winter had to have been very hard.  Perhaps Pop Friddle was with her...I don't really know - but I know that I heard stories of hearing the screams of cougars nearby and various other types of wild animals.  She couldn't have felt too protected in that small shack.  By the time the summer had rolled around, there was not only the wildlife making loud and terrifying sounds, but also rattlesnakes that were plentiful in her new home.  So, with that knowledge - this photo becomes more significant.  My great grandmother was preparing be able to protect her children and herself while her husband was away...and if it took using a gun nearly as big as she was...then so be it.  So she not only had to learn to shoot...she had to practice so she could hit whatever she was shooting at!  Knowing what I do about my great grandmother - I suspect that she probably became quite good at it.  

Monday, January 6, 2014

Bessie Friddle Ray

I think that this picture must have been taken in the late 1930's or perhaps the early 1940's.  It is a photograph of Bessie Calone Friddles, her husband Joseph Andrew Ray and their daughters Odess Ivalee Ray and Delta E. Ray.  Bessie was the daughter of Albert Ananias Friddles and Cordelia A. Vaught.  I never met Bessie but have spent time researching her.

Bessie's parents left Johnson Co., TN sometime between 1887 when Bessie's older brother, Joe was born and 1889 when she was born around Pomeroy, Garfield Co., WA.  The best guess is that it was most likely in 1888 and that was from a newspaper article about her father when he died.  Her father, Albert, was my great grandfather's older brother but I think in reality that he was the closest thing that my great grandfather had as a father figure.  My great grandfather was born in 1889 and his father died in 1890.  Albert was born in 1854 and was 34 years older than my great grandfather.  Albert married into a fairly well known local family when he married Cordelia Vaught on 15 Mar 1883 in Johnson Co., TN.  They had three sons within the first four years of their marriage.  They then took off and moved west to first Garfield Co., WA and later Grouse Flats, Wallowa Co., OR.  I don't know how they made the trip west.  I think that there might have been trains by that time, but I suspect that they left TN for the same reason that most people went west. There wasn't much opportunity for a young man to own land in Johnson Co., TN but there were all kinds of possibilities if he took his growing family west.  It was into this small family that Bessie was born on 15 Feb 1889.  Two younger siblings sister who died within her first few months of birth and a younger sister who was born 10 years after Bessie was born.  It was not too long after this youngest sibling was born that Bessie's life must have changed drastically.  Her mother, Cordelia, died on 20 Oct 1901 of Tuberculosis.  Cordelia left behind three sons and two daughters.  At 12 years old, I'm sure that many of the household chores fell to the little girl including taking care of her little sister.  It wasn't as though there were neighbors or close family nearby that could help.  I have heard from several sources that Albert was a remarkable man who kept his family together and raised his youngest daughter - but one has to wonder how much of that responsibility rested on Bessie's younger shoulders.

When Bessie was 19 years old, she married a 35 year old Joseph Andrew Ray.  Joseph was the son of Nathan William Ray and Margaret Susanna Pickens.  I am not sure what prompted Joseph to leave North Carolina and come west...but I suspect that it was his older sister Amanda.  Joseph's father Nathan William Ray served in the Third Mounted Infantry of NC for the Union.  Amanda married as his third wife to Samuel Marion Silver, a Confederate veteran.  (That had to be interesting a Union soldier's daughter married a Confederate soldier) They left North Carolina sometime after 1890 and before 1900 when they are recorded in the census.  Andrew and Bessie stayed in the Grouse Flat area until after 1930.  It was probably at this time, that many of the family members had left Grouse Flats and there wasn't much to keep them there.  I know that my great grandparents left in the early 1920's with thoughts of their son, Jack going to high school.  

I like to make fun a bit of some of the close relationships between some of the families in some of the regions around my locality...and like many other instances there are curious connections here.  Bessie was the next youngest sibling of her brother Joseph McDonald Friddles and two years after Bessie married Joseph Ray, her brother Joe married Bessie Lucretia Silver.  Bessie was the daughter of Samuel Marion Silver and Amanda Emeline Ray, Joe Ray's older sister.  So Bessie's two daughters called Amanda and Aunt and Joseph Ray was Joe Friddle's children's uncle and great uncle.

Joe Ray and Bessie moved at some point to Linn Co., OR and Joe dies there on 28 Apr 1952.  Bessie survives him until 3 Dec 1967 and they are both buried near their daughter at Willamette Memorial Park, Albany, Linn Co., OR.

I grew up hearing the odd story about Bessie Ray.  I imagine she was quite close to my great grandparents because they were of a similar age.  I've also heard that Bessie's husband, Joseph had a drinking problem.  I don't know how true it is...but when I look at the breadth of Bessie's life from early days on Grouse Flats to raising her children among her cousins - I suspect that life was hard but there must have been a satisfaction to having her family close around.  As usual, I find it interesting the connections between families.  Not only do you have the family connection but I have to wonder if there was still friction because one family served under the Union and the other in the Confederacy.  I suspect it still wasn't and easy subject when Bessie was a girl.

Joe and Bessie had two children:  Odess Ivalee Ray b. 1910 d. 1992 who married Win Emerson and a daughter named Delta Ray who I am not sure what happened to her.  I find a Delta E Ray who was born 1914 and died in 2000 in WV - but I can't be sure if it is the same one.