Monday, February 28, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Obituary of Ed Newby 1944

April 17, 1918 - August 10, 1944

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Ed was the youngest sibling of my maternal great grandfather, Charles Lee Newby. The following obituary was published in the Knightstown Banner on August 18, 1944 pg. 1, col. 4., Knightstown, Indiana

                                  Death Claims Well Known Resident

     Ed J. Newby, a well known life resident of this city, passed away early Friday morning at his home on South Washington street following an illness of several weeks. Death was due to a heart ailment. He was the youngest son of the late John A. and Mary Grunden Newby and was born November 30, 1881. He was married to Mrs. Maud Rhodes Griffney on April 17, 1918. He was a member of the local Methodist church. Surviving besides the widow are a nephew, Morris Newby of Lowell, Ind., and a neice, Mrs. Fern Runyan, of Indianapolis. The funeral services were conducted from the Wilson Funeral Home, Sunday afternoon at 2:30 by Rev. Ernest A. Addison. Interment was made in Glencove cemetery.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

COG 103 - Women's History Month: Ten Generations

Ten Generations of Maternal Lineage

The Carnival of Genealogy (COG) traditionally honors women in March each year in conjunction with National Women's History Month. The submissions for this month's COG are to be of any subject we choose, presented in any fashion we choose, that will honor the women in our family or that honor women in general. I have chosen to honor pictorially the maternal line in my family. My thanks to Jasia of CREATIVEGENE for hosting this Carnival!

Starting with my only granddaughter, I follow the mothers of the mothers in my family to a total of ten generations. Of the last three photos, two are of tombstones and the last one is only a name and memorial.

Taryn b. 2001 (photo cir. 2004 at age 3)
Hallie, mother of Taryn b. 1980 (photo cir. 1998 at age 18)
Lisa Logsdon, mother of Hallie b. 1952 (photo cir. 1995 at age 43)
Janet Wallen, mother of Lisa b. 1924 (photo cir. 1939 at age 15)
M. Fern Runyan, mother of Janet b. 1893 (photo cir. 1917 at age 24)
Ida May Newby, mother of Fern b. 1873 (photo cir. 1892 at age 19)
Phoebe Trowbridge, mother of Ida May b. 1836 (photo cir. 1882 at age 46)
Martha Cook, mother of Phoebe b. 1812 (d. 1841 at age 29)
Rebecca Brown, mother of Martha  b. 1781 (d. 1863 at age 82)
Sarah Sutherland, mother of Rebecca
(no clear dates, no tombstone, wife of Isaac Sutherland)

(Written for the 103rd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In The Beginning...... Year 2: What's More Important?

So, which is more important: Genealogy or Family History?

Today begins my second year in documenting our family history through blogging and, although I didn't plan it this way, I find myself back at the true beginning. As I said a year ago in my very first blog post, the Diary of Oliver Morton Wallen, my paternal great grandfather, was what piqued my curiosity about my own ancestors and was what eventually led me to a full blown obsession with finding out all I could about both my and my husband's historical past. This week I once again found myself engulfed in Oliver's diary, or at least the first four short pages of it. As it turns out, because of missing punctuation and what I can only describe as a brain fart on my end, I had overlooked an important clue about the death of Oliver's maternal grandfather and I realized I'd also dismissed someone who was very important in his life and in the life of his family.

It all started this past weekend while I was using Google Earth to explore parts of Rockcastle county in Kentucky where Oliver grew up. I realized that I had thumbtacked the town of Negro Creek as the home of his maternal grandfather, Uriah Sutton. But I noticed on page 1 of Oliver's diary that he said that in 1875 his family moved onto the farm of his grandfather Sutton "1 mile S.W. of Maretsburg" which was quite a distance to the southeast of Negro Creek. I went back to check the 1867 tax record and realized it was the Negro Creek watercourse that was named, not the town. Well, how far did that watercourse run and where to? So, I contacted the man I knew who was most knowledgeable about the area and explained what I needed to know. Jeff Renner told me Oliver was geographically correct. The Negro Creek watercourse ran south of Maretsburg and near there it ended and the Skeggs Creek watercourse began. Great. I moved my thumbtack and flew down to street level approximately one mile S.W. of Maretsburg. At that point there appeared a very old farm. I couldn't see it clearly but my imagination was full. From the air, there were more buildings further back. Was this part of Uriah's farm? Maybe someday I'll know. For now, I dream.

Old farm approximately one mile southwest of Maretsburg, Kentucky
 via Google Earth street view

Oliver was 5 years old (1875) when they moved to Uriah's farm. He was the oldest of three siblings at the time and his mother would have been pregnant with the fourth. Six years and four more children later his father (and I'm not sure what other family members) moved to his paternal grandmother's farm and it was this sentence in the diary that made me realize the error of my ways: "In the folowing Dec. (of 1881) father moved on the farm of Grandma Wallen, the old home farm grandpa having died some time previous to this grandma was alone, and I staid with her."

I felt stupid and elated at the same time. Oliver was talking about two different grandmothers! Yes, there's a lack of punctuation, possibly left out or faded with time, but what I failed to see was that Oliver stayed and his father left. William Wallen, Oliver's father, went to live at his own childhood home with his mother, Louisa Tyree Wallen, aka Grandma Wallen. William's father had been dead about 4 years, therefore I assumed Oliver was talking about his paternal grandfather Jesse B. Wallen when he said "grandpa having died". Before now I'd had no clue as to when Uriah died but he was listed as "disabled" in the 1880 census so I only knew he died between 1880 and 1900. Now that I realize Oliver was talking about two different grandmothers, I know that Uriah died between mid 1880 and the end of 1881. This gives me a much more narrowed timespan for Uriah's death than the 20 year span I had previously.

But, to me, the more important thing I received from that simple little sentence was a wake up to the fact that I'd been putting blood as "all important" and had barely glanced at family history. The grandma that was alone and that Oliver stayed with was Oliver's step-grandmother. I am ashamed to say that, because she is completely unrelated to me, I have dismissed this woman as unimportant for the past 16 years. After I did a timeline I realized that Telitha (Clark) Williams Sutton was the only maternal grandmother Oliver and his siblings ever knew. Uriah's first wife, Euna Delaney Sutton, died the year after her 11th child was born and Uriah married Telitha a little over 4 years later. He was married to Euna 18 years before she died and married to Telitha about 22 years before he died. He and Telitha had no children together and therefore I did not consider her important; not until I read that one sentence and had my eyes opened to who she really was and her place in the family. All I knew was that her first husband, Simeon Williams, was shot and killed the very same month he and Telitha were married, and I knew who Telitha's parents and siblings were. In other words, I knew her bare genealogy. In my opinion, that was a big mistake. Now, at least, Telitha will not be quite so forgotton and those of my family who read my blog will know the importance of her place in our family history. My apologies to Telitha! R.I.P.

And now I'd really like to find out the scoop on the murder of Telitha's first husband. I smell an interesting story!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

How Billy The Kid Helped Me Identify a Family Tintype

John Calvin and Phoebe Cook Trowbridge
Circa January 6, 1867 - Rushville, Indiana
Likely their wedding photo

My maternal grandmother, Mary Fern (Newby) Runyan, had 8 or 9 tintypes in her collection which I inherited last year. They belonged to her parents, Charles Lee and Ida May (Trowbridge) Newby. None of them were identified.

About my 4th year into genealogy I came in contact with a distant cousin, Frances VanderWeide, who mailed me a thick package containing information on her Grunden lineage and which included photos of her great grandfather, James Alexander Grunden, the brother of Charles Newby's mother, Mary Louisa (Grunden) Newby. When I opened the package a photo of James slid out into my lap. Well I nearly peed my pants! There in my lap was the identical image as that in one of my own tintypes! It was of James in his Civil War uniform and obviously he had purchased several of the images to give to various family members. So! That was the first of my tintypes to be identified.

Five of my tintypes, including the one of the couple above, came in decorative thin brass frames. Four of those, including the one above, had glass in front of the tintype. Three of them, not including the one above, have Tax Stamps on the back and make them easy to date. These five tintypes have cost me more time than I'd ever care to admit. I have been obsessed with finding out who these people are.

Tintype of Billy the Kid,
who posed for the picture
in a Fort Sumner, N.M.,
gambling hall in
late 1879 or early 1880
I always thought the man in the picture above looked like my great grandmother's father John Calvin Trowbridge, except for the was wrong. It was parted on the opposite side as what was shown in the other two later photos I had of him. This is where Billy The Kid stepped in to help. I had read and read about tintypes but somehow never understood that a tintype is a mirror image. An article I found on Billy the Kid explained how, after all these years, the "left hand gun" was not left handed after all. That notion stemmed from the fact that in this tintype of him he appears to be wearing his gun holstered on his left hip. In reality, it is on his right hip. This was startling news and I quickly got my tintype out and studied it with renewed interest. 

Now that I understood about tintypes being mirror images, I realized that not only was the hair parted in the right place, but there was also another more telling clue that I had not noticed before. John Calvin Trowbridge's right eye dipped down in the inner corner whereas his left eye was perfectly straight. Both regular photos showed the down turn...and so did the "opposite" eye on the tintype! Any doubts I may have had previously were now dissolved. Unmistakably, this was John Calvin Trowbridge and the woman in the picture could be none other than my great, great grandmother, Phoebe (Cook) Trowbridge!
The three faces of John Calvin Trowbridge
He is youngest in the tintype on the right,  middle age is on the left and older age is in the center. Enlarging will help to see the downturn of the right eye in each photo. Remember that it will look like the left eye in the tintype.

After removing the tintype from it's decorative frame and glass I was able to scan it and save it to my computer and enlarge it. One of the things I could not see with the naked eye was that Phoebe is wearing a brooch at her neck. It has the face of a man on it and is turned sideways.

Enlarging it further and turning it right side up gives a slightly better view...

So now I have a new mystery; who is this man? Phoebe's father was still living so I can only imagine the image to be that of her first husband, another man named John Trowbridge, and distantly related to John Calvin Trowbridge. But, would a woman wear her dead first husband's likeness while marrying another? 

The framed tintype 

Below is a later photo of Phoebe, thought to have been taken about 1882.
Phoebe (Cook) Trowbridge
cir. 1882
I don't think I'll be forgetting about the mirror image thing too soon and I'll always be grateful to William H. Bonny, aka Billy The Kid, for the myth of the "Left Handed Gun", made famous by the 1958 movie of that name starring Paul Newman.  Or, maybe I should just be grateful to whoever wrote that article. I never could find it again, at least not the exact same one, but there seems to be plenty of them written about this particular subject!

Now if I can just get those other tintypes identified.....


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: 1890 Trip Pass - Pennsylvania R.R.

1890 Pennsylvania Railroad Employe's Trip Pass  
Knightstown, Indiana to Eaton, Indiana

This old Trip Pass was among the things my mother inherited from my grandmother and it is the only evidence I've found that my great grandfather, Charles Lee Newby, worked as a Section Laborer for the Southern Division of the Pennsylvania Railroad. He would have been 22 years old and not yet married to my great grandmother. Although he was always a Farmer, he also worked as a Teamster and then took up the trade of Carpenter. (See photo's of his Carpenter's Lumber and Log Book here.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: James H. and Mary C. (Townsend) Paslay

James H. and Mary C. (Townsend) Paslay

Old Liberty Cemetery, Sefton, Fayette Co., Illinois

James H. Paslay was the son of George Dudley and Cynthia Janetta M. (Davis) Paslay. Mary C. Townsend was my great grandaunt. She was the daughter of Lewis and Mary Ann (Patterson) Townsend. James and Mary had four (known) sons: George Lewis, Clyde Emory, Harold Leland and Bruce E.

Photo used with permission from FindAGrave Volunteer, Gary Feezel


Monday, February 7, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Obituary of Sarah (Testerman) Martin

August 30, 1865 - August 26, 1951

Lizzie Martin - Woodstock, Kentucky
(Photo courtesy Kathy Martin - Somerset, Kentucky)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Sarah Elizabeth "Lizzie" was the daughter of John T. and Celia Bloomer Testerman. Celia was the niece of my paternal 4th great grandmother, Elizabeth Bloomer Wallen. Lizzie married James Daniel Sherman Martin, the brother of my paternal 2nd great grandmother, Ursula Ann Martin Davis Burnett.

Obituary of Sarah Elizabeth Martin (from Kathy Martin of Somerset, Kentucky - typed copy)

Mrs. Sarah Elizaeth Martin, 85, died at her home at Woodstock Sunday morning, Aug. 26, 1951. She had been in failing health for the past three years. Mrs. Martin was the daughter of the late John T. and Celia Bloomer Testerman. She united in marriage with James S. Martin and to this union were born five children. Her husband preceded her in death five years, and also a son.

Mrs. Martin had lived in Pulaski Co. most all her life and was a devoted wife and mother who stayed at home. She was an active member of her church and will be missed by all who come in contact with her.

Funeral services were held Monday afternoon at the Woodstock Baptist Church, the Rev. C. M. Hill of Eubank officiated. Burial was in the Woodstock Baptist Church Cemetery.

Surviving are four children: two sons, Thomas and Charles Martin of Louisville, two daughters, Mrs. Susan Lampe, Indianapolis and Mrs. Addie O'Neal, Route 3, Eubank.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Theodore E. Townsend


Old Liberty Cemetery, Sefton Township, Fayette Co., Illinois

Theodore Townsend was my paternal great granduncle, son of Lewis and Mary Ann Patterson Townsend, second husband of Nora Adeline Paslay. No known descendants.

Photo used with permission from FindAGrave Volunteer, Gary Feezel