Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Allison and Laura Trowbridge

My maternal great granduncle Allison Cook Trowbridge
son of John Calvin and Phoebe (Cook) Trowbridge
md. December 6, 1893 in Rush Co., Indiana
Laura Coralinn Delashmit
daughter of William P. and Adeline M. (Trevillion) Delashmit


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: No Missing Stones at Kempner

In the past three months I've written about two family members who died in 1905 in Kempner, Lampasas Co., Texas and were buried in the cemetery there without headstones, or at least that's what I thought. My great grandfather Oliver M. Wallen was destitute at the time of these deaths so the local church people took up a collection so they might be buried properly with robes and caskets. I assumed there wasn't enough collected to cover the cost of stones for either of them since stones weren't mentioned in Oliver's diary. Well, it seems all these years I may have assumed wrong.

Ten years ago I made memorials for those two family members at The memorials were for Oliver's little brother William Thomas (Willie) Wallen and his maternal aunt, Elmira Jane (Aunt Myra) Sutton. More recently, I decided to make a request to volunteers for photos of those stones. Not for a second did I expect those requests to be filled, I did it "just in case", but in my mind, I already knew I was going to have to put stones to those graves on my own and, in fact, for the past two weeks I've been preparing for a May RV trip from Florida to Texas. I had several places in Texas I wanted to go to anyway so I was planning our route to include Kempner Cemetery. I had no idea who to contact about getting permission to add tombstones at the cemetery or who to even get to do the stones or what they'd cost.

Last Sunday night I decided I would take a quick look at my e-mail before I went to bed and when I did I immediately saw two notifications that someone had fulfilled some photo requests at Find A Grave. To my complete surprise, there were Willie and Aunt Myra's tombstone photos, I couldn't believe it! Never a dull moment with family history, you think you know something and find out you don't know Jack!

W. T. Wallen
E. J. Sutton

Of course, I don't know when the stones were placed on the graves. Perhaps Oliver's brother Jesse put them there long after Oliver died in 1907. And it easily could have been the work of Oliver's uncle Tom Wallen who was a stone mason and who lived not all that far away in Denton, Texas at the time. Grandma Wallen was still living in 1912 and it's possible it was she who was the one responsible for seeing to it that her grandson Willie and dear friend Myra had markers. 

So, it looks like I can skip the plans to have tombstones cut for these two family members after all. That certainly works for me!

*Note: Tombstone photos used with the permission of Find A Grave Volunteers, Michael and Tracie Dillingham! Thanks!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Women's History: Mom and Kate Join the Work Force 1942

Janet Runyan and Kate Jackson circa 1940
Mom and Kate were best friends forever. They went to school together and graduated from Lewisville High in Lewisville, Henry Co., Indiana along with about 22 others. Before I met Kate the first time in the early 1980s I felt like I already knew her because Mom always talked about her and all the good times they had together. They had kept in touch all their lives with letters and telephone calls and occasionally managed to get in an actual visit even though Kate still lived in Indiana and Mom was here in Florida. Mom had many small newspaper clippings sent to her from Kate: high school reunions, births of children and grandchildren and Kate's Golden Wedding Anniversary announcement, all preserved lovingly in a scrapbook like album. When Mom and I went to Indiana back in the Spring of 1999 she and Kate visited for the last time. It was just last year that I had to make that call to Kate to give her the news that Mom had passed away.

One thing I didn't remember Mom telling me was that after graduation Kate moved in with Mom and my grandparents when she and Mom both landed jobs at the Link-Belt Company, a huge factory in Indianapolis. I recently found this article in the May 7, 1942 edition of the National Road Traveler, a small Indiana newspaper that covered a short area of towns along the National Road (Route 40) between Henry and Rush counties. 

"Miss Kathryn Jackson and Miss Janet Runyan left Sunday evening for Indianapolis where they will both be employed by the Link-Belt Company. They will make their home with Miss Runyan's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Runyan." 

Of course I had to look up the Link-Belt Company to find out about it and found this article in Google Books. 

Actually I found numerous articles about the Link-Belt Company on the Internet, but I found only one historical picture of the factory in Indianapolis...a huge building that closed in 1958.

I'm finding out lots of little things about my mother and her friends in the old National Road Traveler. The social sections of those small town newspapers are a regular gold mine for day to day news events. I always find myself wishing Mom were still here so I could share these neat little articles with her. I can just imagine the stories they'd evoke!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lawrence E. Runyan - Born St. Patrick's Day 1893


My maternal grandfather Lawrence Everett Runyan loved playing horseshoes so this birthday card is just about perfect!

Go mbeannai Dia duit 
(May God bless you)


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Gertie Newby 1865 - 1891


Sister of my maternal great grandfather, Charles Lee Newby


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Letter To The Editor 1921 - Sarah Writes Home

Both my maternal great grandparents, Oliver M. Wallen and Sarah F. Davis, grew up in Rockcastle Co., Kentucky in the 1870s and 80s but left for Texas in 1905 because of health issues. When Oliver died just two years later his family returned home to Kentucky. In 1916, nine years after Oliver's death, Sarah married John Lloyd Livesay. John's family had been residents of the county for several generations. His father and grandfather owned the George S. Livesay & Son general store in the tiny town of Wabd. After they married, John and Sarah remained in Kentucky only two years before making the decision to move their family to Randolph, McLean Co., Illinois. The following letter appeared in the local newspaper, the Mt. Vernon Signal, on January 28, 1921:

Jan. 23, 1921
Randolph, Ill
Dear Editor:
   If you will allow me a little space in the dear old home paper I would like to send a few lines. It has been about fourteen months since we left the beautiful hills of dear old Kentucky and came to this state to live.
   We live in McLean Co., said to be the best county in the state. It is almost a level prairie divided into well kept farms with modern homes, good schools and churches. The soil is black and fertile. Grains of all kinds grow well, also fruits but very little attention is given to the latter except berries of various kinds.
   We all like this country very well. We have good roads and traveling is done with much more ease and comfort than it is there but we haven't reached the "honey pond" yet. It's farther on.
   Yet with all of it's good roads and nice homes and rich rolling prairies our mind wanders to scenes of our earlier days where the rocks and hills look rough and rugged to many people but to me they are not only beautiful but show the hand work of the great Creator who had created only the beautiful and good. Now this does not mean that we are homesick but that we haven't forgotten home and friends.
   We are always glad to get the Signal. It's like getting a letter from home. It is perused by each member of the family and it's the one who gets it first that gets to read it first but that one is now allowed to tell what he reads or read aloud as every one wants to have the pleasure of reading the news himself or herself. We read the home news first, then begin to look for the letters. Level Green comes first naturally as it is the place where so many pleasant memories of our home and school days linger. Of course there are sad recollections too, as in all our lives, for, as the poet said, "There was never a life so happy but has had it's time of tears." Wish the correspondent from Level Green would send a letter each week.
   We read all the letters. We're glad to hear from Livingston again; we don't know so many people there now, but attended one very pleasant term of school there a few years ago under the tutorship of Prof. Dickerson whose death we hated so much to read of recently. I think the correspondents from Hopewell and Withers are old school mates of mine. I wish some one at Wabd and Maretburg would write every week.
   I expect this long letter of not much importance will find a resting place in the waste basket. If not I may write again someday.
   Very truly yours,

This was an exciting find and I couldn't wait to share it with Sarah and John's daughter Myrtle, my half grand-aunt, who is 90 years old and still a very sharp lady. Most of Myrtle's photos and mementos burned up when the family farmhouse burned down in 1958. She wrote me an e-mail not too long ago and at the bottom she wrote: 

"Thank you so much for loving genealogy and sharing it with me!"  

Not in her wildest dreams could she know how much I appreciated those words.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: Funeral - Maude Newby 1955

July 31, 1844 - January 13, 1955

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

Maude Rhodes Newby was the daughter of John Peter and Martha E. (Pendergrast) Rhodes. Maude married George L. Griffney about 1910. George died in 1914 and Maude married Edward J. Newby the youngest sibling of my maternal great grandfather Charles Lee Newby. There were no known children by either marriage.

The Funeral Services notice below was published in the Knightstown Banner on January 13, 1955, pg. 1, col. 5, Knightstown, Indiana.

                  Funeral Services Held For Maude L Newby

   Funeral services were held Friday, January 7, at 2:30 p.m. in the Butcher Funeral Home for Mrs. Maude L. Newby, 70, who died at her home in Knightstown Tuesday. Rev. Richard Derby Jr. officiated with burial in Glen Cove Cemetery.
    Mrs. Newby was a member of the Knightstown Christian Church.
    Surviving are a sister, Mrs. Effie Pitts, of Knightstown, and several nieces and nephews.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Ordained at Freedom Church

Oliver Morton Wallen
My paternal great grandfather ordained at age 29 in Rockcastle Co., Kentucky

Mt. Vernon Signal Newspaper - September 29, 1899

"Oliver Wallin ordained to the ministry Sept. 23rd at Freedom church. The deacons from Brodhead and Pine Hill churches assisting. Bro. Wallin is one of our county boys and a bright young man. We predict a grand work by him."

Oliver was actually licensed to preach at Freedom Church in January of 1896.  He preached his first sermon on May 3, 1896 and from that time on he continued preaching in various churches in both Rockcastle and Pulaski counties in Kentucky.

I found this clipping today.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Blog Awards, Hmmmm......

Ok. So, I'm not really sure what to think about BLOG AWARDS. I've gotten two this week. 

I like my blog. My husband thinks it is soooo professional! But, he hasn't seen many blogs so, Hmmmm. 

First I received the "Family Tree Magazine Top 40 Genealogy Blogs" award and I don't know who nominated me and, I don't know who all voted for me but, wow, I'm kinda weirded out by that. Really, REALLY humbling. "Thanks" doesn't seem to quite do it but, I don't know what else to say. my husband, maybe y'all haven't seen the OTHER blogs! 

Today, I received the "One Lovely Blog" award from Ros at GenWestUK. Thanks Ros! ...but, "Lovely"? Hmmmm! A certain eye appeal ME. Never thought about lovely though. I've SEEN lovely blogs. I KNOW what they look like.

But LOVELY is in the eye of the beholder, right? Ok! 

So, there are rules that come with the One Lovely Blog Award and they are:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Newly discovered? Oh...I see. They don't mention they have to be "lovely", just newly discovered. Check.

My 15 newly discovered (and, actually, quite blogs are...

  1. A Grave Interest
  2. Barking Up Our Family Tree
  3. Le Maison Duchamp
  4. Stuck Family Of Indiana - Genealogy
  5. Your Story Is Waiting
  6. Appalachia Ponderings
  7. In the shade of my family tree
  8. Minnesota Family Historian
  9. The Arrowood Trail Thru the Mountains
  10. The Checkered Chicken
  11. The Moyer Mysteries & Histories
  12. More Than Names
  13. My Georgia Roots
  14. Heritage Heart
  15. Kentucky Kinfolk

My thanks to the entire community of geneabloggers and readers! Y'all are a FUN group!


Women's History: Spinster Aunt - Myra Sutton

Friend, Mother, Angel
drawing from

Elmira Jane was the daughter of Uriah and Euna (Delaney) Sutton, my paternal third great grandparents. She was born about 1849 and was the 9th of 11 known children. Her sister, my great, great grandmother Serena Susan, was the 10th child, born when Elmira was just 2 years old. In his diary, my great grandfather, Oliver Morton Wallen, always referred to his mother's sister as "Aunt Myra".

In May of 1854, when Elmira was about 5 years old, her mother died, and then two of her siblings died shortly after: Mary, 15, died in July and Joseph, 11, died in September. In January of 1858, when Elmira was 9, her oldest sister Sarah married David J. Tyree. The same year in July another older sister, Isabelle, married Logan Sowder. With his two oldest daughters married, Uriah was now in need of a wife and mother for his younger children and so a few months later, in November, he entered into matrimony once again to a young widowed woman named Telitha Clark.

When Elmira's younger sister Serena married my great, great grandfather William M. Wallen in August of 1869, the newly wed couple lived with his parents in Wabd, Kentucky. Elmira's youngest sister Euna, married George C. Lawrence in 1871 and Uriah's spinster sister Mary died in 1874 which left only three in the household so in 1875 William, Serena and their young family went to live with Uriah, Telitha and Elmira on the Sutton farm a short distance away near Maretsburg. 

Uriah died around the first half of 1881 and in the Fall of that year William and Serena moved their family back to Wabd to live with William's mother who had been widowed since 1877. It was about this time that all of William's siblings and their families left for northern Texas and Indian Territory and there was now room at the old home farm for William's growing family. Because Grandma Sutton and Aunt Myra were alone, my great grandfather Oliver (age 11) stayed with them. Aunt Myra never married and it is not yet known when her step-mother Telitha "Grandma Sutton" died. 

Excerpt from Oliver's diary
In 1886 Serena died of Tuberculosis leaving 8 children (5 of them under the age of 10 years) without a mother, so Aunt Myra went to live at Grandma Wallen's house to help take care of the children. Serena's widowed husband, William M. Wallen, remarried 6 years later in 1892 to Sofa Thacker and according to Oliver, Papa "never helped us any mor, so Jessee and I had to look after the children." Oliver was the oldest, about 22, when his father remarried and now he was the head of a fairly large household. Younger brother Jesse Uriah would take on that roll in 1900 after Oliver married.

When Oliver's sister Mary, 23, died of Tuberculosis in 1895 her husband, James Luther Hayes, remarried right away and so Mary's 3-year-old daughter Viola "Ola" went to join her mother's siblings in the household of Grandma Wallen and Aunt Myra. Tuberculosis also took Oliver's sister Louisa, 19, in 1896 and his sister Lucy, 17, in 1901 and it was becoming obvious that he and all his siblings were at some stage of the disease.

Residents of the old home farm in 1900
Oliver married Sarah F. Davis in 1900. In 1901 my grandfather was born and then a set of twins were born in 1903. Oliver's health was starting to deteriorate at a more rapid pace. Aunt Myra would come and stay when he was too sick to do chores. In 1904 it was decided, for health purposes, to remove the family to the drier climate of Texas. Aunt Myra, Jess, Willie and Ola left for Kempner, Lampasas Co., Texas in November of 1904 and the rest of the family were to follow in January. Sadly, before they could sell all their things and make good their plans, sister Sarah, 26, was called to her heavenly home.  After Sarah's burial Oliver's family and Grandma Wallen left to join the others in Kempner. The only remaining Wallen family in Kentucky were Oliver's father William and his new family, and Oliver's sister Ella who had married Johnnie Norton in 1901 and now had 2 small children.

After the family arrived and settled down with the others in Kempner they experienced more sorrow as it was there, in mid-February, just weeks after burying sister Sarah, that Oliver's youngest brother Willie, 20, died. Sadly, just about 6 months later, in the first days of September, Aunt Myra died too. It is not known for sure if Aunt Myra had Tuberculosis or not but I suspect she did. It was estimated that, at the turn of the century, 450 Americans died of TB every day. Aunt Myra's death was a severe blow to the family. Like a mother, she spent her whole life loving and caring for the entire family through childbirth, sickness, poverty, and death. 

These are the entries in Oliver's diary concerning Aunt Myra's death:

Sept. 1 - ...found Aunt Myra very sick and Sarah hardly able to go. Evry thing looks very gloomy.
Sept. 2 - Aunt Myra and Sarah are no better. I am not well and have been on the down grade for 6 wks.
Sept. 3 - Aunt Myra is very bad this morning. Sarah is no better. At home all day. Aunt Myra died at 6 PM. We have lost a good friend. Aunt has been a mother to us. At 10 o'clock PM Bro. Frank Seak handed me $34.60 that had been made up at church to bear Aunts burial expense.
Sept. 4 - I was given enough to make $42.35 on Aunts funeral expense. Beside people brought in flour, coffee, sugar, beef and other things we needed. The people are good and kind to us but I feel discouraged. We have all worked so hard and it seems like we can't enjoy the fruits of our labor. After a short service by Bro. Sparks, a holiness preacher, we laid Aunt to rest beside Bro. Willie at 3 PM. The casket and robe cost $37.00.

(Note: I do not know why Oliver's wife Sarah was sick at this time, but she never contracted Tuberculosis, and neither did his father, his niece Viola Hayes or his grandmother Louisa Tyree Wallen.)

I recently found a very sweet and detailed death announcement for Aunt Myra Sutton in the Mt. Vernon Signal Newspaper dated Friday, September 15, 1905:

We also learn by letter, from O. M. Wallen, that "Aunt" Mira Sutton, who accompanied the Wallen family to Texas last fall, and who had lived with them for nearly half a century, after five days of intense suffering, passed over the river and is now resting under the shade of the tree with Paul and Peter. Her life was certainly that of love, labor and good offices for others. She was never married, but was indeed a mother to the Wallen family. She was and had been, from early life a faithful member of the Baptist Church. Had been badly afflicted for many years which she patiently bore. We now deplore the lonesome condition of aunt Louise Wallen, with whom aunt Mira has lived for the last quarter of a century, but separations must come, and friends must part, but we know from the acquaintance we had with these two good women that their separation will be short and they will join company in that happy home forever. We deeply sympathize for the remaining members of the Wallen family in their sore affliction and deep bereavement, and pray God to give them faith to look beyond this vail of sorrow, to a time of happy reunion. Rev. O. M. doesn't write very encouragingly of his health at this time. He says that Jesse and Little Ola are enjoying better health than they had while in Kentucky. Aunt Louisie was deprived of ministering unto aunt Mira during her last hours of earth; she being in Indian Territory with some of her children.

Kempner Cemetery, Kempner, Lampasas Co., Texas
Aunt Myra and brother Willie are both buried in Kempner Cemetery. As far as I know, neither has a tombstone.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Women's History - MELVIN

Great grandmother Eddy and three of her daughters

Mike's maternal great grandmother, Edna (Metcalf) Melvin-Smith (seated)
 with daughters:
Left to Right: Myrtle, Ruth and Florence (grandmother)
Circa early 1940s


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Ed and Maude (Rhodes) Newby

Edward J. Newby b. 30 Nov 1881 - d. 10 Aug 1944
Son of John A. and Mary Louisa Grunden Newby
Maude L. Rhodes Griffney Newby b. 31 Jul 1884 - d. 13 Jan 1955
Daughter of John Peter and Martha E. Pendergrast Rhodes

Glen Cove Cemetery, Knightstown, Henry Co., Indiana

*Tombstone photo property of Find A Grave Volunteer Susan Clemons - Used with permission.