Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Cook Siblings With Spouses

L to R Top Row:  John B. Cook, Eliza Jane (Cheek) Cook, George Mason Parkhurst, Eliza Jane  (Cook) Parkhurst  L to R Bottom Row: Phoebe (Cook) Trowbridge, John Calvin Trowbridge, Nancy Jane (Kirkpatrick) Cook, Allison Cook - Circa: mid to late 1880s.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Sarah Elizabeth Melvin

Daughter of Nathan L. R. and Elizabeth (Gollaher) Melvin
15 year old sister of my husband's maternal great grandfather, Michael R. Melvin
b. Dec. 20, 1867 - d. July 27, 1883 
Pleasant Grove Cemetery, White City, Larue Co., Kentucky

Kind angels watch her
sleeping dust,Till Jesus
comes to raise the just;
Then may she wake with
sweet surprise, And in
her Saviour's image rise.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Amanuensis Monday: The Will of Jesse B. Wallen

Jesse B. "J.B." Wallen was my paternal 3rd great grandfather, son of William and Elizabeth (Bloomer) Wallen and husband of Louisa Tyree. He had barely reached the age of 50 when he died of a "liver complaint". Until this past week I had no idea J.B. had ever left a will and while I've learned nothing new from it's contents, it is certainly an exciting discovery and I find myself once again wishing cousin Charlie Wallen was here to share in my excitement.

Jesse B. Wallen 
 26 Sep 1827 Hawkins Co., TN -  30 Sep 1877 Rockcastle Co., KY

June the 15th day 1877:
Knowing all men by these lives, that I Jessee B. Wallen, am in my right mind and without any persuading wishes to make a Will. I Will everything that belongs to me in the House & out a doors, with the proceeds of the farm, to my wife Lueasy Wallen, with the Exception of a Bay colt & cow & saddle these things I Will to my Son, that is under age, Daniel Thomas Wallen, also, I want my wife to sell off enough of the property to pay my Debts the balance for her to do as she pleases with as long as she remains my Widow, then everything to be divided between her & all the children Equal, Lueasy Wallen, O. P. Wallen, Wm. Wallen, J. N. Wallen, Lucy Sutton, D. T. Wallen. Whereunto I assign my name, 
                                                                                                    Jessee B. Wallen.
Micajah (his + mark) Brewer
Jasper Francisco
John (his+mark) W. Grider                                                                              
                                                               State of Kentucky
                                                                                                      Rockcastle County
I, David N. Williams, clerk of the Rockcastle County Court, do certify that the foregoing instrument of writing purporting to be the Last Will & Testament of Jessee B. Wallen, Deceased, was at the October Term of said Court 1877, produced in open court by Jasper Francisco one of the Subscribing witnesses thereto and was proven in open Court by the oaths of Jasper Francisco and John W. Grider two of the Subscribing Witnesses thereto who stated that they were present when said Wallen signed & acknowledged said instrument of writing to be his Last Will & Testament and who witnessed said Will & Testament in the presence of the Testator and that Micajah Brewer witnessed the same in their presence & in the presence of the Testator whereupon the Court confirmed the same and ordered the same to Record which is together with this my certificate duly Recorded in my office in Will Book No. 1, Page 199.
Witness my hand this November 20th 1877.
                                                                 David N. Williams C.R.C.C.

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


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: The Boyer Boys

John Neil 1923-1968 and Jack Newby 1932-2001
Sons of Joseph and Margaret (Newby) Boyer ca. 1933
Maternal first cousins of my mother


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: James and Ann Owen

James and Nancy Ann (Brashears) Owen
my paternal 3rd great grandparents

James, son of Nathan and Leah Margaret (Hartzell) Owen
War of 1812 veteran - Capt. Samuel Spangler's company - Ohio
b. November 18, 1796 d. October 14, 1875
Yolton Cemetery, Sefton, Fayette Co., Illinois
photo taken by me on May 31, 2011

Nancy Ann, dau of Nathan and Elizabeth (Scheidenhelm) Brashears
b. September 19, 1802 d. October 20, 1847
Yolton Cemetery, Sefton, Fayette Co., Illinois
Photo taken about 1998 and e-mailed to me by a local.
I was unable to locate this tombstone during my visit on May 31, 2011.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Memories of the House on Route 40

Of Blood Transfusions, Funerals Forgotten and Blind Preachers

Below is a transcription of a letter my mother wrote to me in 2003. Within it, there is a very short story that will be lost if I don't repeat it here because I am probably the only family member, still living, that she ever told it to. She told it to me verbally once but I would never have remembered it so I'm glad she told it to me in writing. It tells about my grandmother's near death from some sort of tumor that caused her to lose a lot of blood, and the blood transfusion from my then 15-year-old mother that saved her life. More details would have been good...

November 13, 2003
Ida and Charles Newby  1936
at the house on Rt. 40
"Do you remember me telling you of the funeral I went to where I went to the casket and stood on tiptoe to see in and the man had a long beard?  Well, for some reason today when I was working in the yard I could not recall going to the funeral of my grandmother or my grandfather, I don't recall ever thinking of it before, just how they were when they were alive. I remember when they died, both in a hospital, I think. They were living with us on RT. 40 when he died and after that grandmother wanted to go to K-town, as we called it, and with the money she got from the estate, Bud bought her a house there, we saw it we think, when we were in K-town.  Anyway I am really not sure if she was taken to the hospital or if she died there at the duplex, she had a friend of hers living in the other half of the duplex.  I hadn't given it much thought, but I was around 12 when they moved in with us.  Seems he died a year or so later.  Then Aunt Margaret died too, I think they were living with us, at least grandmother, when they both died.  I could probably figure it out if I looked at the Tree.  

So much went on when we were in that house, Mom was sick for weeks with ---?---, and a while later she nearly died of the tumor because she had lost so much blood and I was the only one that had her type of blood and they had some conferences about my age, I think I wasn't quite 16 and they didn't usually take anyone until after 16. Anyway I was on a gurney next to her when they did the person to person transfusion.  

But that really baffles me about not remembering my grandparent's funerals.  I remember being in that church many times for one death or another and I couldn't stand the preacher's voice, he was the one who was blind and his wife always stood in the pulpit and helped him, it was a sad situation, but his voice was so raspy, and loud, and that was before microphones, at least there. Too many other weird things to mention, but mostly what stands out most while we lived there are the fun things, the good things."

Kiplinger House
The Runyan house on Rt. 40 (the historic Old National Road) was near the small town of Lewisville in Henry county, Indiana. Lewisville probably hasn't changed much since Mom lived there. It's still a very small town with old buildings and old homes. Their neighbor across Rt. 40 was Argolda "Goldie" (Adams) Kiplinger. She was a woman beloved by both my mother and my grandmother. From my grandmother's collection I have two photos of Goldie Kiplinger and one of her house (click on photo to enlarge). --->

Sadly, this house was struck by lightening in 1964 and burned down. Look closely, do you see the old car in the photo? There is another wonderful old photo of this house <at this link>.

The Interurban ran directly in front of the Kiplinger house. Mom told me stories of a couple of her dogs getting killed by it and I could never figure out exactly what the Interurban must have looked like until I saw the photo of it <at this link> where you see not only the Interurban but Goldie's father standing in front of her house, circa 1920.

I have since figured out that the man in the casket with the long beard was Mom's uncle, Frank Newby. He was the only relative that died when my mother would have had to stand on tip toe to see in a casket. It was 1929 and she was not yet 5 years old when Frank died.

K-town was Knightstown in Henry Co., Indiana. When Mom says "we saw it we think", she was referring to the trip she and I took in 1999. We drove all around Knightstown looking for memories and Mom wanted to find the old home that was converted to a duplex, where her grandmother lived for a very short time.

The blind pastor with the raspy voice must have been Rev. Ernest A. Addison, pastor of the Christian Church in Knightstown for it is he that is listed on the obituary of Mom's grandmother, Ida May Newby and on the earlier obituary of her uncle Frank.

I only wish I knew what illness my Grandmother Fern had that caused such a large tumor and so much blood loss that she was near death. Whatever it was, she must have recovered completely because she always seemed quite healthy when I was young!


Friday, August 19, 2011

Evalyn M. DeGolyer 1894 - 1982: Friend of Grandmother Fern

If my maternal grandmother were alive today I would certainly want to know more about her friendship with Evalyn DeGolyer.

Evalyn M. DeGolyer
Evalyn was born in Rush Co., Indiana in 1894 to James and Mary (Neal) DeGolyer and appears to have been their only child. Evalyn lived in Rush county at least until 1930. My grandmother, Mary Fern (Newby) Runyan was born a year earlier in Knightstown in Henry Co., Indiana just a short distance away. I don't know if my grandmother knew Evalyn when they were young girls or if they knew each other after they were older. When my grandparents married in 1917 they moved around quite a bit so I imagine my grandmother knew Evalyn long before 1917. Later, Evalyn lived in Henry county and her obituary said she was a telephone switchboard operator in Knightstown for many years and was a member of Rebekah Lodge.

Evalyn M. DeGolyer
Evalyn never married. She outlived my grandmother by 10 years, passing away in Knightstown in 1982 at the age of 87. Evalyn is buried in the Glen Cove cemetery in Henry county. These two photographs were found in my grandmother's collection. The photos are not dated and my grandmother simply wrote on the back "Evelyn Degolyer, My Friend".

She was certainly a lovely young woman and both of these 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" postcard photos are in excellent condition. Click on each one for a closer view.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Grandmother Fern 1913

My maternal Grandmother, Mary Fern Newby (later: Runyan) 1913 - age 20


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Robert J. Townsend

b. November 26, 1864, d. December 9, 1871

Old Liberty Cemetery, Sefton Twp., Fayette Co., Illinois
Robert was the 7 year old son of my paternal great, great grandparents, Lewis and Mary Ann (Patterson) Townsend. Photo was taken by me on Tuesday, May 31, 2011. Stone was laying on the ground, worn and hard to read.


Robert J.
Son of
Lewis & M. A.
Dec. 9, 1871
7 y's. & 13 d's.

Take this little lamb said he
And lay him on my breast 
Protection it shall find in me
In me be ever blessed


Monday, August 15, 2011

Henry and Milla Jane (Trowbridge) McMullen

Henry and Millie (Trowbridge) Newby - 1890 ca.

Milla Jane, "Millie", was the sister of my maternal great grandmother, Ida May Newby. She was born to John Calvin and Phoebe (Cook) Trowbridge on October 26, 1869. Millie married Henry McMullen on June 3, 1890, probably in Rush Co., Indiana. Their marriage is recorded in Ida May's bible

Henry McMullen
Henry was born exactly 2 years ahead of Millie on October 26, 1867. In 1900 Millie and Henry lived with her sister Ida May and brother-in-law Charles Newby on Carey St. in Knightstown, Indiana. Henry was an Engineer in a saw mill. Henry and Millie were married 12 years and Henry died September 25, 1902, just before he turned 35. Millie died three years later on March 26, 1905 at the age of 35. No children from this union.

I have not found a death certificate for Millie but she must have been ill and apparently knew she was dying because she left a will which was dated just a few days before her death. I have my great grandmother's copy of her will. In the will Millie leaves a 33 1/2 acre farm to my great grandmother. This farm was right on the western border of Henry Co., Indiana and, I assume, was purchased after 1900 but before the death of Henry in 1902. The farm was owned by F. M. Kirkpatrick in 1893. In 1900 there is a Fanny Kirkpatrick, age 48 and widowed, boarding with a neighbor of the McMullen's on Carey St. and it is possible the farm belonged to her.

I have been unsuccessful so far in positively identifying the parents of Henry McMullen. Henry and Millie are buried in Glen Cove Cemetery, Knightstown, Henry Co., Indiana, Lot 65.

A transcription of Milla Jane McMullen's will can be seen at this link: Amanuensis Monday: The Will of Millie McMullen.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Newby Siblings 1905

 Mary Fern, Morris Henry, Phoebe Gertrude
Knightstown, Henry Co., Indiana 1905


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Sgt. Nathan L. R. Melvin

CO. E.
37 KY. MTD. INF.
1835 - 1908
Son of Lucius and Catherine (Rentch) Melvin
Husband of Elizabeth Gollaher
 Maternal great, great grandfather of my husband, Mike. 
Buried Pleasant Grove Cemetery, White City, Larue Co., Kentucky


Monday, August 8, 2011

Military Monday: Nathan L. R. Melvin

37th Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry

Nathan Melvin mustered into the Union Army on August 10, 1863 in Lebanon, Kentucky as a Private in Company E, 37th Regiment, Kentucky Vol. Mounted Infantry. He was made Corporal by October 31, 1863. On April 4th 1864 he was promoted from Corporal to Sergeant "in place of Ephraim Martin". He mustered out on December 29, 1864.

An excerpt from the website "REGIMENTAL HISTORIES for some selected Units" by Walt Cross about the 37th Kentucky Volunteer Mounted Infantry:

"Right in the middle of the regiment's initial organization, Col. Hughes led a Confederate force against the undermanned regiment on the night of the 6th of October. One hundred and forty-two men of the regiment were captured. Major Martin, the ranking officer on station, fought his way free of the encircling rebels and rallied the remaining companies. They pursued Col. Hughes and his precious cargo of Union soldiers and caught up to him just south of the town of Tompkinsville, retaking most of his men, horses, and weapons. The regiment largely back to strength, they marched to Columbia, Kentucky and joined the 13th Kentucky Cavalry for a movement to East Tennessee. Col. John Hunt Morgan, that famous Confederate raider, led his fast moving cavalry on a thrust into Kentucky in June of 1864. The 37th, along with other units, moved to stop his advance, and at the small town of Cynthiana broke Morgan's command and released the prisoners he had taken. They then drove him from the state. Early in September of 1864 the 37th moved East to Saltville, Virginia and participated in the battle there in which their brigade commander, Col. Hanson, was wounded and captured. The 37th returned to Kentucky after the battles at Saltville and after safeguarding the state from partisans, its soldiers were discharged in December of 1864."

From the pension record of Nathan L. R. Melvin:

From Civil War Pension record: Occupation: Laborer in 1904. Description: Height: 5'7", florid complexion, dark hair, hazel eyes. Enlisted at Hodgenville 10 Aug 1863, in the Union Army, at Lebanon. He was a Corporal in Co. E, 37th Ky. Infantry and was promoted to Sergeant. Nathan contracted cold from exposure while in the service, which was followed by fever and then chronic diarrhea. He was honorably discharged on December 29, 1864. He returned home to farm near White City. He was treated for his physical problems by Dr. Jesse Rodman until the doctor died in 1875. He was then treated by Dr. M. Wilkinson of New Haven, Dr. Hugh Rodman of New Haven, and Dr. J. M. Young of Hodgenville. He filed for pension, and obtained his pension in the early 1880's. He signed his name to his pension papers. Prior to service: resided on head waters of Knob Creek in Larue Co near N. A. Rapier's, four miles from New Haven for 22 years. Nathan L. R. Melvin drew a pension of $6 and $12 a month for military service.

Nathan L. R. Melvin was the son of Lucius and Catherine (Rentch) Melvin. He was the husband of Elizabeth Gollaher, daughter of Benjamin Austin and Mary (Price) Gollaher. Elizabeth's father is credited for having saved the life of Abraham Lincoln when they were boys. Nathan was the maternal great, great grandfather of my husband Mike. He was born September 18, 1835 and died in November of 1908. Nathan and Elizabeth had five children: Austin Lucius, Mary Catherine, Susan Florida, Sarah Elizabeth, and Michael R. Mike's lineage is through Michael R. Melvin.

Some say the initial L. in Nathan's name stands for "Lucius" after his father. (He also had a son named Austin Lucius.) Others have speculated that the initial R. stands for "Rentch" or "Rench" after his mother. Both initials were used in all his service records.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Dough Ball Fishing

L. E. & Fern Runyan
Lisa Wallen 1956

As a kid I got to spend a lot of good quality time with my maternal grandparents and a good portion of that time was spent outside with Granddad, no matter what he was doing. He might be painting an old metal chair, fixing the lawn mower, cleaning a fresh catch of fish, or even when he was just reading the newspaper in his rocker on the porch, I'd be playing nearby.

We went to the river nearly every day. Granddad loved to fish and when he ran out of worms he made dough balls to fish with and naturally, he taught me how to make them too. I got pretty good at making dough balls and I'd make them for Granddad so he wouldn't run out. I never once caught a fish with a dough ball but I caught plenty of minnows and tadpoles along the riverbank by scooping them up with my coffee can!

To make dough balls you just take a piece of soft white bread and tear off a piece of whatever size you might need depending on what you were fishing for. You can chum the water with the crust because the crust is pretty useless. Then you squeeze your bread and roll it in a ball and squeeze some more and after a while it would turn in to a little ball of dough. You could form the ball around the hook and completely hide the hook inside or you could thread the hook right through the dough ball for the dumber fish.


And when you are done for the day and heading for home, it's always kind to throw all your left over dough balls into the river for a treat for those fish that got away!
Lawrence E. Runyan - A typical day's catch - 1962


Friday, August 5, 2011

35 Years - The OFFICIAL Story, Just So You Know

August 5, 1976

I don't think I ever thought I would tell this story here, but I guess I will or somebody will remember it all wrong someday. Pastor told the story for years afterwards, over and over again to my chagrin, to his captive audience, the Church! He loved to tell them how he married Mike and I at 3:30 in the morning, without a license and only a borrowed ring. That wasn't completely true. Pastor loved to embellish stories. It was only 3:00 a.m. when he married us.

Lisa Wallen, Mike Logsdon mid 1970s
Mike and I had been dating long enough to know that we were in love I suppose. We talked about marriage for a while but then, over the summer, something happened and we broke up. (That part is just too long and dramatic to tell here!) Now, I'd been going to Mike's church for almost a year when we broke up so I figured I'd best tell Pastor I was going to find another church to go to. During a mid-week evening service I penned Pastor a note to be delivered by a trusted friend and I exited the church before the service was over. To this day, I don't know if Pastor ever saw that note, he never mentioned it.

It was just before 9 p.m. when I got home that night. "Home" was a little rented 1940s frame house on five beautiful acres in a rural neighborhood. My horses were fenced in on the back part of the property and the landlady also lived behind me in a trailer. I poured myself a glass of wine and sat down at the kitchen table. About 11 p.m. I heard a knock at my door and there stood Mike, grinning from ear to ear. He came in and sat down at the kitchen table wearing that silly smile and says "Will you marry me?". I just stared. I poured myself another glass of wine. I stared some more. Suspicion set in. "Now?", I asked. "Yes, now.", he said. My suspicion now took on sarcasm. "Sure, call Pastor.", I quipped. And he did. Except, he got Mrs. Pastor. She said "Pastor is out gigging frogs with his brother, they'll be out late." and Mike said, "Please tell him to call me no matter how late he gets in, it's important." Pastor and his brother were youngish men and I guess gigging frogs was a typical night sport up where they grew up in Washington State. I think they ate a lot of frog's legs in those parts.

At 1 a.m. Mike says, "If we don't hear from Pastor, can I stay over?". I hadn't cracked a smile or even been very nice since he'd gotten there and I wasn't about to start now. I was still leery of it all. "We'll just see what Pastor says.", I said in a very level tone. Mike is still grinning and looking sillier than ever.

At 2 a.m. Pastor calls. Mike asks, "Can you marry Lisa and I?". "Now?", says Pastor. "Now.", says Mike. Pastor says "Meet me at the church in half an hour!", and he hung up. He quickly called back..."Go wake up Susie and tell her I need her at the church!". Susie was his secretary and our friend. I'm still not cracking any smiles.

A few minutes later we arrived at Susie's apartment. Mike indicates I should go up since she'd be in bed. I pound on the door. Susie appears in her pajamas and robe, still three quarters asleep. "Susie, Mike and I are getting married and Pastor wants you at the church with us pronto." Susie didn't get it, because she's still asleep. She pats me on the back and leads me to a chair and asks me to tell her all about it. I repeated myself in a louder tone. Suddenly Susie snaps to and starts tripping all over her apartment blabbering "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue!". She was quickly gathering stuff up and then she disappeared into her bedroom and less than 2 minutes later she came out fully clothed and ready to go. I don't remember what the old and the new items were but the borrowed item was a ring, a plain band that belonged to her. The blue item was a sterling silver cross necklace with blue turquoise stones.

When we got to the church Pastor was waiting in his khaki shorts, Hawaiian print shirt, and tousled hair. Mike and I were both in cut-off shorts and I remember I had on a tank top and flip-flops on my feet. Pastor looked sternly at Mike and said "It is legal in Florida for me to marry you without a license so long as you have that license back to me in three days...and Son, you WILL have that license back here in that time." Mike nodded in agreement. I'm still not smiling...well, maybe just a little twitch in one side of my mouth. Susie is crying. And Mike is still grinning from ear to ear as Pastor performs the short ceremony.

I was still suspicious next day until Mike called his mother and told her the news. I think I actually believed it then...mostly. But it wasn't really REAL until we got that license and took it back for Pastor to sign. 

Since that time Pastor has married my son and daughter-in-law and my daughter and son-in-law, and he said if he's still around, he'll marry their children off too someday. And I do believe he will.

Of course, there's a lot more to this story that I couldn't tell. Violent x-girlfriends, angry mother-in-law, and the "honeymoon" that took us from central Florida to Kentucky to pick up the guy who jumped bail that Mike had signed for and who threatened to kill us for trapping him in that mall parking lot surrounded by police....

And that was our first week of marriage. 35 years today and still having fun!

And now I must hurry and get ready, or I'll be late for our date!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Grandmother's Dishes

My maternal grandmother, Mary Fern (Newby) Runyan, died in 1972. I had been close to both my maternal grandparents all my life. They moved to Florida from Indianapolis to be with their daughter and her family, so I got to spend lots of time with them growing up. 

Years later, after my grandfather also passed away, my mother asked me if I wanted the box of Grandmother's dishes, if not, she was going to donate them. Of course I wanted them! Mom told me she was pretty sure my grandmother had collected the dishes, one piece at a time, from boxes of laundry soap back in the 1950s or earlier. I remembered those days! Glassware, dishes, and towels often came hidden inside each big box of powdered detergent. 

Later, I carefully unpacked and washed the dishes and placed them in my china cabinet. There were many pieces missing and no serving pieces at all, just plates, cups, and saucers. I had my husband paint our dining room an earthy, dusky pink to complement the large roses on each piece. 

A few years later I discovered and I found I could pick up other pieces of this set. Before I knew it I had nearly every serving piece, including the musical teapot! But I still didn't have a full set of the dishes so I continued to wait and watch eBay auctions. 

One day, a friend that I often went antiquing with called to tell me that she was at a yard sale and a lady had a very large box of those very same dishes for $35! "You don't really need this many", she said excitedly, "but it's a great price and none of them are cracked or chipped!", to which I replied just as excitedly, "buy them!". 

Oh my! It was a huge box, just like she said. What a deal. Now I have nearly two full sets of these dishes and probably no one to hand them down to. So what? I'll love them for the rest of my years and enjoy fond memories of my grandmother with every glance at my china cabinet!

China cabinet full of my maternal grandmother's dishes
"Green Arbor" by Continental Kilns
...and other favorite things.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Elizabeth (Gollaher) Melvin

Maternal great, great grandmother of my husband Mike
Daughter of Benjamin Austin and Mary (Price) Gollaher
Wife of Nathan L. R. Melvin
Pleasant Grove Cemetery, White City, Larue Co., Kentucky