Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: Thomas J. Price 1869 - 1926

Thomas Jesse Price
15 Oct 1869 - 14 Jul 1926

Thomas Jesse Price was the the third husband of my husband's maternal great grandmother, Edna Metcalf. He and Edna were married in 1921. Their marriage ended in just 5 short years when Thomas died. Edna never remarried and for the next 31 years she was known by the family as "Granny Price" and "Mrs. Eddy Price" by most others. (Edna's children were all from her first marriage to Michael R. Melvin.)

Obituary of T. J. Price
T. J. Price, 57, Ex - Officer, Dies

Thomas Jesse Price, 56 years old, retired patrolman of the Louisville Police Department, died at 4:50 o'clock Monday afternoon at his home, 822 South Fifteenth Street, after an illness of four years. Mr. Price, a former railroad worker, was appointed on the police force in 1907 and was retired on a pension twelve years later, in 1917, as a result of injuries to his leg which he suffered after a battle with a negro.  Mr. Price was shot in his leg, leaving him slightly crippled.  Mr. Price is survived by his widow, Mrs. Edna Price, and two brothers, Benjamin F. Price and Harvey R. Price.  Funeral services will be held at 3 o'clock Wednesday afternoon at the resicence. Burial will be at Evergreen Cemetery.

This obituary was found in the photo album of Edna's daughter, Florence Polly (Melvin) Scott.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

"Southern Wildcats" 1930s Kentucky Bluegrass Band

"Southern Wildcats" Kentucky Bluegrass Band circa 1930
This 8 x 10 photo came to me from the collection of my husband's mother, Florence Shepherd. The young man on the bottom right, in the hat, is Roy Browne Shepherd, son of Arthur and Emma (McCreary) Shepherd. Roy became Florence's fourth husband in 1969.

At the bottom left is the handsome Henry W. Smith, son of Milton and Mary J. (Shepherd) Smith and husband of Myrtle Melvin. Henry's mother Mary, was Roy's paternal aunt; his wife Myrtle, was Florence's maternal aunt. While Myrtle is not in the above photo, I am told she often sang for the Southern Wildcats. Henry and Myrtle's relationship is how Florence came to know Roy, however they didn't marry until almost 40 years later. 

Myrtle and Henry married in 1930 and later divorced. A really neat old picture of Henry and Myrtle can be seen at this link:

I have never been able to find any information on the Southern Wildcats bluegrass band other than what I've learned through my husband's family. I am hoping that someone will land on this page and help me identify more of the band's members. This photo may have been taken as early as 1927. Henry and Roy were both born in Welchburg, Jackson Co., Kentucky, while Myrtle and Florence were from Louisville, so I'm not sure exactly where in Kentucky the Southern Wildcats performed or, for how long.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cloverdale Cousin of the Notorious Jimmy Hoffa

It's exactly this sort of thing that keeps family history research fun, fascinating, and quite the educational experience. 

I was reading over great grandmother Sarah's letters yesterday, trying to find the part about her uncle's death. I finally found the letter dated March 20, 1932 and on the second page was the part about Uncle Elsberry Poynter's passing. But there was another death, that happened just hours later, that got the best of my curiosity.....

Letter dated 20 Mar 1932
"There has been lots of sickness and deaths here, two or three funerals at Cloverdale a week. Last Wed. Week - Jimmy & Arch Poynter came over and said that Uncle Elsberry was awfully bad so after dinner we went over there and he died soon after we got there. So the next day in the afternoon I was getting ready to bake a cake to take over there that nite. We were going over there to sit up and let the family sleep, they were going to start to Ky with him Fri. morn. and Mr. Frazier, the father of the woman that lives in the next house towards Cloverdale, came running down here and said she was dying and wanted Lloyd to go after a Dr. & asked me if I would go up there so I put on my coat and ran up there. I had never met her. She was awful bad, her mother and sister was there. She had a little baby 3 days old and they had let her bowels leak. They had sent to school after the two little boys, it was so sad. I stayed till the Dr. and some more folks came and I came on back home and we went on over to Uncle Elsberry's but the undertaker had come and taken him to his place at Cotesville and we came on back so the folks could sleep. We stopped at the neighbors as we came home but she had died too."

Well, I thought if I could find out who the woman was that died, I might find a descendant researching the family that would be interested in this story told by my great grandmother. All I had to go on was the woman's father, a Mr. Frazier, and that she was Sarah's neighbor on the next farm. I checked the 1930 census but I wasn't sure which neighbor it might be or if it was certain that same neighbor was living there in 1930, so I did various searches to see if I could find a 1920s Frazier marriage in Putnam county and to see if I could find a woman who had died in Cloverdale, Indiana on March 3, 1932, the day after Elsberry died.

It didn't take me long to find her. She was Cordia Fern Frazier, wife of Virgil H. Hoffa and they did indeed live on the farm adjacent to my great grandmother's in 1930. Cordia and her infant daughter were buried in Cloverdale Cemetery. Oddly enough, the stone says the infant was born and died on March 1. Either the baby was already dead when Sarah went to help, or perhaps someone was trying to save space on the stone by not putting the second date. Now, armed with information on the Frazier/Hoffa woman, I could follow my quest to look for anyone who might be researching this family.

In the meantime, I found myself thinking about that surname "Hoffa". Silly thought really but, what if Virgil was related to the notorious James Riddle Hoffa? Out of curiosity, I Googled Jimmy Hoffa and the first thing that stood out in the Wikipedia article was the fact that Jimmy was born in Brazil, Indiana, not far from Cloverdale. Maybe it wasn't such a silly thought at all! I quickly found out that Hoffa was not a particularly common name back then and after only an hour's worth of digging I was able to confirm that Jimmy and Virgil were 2nd cousins. Their grandfathers were brothers, Jacob and Isaac Hoffa, and the family members were long time residents of Indiana, going back to the early 1840s. There are countless census, birth, marriage, and death records for Hoffa in Indiana.

Of course, Jimmy wasn't "notorious" yet in 1932, he was still a teenager. All the same, it was a fun bit of trivia discovery. My great grandmother lived next door to Jimmy Hoffa's cousin!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Quincy and Susan Darling

J. Quincy and Susan (Wilson) Darling
Glen Cove Cemetry, Knightstown, Indiana
John Quincy Darling was the son of Samuel and Beulah (Smith) Darling, my maternal great, great grandparents. Quincy married Susan A. Wilson on April 1, 1896 in Rush Co., Indiana. Susan was the daughter of John J. and Margaret (Sloan) Wilson. 

While their marriage was the first for Quincy, it was Susan's third marriage and the only one that did not end in divorce. She was first married to Jasper N. Kirkpatrick in 1877 with whom she had a daughter, Leila N. Kirkpatrick. Susan's second marriage was to Henry Theodore Schobert in 1885 with whom she had two sons, John William Schobert and Charles Oscar Schobert (Mayor of Hammond, Indiana 1930-1935).

Quincy and Susan were married 45 years before Susan died. They had no children together. Both are buried in Glen Cove Cemetery in Knightstown, Henry Co., Indiana.


Sunday, May 6, 2012

TODAY in 1900: From Oliver's Diary - A Lover's Spat?

Excerpt from the diary of Oliver Morton Wallen,
dated Sunday, May 6, 1900:

May 6A damp, rainy morning. At home until noon. Went to Friendship* to S.S.* at two P.M. Called on Miss Sarah Davis to get some books. Talked over old times, made up, and agreed to soon get married. Came home through the rain.

LOVERS - Béla Iványi-Grünwald [Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons
On this day, 112 years ago, my paternal great grandparents, who were not yet married, "made up". What did that phrase mean in 1900; the same as today? Did they have a lover's spat? They had become engaged to each other two years earlier on Easter Sunday, April 10, 1898. Now, Oliver says, they "talked over old times", indicating there was a time between the engagement and this day that they were, perhaps, not engaged.

Intrigued, I searched back through the diary for the cause of this lapse in their romance.

And then, I found this reference:

Jan. 16Tore down the old meat house and made a hen house out of it. Got a letter from my old sweethart, Sarah Davis, dated Jan. 15, 1900.  

How long was the separation? Six months? A year, or more? What caused it? There is nothing in the diary that gives me any more clues. Darn. I can only imagine.....

*Note: "Friendship" = Friendship Church. "S.S." = Sunday School.


Friday, May 4, 2012

The Friday Funnies: Adrift in the Bay

Below is a letter my grandmother, Mary Fern (Newby) Runyan, wrote and stuck in a birthday card to her sister-in-law, Grace Anna (Runyan) Crim on her birthday. At first I didn't know who the letter was to, and I wouldn't have known if my grandmother hadn't put the year at the top and mentioned that the person's birthday coincided with Election Day of that year. All I had to do was Google "Election Day 1964" and up came the date "November 3", Grace's birthday! I suppose Grace's daughter Vera found this among her mother's things and gave it to my mother after Grace died. I am tickled pink that my mother kept it!                                                                  

As I have mentioned before, my grandfather, Lawrence E. Runyan, was an avid fisherman. It was his favorite thing to do as long as I can remember. 

Lawrence E. Runyan and his catch of the day - circa 1954
Trout was 31 & 1/2" long,  and weighed 16 lbs.  
Hi: -
     Hope you have a nice Birthday! Every-body's celebrating it - Election Day, ha.
     How have you been? Just today Laurence is acting almost normal. He has done nothing but sleep since he got home - except one day!
     Mr. MacElhaney (our neighbor across the street) bought a new boat while Laurence was gone. a couple of weeks ago they took the boat out on to the Bay.
     The wind was blowing - and the motor conked out! Not another boat in the bay. they tied a white rag to a fishing pole and stuck it up in the boat - no-body paid any attention. they drifted about six hours clear across the bay about ten or twelve miles. They found an old house away off from no-where with two old drunk men in it, one of them drove L. & M. across the bay to the Marina to their car - it was about seven o'clock - (dark) when they got home. The next day they had to go back and get the boat, ha, and since then until today Laurence has been sleeping again, ha. He can get himself into more messes than any-body I ever saw, ha.
     Think he will be O.K. now if he don't go off on another tangent.
                                                           Happy Birthday.
                                                            Fern & Laurence

Lawrence Everett and Mary Fern (Newby) Runyan - circa 1965


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Jacob Grabeel 1784 - 1861

Tombstone of Jacob Grabeel, Milam-Hobbs Cemetery
Hagan, Lee Co., Virginia


In memory of
Jacob Grabeel
July 23, 1861
in the 77th Yr.
of his age.

Milam-Hobbs Cemetery on State Route 621, Hagan, Virginia
via Google Earth

Jacob Grabeel was my paternal fourth great grandfather. He was born in Pennsylvania to German parents, John and Catherine Grabeel. He and his first wife Mary were the parents of my third great grandmother, Susannah, wife of James Monroe Martin. Jacob died in Lee Co., Virginia and is buried in the Milan-Hobbs Cemetery in Hagan.

Tombstone photos used with permission from volunteer, Phil Cheek.