Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: 1970 HS Graduation Portrait

Lisa J. Wallen - Spring 1970
King Sr. High School (Tampa, Florida) Graduation photo


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Samuel and Louisa Darling

McCray Cemetery
Wilkinson, Hancock Co., Indiana
Samuel Claude Darling was the son of Samuel S. and Mariah (Luthultz) Darling and the nephew of my great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth (Darling) Runyan. He married Louisa May Sullivan on January 23, 1909 in Henry Co., Indiana. They had two children: Wilbur Harold and Isabella Jane. Louisa was the daughter of Andrew and Isabelle (Johnson) Sullivan and was responsible for writing the lengthy obituary of my great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Military Monday: Charles Wallen-U. S. Navy WWII

My dad's first cousin, Charles Homer Wallen, Jr., enlisted in the U. S. Navy on March 4, 1943 at the age of 16. He spent from August 1943 until September 1946 in the Pacific theater of war and retired from the U. S. Navy on July 1, 1966.

Charlie aboard the U.S.S. New Jersey anchored at Oslo, Norway July 1947.
U.S.S. Wisconsin in the background.

Charlie and "Tojo" the monkey mascot
Leyte Gulf, Philippine, Is. 1945
Charlie was our second generation family historian, following in the footsteps of his aunt Sula (Wallen) Splitek. He and I worked daily on our family history from January 1, 1998 until shortly before his death on October 4, 2009, almost a dozen years together. We shared some great times.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

In The Beginning...... Year 3: Cousins and More

Today begins my third year in documenting our family history through blogging. The year of 2012 has started out with a bang and there are days I have to struggle to keep up with the momentum. I find myself behind on projects, both genealogy and non-genealogy, and I have yet to fulfill my goals of 2011. But that's OK, most of them can wait.

Blogging, social networks, and volunteerism on have certainly been a plus for running into cousins lately; cousins from both sides of my family who are thrilled to swap information and photos back and forth. 

One new paternal cousin, *Ginny, upon finding my blog, immediately sent me an e-mail with a photo attached. The second I saw it, I knew I already had a photo with some of the same people in it. I dug mine out. It was a photo from my paternal grandmother's collection that was unidentified. We knew it was of family but...who? 

My photo, previously unidentified. 
Well, Ginny's photo was completely identified on the back. Her's was a photo of my paternal great grandfather, Andrew Melvin Townsend, son of Lewis and Mary Ann (Patterson) Townsend, and all his living siblings. You can tell by the clothing and background that it was taken on the same day as mine, and you can tell from a camera glitch near the bottom center, that it was taken from the same camera.

Back row L to R: Emma Jane, Lewis Oscar, Olive M., Andrew Melvin, Margaret Ellen; Front row L to R:  Mary C., Theodore E., Sarah Elizabeth "Sadie"

My photo at the top has the three brothers and sister Sadie with unidentified women in the background. Those women are likely daughters or wives. Since I had no other photos of Andrew, I had no idea that the photo I already had was of Andrew and his brothers and one of his sisters. Now, I know! God bless cousin Ginny and God bless me!

Yes, my third year of blogging is starting out with lots of that mysterious stuff they call "serendipity". It could just be the power of the Internet. Or it could be something more....

*Ginny is the granddaughter of Lewis Oscar Townsend.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Wallen Siblings - Early 1940s

Four of My Paternal Grand Aunts and Uncles

L to R: Homer, Myrtle, Sula, Hobert
Homer and Hobart are twins; Myrtle is actually a Livesay and half sibling, the youngest and the only one still living of my great grandmother's children. Myrtle will be 92 in October of this year. Sula was the first genealogist in our family. My grandfather Bill, and Sula's twin Tom, and their half brother Ross Livesay are missing from this group.

*Original photo comes from the collection of my paternal grandmother, Illinois Townsend Wallen, now owned and shared by my cousin Sharon Gerth.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oliver's Diary: The Schools 1870 - 1905

This week I received an e-mail from a fellow Rockcastle Co., Kentucky researcher who had started corresponding with me last year when he found this blog. His ancestors were from the same area of the county as mine and he still lives in the area today. He and I are familiar with many of the same family groups that lived in the same community. We have exchanged information, documents and photos.

(photo just for illustration)
In this latest e-mail he said he knew my paternal great grandfather, Oliver M. Wallen, was a teacher and he wanted to know if Oliver had ever taught at the "Rocksprings" school, which is still standing today. I was pretty sure the answer was "no" and, since I was busy, it would have been easy just to tell him so and be done with it. I knew that many of the names Oliver used for these schools were probably names of the current teacher at the time, or the name of the teacher that first taught there. However, it was an honest question and deserved a little more than a quick dismissal, so I decided to run a search for the term "school" in the transcription of the diary on my computer. I was surprised with what I found. Again I learn to "never say never".

(photo just for illustration)
First of all "school" is probably one of the most common words throughout Oliver's diary. There were "Select" schools, "Common" schools, "Subscription" schools, and of course "Public" schools. I finally had a list of 17 to 19 different schools to send off to this researcher, not that it was any help to him, but it was certainly worth it to me to save the list in case I ever needed to refer to it. Some of these were schools that Oliver attended as a boy, others are where he taught. I have included the teachers where named, and some of the general locations.

These are the schools mentioned, from the years 1870 through 1905, in Oliver's diary:

1) The Public school at Maretsburg (teachers Harvy Vanhook, M. B. Debord, Miss Ada Hunt)
2) Silas Martin's Select school (Maretsburg)
3) Miss Lucy Martin's Select school
4) The Old Tyree school (teachers William Bloomer, Jo Vanhook, T. J. Cress, W. A .B. Davis)
5) Unnamed Public school (teachers Mr. J C. Watson, Mr. S. D. Lewis, Miss Lucile Joplin, Miss Alice Lewis) (May be the same as #1)
6) The Mount Vernon (Public) school (teachers: Mrs. Rosalind Nesbitt, Miss Ella Joplin)
7) The Kirby school, "near Blue Springs on the Dry Fork of Skaggs Creek".
8) J. N. Brown's Normal school at Level Green (Jasper Newton Brown)
9) The school at Sand Hill
10) Sayer's school house
11) The Copper Creek school
12) The Caloway school (Caloway District)
13) The Estes school house (Pulaski Co.)
14) The Thompson school house
15) Mat Colson's school
16) Miss Ida May Adam's school
17) The Brown school house (may be the same as #8)
18) Milton Wheeldon's school
19) The Norton school house

After I made this list, I went back to recheck words in and around the word "school", and that's when I found it, just what my researcher friend was looking for: "the trustees in Rock Spring Dist (No. 71) gave me their school." This was the school year starting in the fall of 1894. I had missed it during the first search.

So, we have another school, making it 18 to 20 schools mentioned in Oliver's diary. 

20) Rock Springs school

And no, the photos are not of Rockcastle county schools. They are photos from the time period that are no longer under copyright and are just for illustration....because I like illustrations!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: Viola (Hayes) Parsons

Mrs. L. D. Parsons, 50, Former Women's Dean At ETSTC, Succumbs

     COMMERCE, Texas, Sept. 22---Mrs. L. D. Parsons, 50, of this city died in a Dallas hospital Monday. Funeral services will be held on Wednesday at the First Methodist Church here with the Rev. T. L. Huffstutler, Electra, and the Rev. Joseph M. Connally, Commerce, officiating.
     Mrs. Parsons was the wife of L. D. Parsons, who last week became head of the chemistry department of East Texas Teachers College, where he has taught since 1929.
     Mrs. Parsons at one time taught at ETSTC and was dean of women for several years. She was a charter member of the Woman's Missionary Society of the Methodist Church here and has served as president of the society several terms. She also was a member of the Psychology Club.
     Besides her husband, survivors are two daughters, Mrs. T. L. Huffstutler Jr., Winston-Salem, N.C., and Miss Zinita Parsons, teacher at Mineola; one son, Binnion Parsons of Commerce; two half brothers, Arthur Hays and Walker Hays; and one half sister, Mrs. Bess Whittaker, all of Indianapolis, Ind., and one grandchild.

Viola was the niece of my paternal great grandfather, Oliver Morton Wallen. She was the daughter of his sister Mary J. (Wallen) Hayes. She had a sister Ora, who I believe to have been her twin, that died at about 3 and 1/2 years of age. When Viola's mother died just two years after her sister's death, Viola or "Ola" as she was called then, went to live with her mother's family. Viola made the trek from Kentucky to Texas with her uncle Oliver and his family, her uncle Jesse Wallen, and her great grandmother, Louisa (Tyree) Wallen. Louisa and Viola lived part of the time with another of Viola's uncles, Daniel Thomas Wallen near Gainesville, Texas where Viola started teaching school.

I know that Viola's children, Reba Maurine (Mickey) Huffstutler, Zinita Viola Fowler, and Binnion Deloss Parsons have all passed away in recent years, but I would love to hear from any of their families.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Wednesday's Child: Joseph W. Townsend 1877-79

Tombstone of Joseph W. Townsend,
son of Uriah W.* and Mary Ann (Cameron) Townsend
Yolton Cemetery, Fayette Co., Illinois
Inscription on stone:

Son of
URIAH W. & M. A.
Aug. 3, 1879
Aged 1 Y. 11
M. 12 D.

Take this little lamb said He
And lay him on my breast
Protection it shall find in me
And be forever blest.

*Uriah W. was the brother of my paternal great, great grandfather Lewis; both sons of Joseph L. and Christianna (Wheaton) Townsend.