Friday, June 29, 2012

Splitek: Ayres Natural Bridge Park, Wyoming 1954

Frank Fulton and Sula Susan (Wallen) Splitek

My paternal grandaunt Sula (Wallen) Splitek and her husband Frank, were the managers of Ayers Natural Bridge Park near Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1954. Others in the family may have known this, but it was a complete surprise to me when I ran across this little excerpt in a Texas newspaper today.

Dallas Morning News - dated 22 Aug 1954

Ayres Natural Bridge

     Not too many miles from Cheyenne we stopped at Ayres Natural Bridge for a picnic lunch. This was a good introduction to one of the reasons "why" Wyoming is an ideal family vacation state...much of the natural beauty is free to be enjoyed by all. Ayres Park is one of nature's wonders left in its natual state and there is no charge to see it. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Splitek, managers of the park, showed us the register and, again, Texans were out in front by a stretch.

I never met my aunt Sula in person, but she was responsible for the early genealogy done on our family. Sula and Frank married in 1932 in Iowa and Sula would have been about 50 years old in 1954 when they were the managers of Ayres Park.

Vintage postcard of Ayres Natural Bridge


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday: A Homemade Heirloom

This dagger (or dirk) was hand fashioned from a metal file, by Elza Chandler Scott, maternal grandfather (non-biological) of my husband Mike. It was given to Mike's father, Joseph Harvey Logsdon, and Harvey wore it when he entered the Navy during WWII. There are some rather hazy war stories passed down along with it, and I believe I'll just leave those to the imagination!

As shown below, Mike likes to wear this knife as a "dirk", an accessory to his Irish kilt. He doesn't use the old leather sheath for fear of damage, so he wears the new leather replica that was hand crafted by our friend Larry.

Mike Logsdon 2011


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Lewisville (Indiana) High School - Class of 1942

Lewisville High School Class of 1942 - Lewisville, Henry Co., Indiana
(click on photo to enlarge)

My mother, Janet Runyan, is shown on the far right in the second row from the top. Her best friend, Kate Jackson, is on the same row towards the middle, and another close friend, Charles Preston Doney, is next to Kate, in the center. Mom and Kate stayed in touch all their lives. I met Kate a couple of times when she came to Florida to visit, and again when Mom and I made a trip to Indiana in 1999. I talked again with Kate in April of 2010 to tell her of Mom's recent passing.

Regrets over missed chances...

Some time after Dad died, probably around 2003, or maybe earlier, when my mother was in her late 70s or early 80s, she started telling me of a classmate from high school who had moved to Florida and lived in a town nearby with his wife. The couple took to visiting with Mom fairly often and she told me that this man, Charles, had been a fighter pilot in WWII and that, at 80+ years old, he was still flying small planes as a hobby. Impressive!

About 3 months after Mom died, I found her address book and saw the name of Charles Doney listed within and realized he was the man she had spoken of so often. I called the number and got an answering machine. I stated who I was and that I was calling to speak with Charles about my mother who had passed away at the end of March. About 2 hours later, Mrs. Doney called me back. In a quavery voice, she told me Charles had passed away in early June, just a little over 2 months after my mother. She was still very emotional over her loss and we talked some time about Charles and their visits with my mother. After we hung up the disappointment hit me like new grief over my mother's passing. I was sad for Mrs. Doney, and sorry that I missed a chance to talk with Charles and listen to him reminisce about my mother in her teen years.

I regret so many missed chances over the years. This time, at least, it wasn't because I deliberately put off calling someone. This time was different. With each miss I am reminded to try harder not to make the same mistake again, if I can help it.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Charles Walter Melvin 1916

My husband's granduncle, Charles Walter "Uncle Bud" Melvin
(Center, in all black outfit) 1916, age 20


Monday, June 11, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: The Will of David B. Owen, Sr.

Last Will and Testament of David Brashears Owen

David Brashears Owen was born in Ohio on 16 Feb 1836 to James and Nancy Ann (Brashears) Owen. He was my paternal great, great grandfather. David married Sarah Samantha Miller, daughter of Benjamin B. and Elizabeth (Smith) Miller, on 31 Dec 1858 in Fayette Co., Illinois and died there on 5 Oct 1919, over nine years after his will was written. His deceased daughter, Mary Ellen Lucretia Townsend, as mentioned here in his will, was my great grandmother. Mary Ellen's daughter, Iva Illinois Townsend, also mentioned, was my grandmother.

The Last Will and Testament of David B. Owen of the Township of Sefton in the County of Fayette and State of Illinois made and published the 30th day of March in the year of our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred Ten

In The Name of God Amen
I David B Owen of the Township of Sefton in the County of Fayette and State of Illinois of the age of Seventy Four years and being of Sound mind and memory, do hereby make publish and declare this my Last Will and Testament in manner following that is to Say:
First ÷ It is my will that my funeral Expenses and my just debts be fully paid:
Second ÷ I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah S Owen all my Estate both Real and personal So long as She lives and remains my widow. That upon her Death or remarriage all remainder of Personal property and all Real Estate I give bequeath and Devise to My Dear children as follows:
To - George W Owen  One Seventh part Thereof
To - Benj M Owen  One Seventh part Thereof
Subject to advancements To each of Five Hundred ($500.ᴼᴼ) Dollars in lands Conveyed to them Severally hereinafter more particularly set forth.
To - Roxanie Durbin  One Seventh part Thereof
To - James Owen  One Seventh part Thereof
To - David B. Owen Jr  One Seventh part Thereof
To - Sarah Dellas Simpkins  One Seventh part Thereof
and to my Dear Grand children, children of my deceased Daughter Mary E L Townsend as follows
To - Gladys S Townsend  One Thirtyfifth part Thereof
To - Floyd Townsend  One Thirtyfifth part Thereof
To - Mary E Townsend  One Thirtyfifth part Thereof
To   Iva Illinois Townsend  One Thirtyfifth part Thereof
To   Andrew Nelson Townsend  One Thirtyfifth part Thereof
The Specific charge of Five Hundred Dollars is here made against the interest of George W Owen in such of my Estate left by me on account of the following deemed and given to him by way of advancement To wit:
S 1/2 of the SW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Section 24 Town 7-N-A-2 - East of the 3rd PM in Fayette County, Illinois.
and the Specific charge of Five Hundred Dollars is here made against the interest of Benj M Owen in such of my Estate left by me on account of the following described land given to him by way of advancement to wit:
W 1/2 of the NW 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Section 8 Town 7-N-R-3 East 3rd PM and the S 1/2 of the S 1/2 of the SE 1/4 of the NW 1/4 of Section 24 Town 7-N-R-2 East 3rd PM all in Fayette County, Illinois.
That upon a Division and final Settlement of my Estate as above provided, the Sums of Five Hundred Dollars shall be deducted from the Share each of George W Owen and Benj M Owen as herein charged against them and the Same distributed in Equal parts to Roxainie Durbin, James Owen, David B Owen Jr. and Sarah Dellas Simpkins. Each One Fifth (1/5) part Thereof and to Gladys S Townsend, Floyd Townsend, Mary E Townsend, Iva Illinois Townsend and Andrew Nelson Townsend My Grand children herein named Each one Twentyfifth (1/25) part Thereof:
Third, I hereby authorize direct and Empower my Executor hereinafter named upon the death or remarriage of my Said Wife or with her Written Consent before her Death or remarriage to Sell and Convey such of my Estate either Real or personal, part or all, without the order or Direction or Decree of any Court, having in View at all times the personal welfare of my Said Wife and making Such provisions for her care and comfort as She may need or require;: and upon such Sale being made to divide and Distribute the same to the Several parties named herein, or to their heirs:
It is Expressly provided That my Estate Shall be divided and settled up within a year after the Death or remarriage of my Said Wife:
Lastly, I hereby nominate and appoint James Owen to be the Executor of this my Last Will and Testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made:
In Witness Whereof I have hereunto set my hand and Seal the 30th day of March in the year of Our Lord One Thousand Nine Hundred Ten (1910)
David B Owen (seal)

The above Instrument consisting of Two Sheets was now here Subscribed by David B Owen the Testator in the presence of each of us and was at the same time declared by him to be his Last Will and Testament and we at his request sign our names hereto in his presence as attesting Witnesses:
                    J C Burtschi of Vandalia, Ill.
                   F I Henry of Vandalia, Ill.

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


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Flirtatious Myrt and the Boys

L to R: Henry W. Smith, Myrtle Maxine Melvin, Roy Browne Shepherd
Somewhere in Kentucky, circa 1927


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Francis A. Davis 1857-1882


18 Jan 1857 - 12 Feb 1882
Tombstone of Francis A. Davis
Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Pulaski Co., Kentucky

Francis was the son of Forney J. and Mary Ann (Evans) Davis and brother to my paternal great, great grandfather, John Miller Davis. Francis married Mary E. Debord, daughter of Logan G. and Clarissa B. (Cummins) Debord, on 20 Jan 1880. His brother Leander, married Mary's sister Sarah one year later. Both brothers died in their mid-twenties, after a little more than two years of marriage, leaving widows with no children.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: Thomas A. Grunden 1876

Thomas A. Grunden was born circa 1837, son of Samuel A. and Margaret (Deity) Grunden. He married Arvilla Mulford on July 11, 1869 in Butler Co., Ohio. There were three children from this union: Charles, Arthur, and Carrie. Thomas was a nephew of my ancestor Joseph Grunden. He fought in the 35th Ohio Infantry on the Union side in the Civil War and was crippled by a bullet wound during the battle at Chickamauga, Tennessee.

Battle of Chickamauga
Library of Congress [public domain]

Cincinnati Daily Gazette, January 12, 1876

Thos. Grunden obit, Cincinnati Daily Gazette 12 Jan 1876

Thos. Grunden, a well-known citizen and a soldier of the old 35th Ohio Regiment, died, after a brief illness, at his residence, on Monday night. He leaves a family in straitened circumstances. 


Friday, June 1, 2012

For The Record Friday: Baptism in the Orange Grove

Baptism of Mike Logsdon and Lisa Wallen - Summer 1976

When our church was built, it was built on a large piece of property that was once an orange grove. Of course, most of Temple Terrace, Florida was orange grove at one time. Many of those orange trees on the church property were left standing and our first baptismal was outdoors among them. Today, our baptismal is indoors. 

These photos were taken 36 years ago, just before Mike and I were married. I wasn't so sure of that at first, but I was able to zoom in on the third photo down which is the only one showing my left hand and I know for certain that is not my wedding ring. It looks like the sterling silver dogwood flower that was given to me by my parents a few years earlier. I still have it. 

As far as I know, the church didn't keep much in the way of records back then, so the closest I can date these photos would be summer of 1976. I'm thinking June. We were married in August. 

I'm thankful that we have this visual proof of our baptism.. These photos aren't the greatest, but they make me smile!

Years later, our children were baptized in the indoor baptismal. They have pictures and dated certificates.

Pastor Brooks recently retired from the church and is now on the mission field, but he will always be our Pastor and close friend.