Thursday, November 29, 2012

Oliver's Diary: The Death of Sister Lucy 1901

The very last entries in book #1 (of 4 books) of Oliver's Diary, tell about his sister Lucy's illness and her death approximately a week later. Oliver's mother, Serena (Sutton) Wallen, probably had tuberculosis long before the birth of her first child. Serena would give birth to 9 children before she died at the age of 35. All 9 of her children died fairly young. The local newspapers attributed each of their deaths to Tuberculosis.

The first of William and Serena's children to die was Emiline. Emiline died in 1879 at the age of 4. In 1886, between six and seven years later, and about a year after her 9th child was born, Serena passed away. At least she did not have to bear the sorrow of seeing the rest of her children suffer from illness and death. 

The second child to die was Mary. Mary was a young mother at the time. She died at age 33 in 1895. The third child to die was Louesa in 1896 at age 19. Fourth was Lucy, the subject of this post. Lucy died in 1901 at the age of 17. Fifth to leave the famiy was Sarah Elizabeth in 1905 at age 25. Sixth to go was Willie in 1905 at age 19. Seventh to pass away was my great grandfather Oliver in 1907 at age 36. Oliver was a father of five children, my grandfather and two sets of twins. Eighth to go was Euna Ellen in 1907, another young mother, age 35. The ninth and last to leave was Jesse Uriah in 1917, at age 44, never married. Father William outlived them all, passing away in 1922 of heart disease, leaving a second wife and six more children.

Oliver does not give as much detail in Lucy's death as he does with Sarah Elizabeth and his youngest sibling  Willie . This is the record he leaves us in his diary about his sister Lucy's passing in the year 1901:

Mar. 8 – Went to Dr. Isaac’s and got a truss he had ordered for me. Went from there to Grandma’s and staid all night. Found sister Lucy very low. 

Mar. 9 – Staid at Grandma’s until noon. Came home. 

Mar. 10 – Sunday. Feeling very tough. At home all day.

Mar. 11, 1901 – Jess came out to see me, said Lucy was worse. He went home after noon.

Mar. 12 – Mary S. Denny and Cordia Burnette came out to see Sarah. I got a message from Jess, said Lucy wants me to come and baptize her. I went and baptized her at 4 P.M. Bro. John Cash assisted me. Staid all night at Grandma’s. Lucy very low. 

Mar. 13 – Went to Maretsburg to meet Dr. M. L. Bryant. He came to see Lucy. Staid all night at Grandma’s. 

Mar. 14 – Staid at Grandma’s with Lucy until after noon, then came home. 

Mar. 15 – John Norton and Ben Price came after me, got to my house at 4 A.M. Said that Lucy died at 1 A.M. I went to Grandma’s and ate dinner, from there to R. L. Bray’s and helped to select a place to bury Lucy. Staid at Grandma’s.

Lucy (C.) Daughter of W. M. Wallen
B. Aug 15 1883 - D Mch 15 1901
Wallen/Francisco Cemetery, Wabd, Kentucky

Mar. 16, 1901 – Lucy was laid to rest by the side of sister Lieuesa at ½ past 12 o’clock. There was not any funeral service. Bro. John Cash led in prayer. The choir sang “Where is now my brother dear”. Lucy gave us good evidence that she was going to rest. While we grieve to give her up, we rejoice to think she is with Jesus. And so may the Lord take us all. 

Rest in Peace, great grandaunt Lucy!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Newby Farmhouse Restoration, Post-Tornado

In yesterday's blog post I told about the tornado that ransacked my great grandparent's farm in Spiceland, Indiana the night my mother, Janet Runyan, was born. Mom related the events to me many times, just as she had been told them by her mother and her grandparents, Charles and Ida (Trowbridge) Newby. The photos included in that post are the main witness to the extent of the damage inflicted on the house and it's surroundings.

Charles Lee Newby was a carpenter by trade so he took to making repairs right away. He also made a few improvements by enclosing the second story side balcony and enlarging the shed so he could park his car and buggy under roof.  He also had to build a brand new barn due to the complete destruction of the old one. Below are the photos of the finished work.

My great grandparents, grandparents, Aunt Lela, and great aunts and uncles on the front porch of the newly reconstructed farmhouse.
A more distant view including the enlarged shed/garage. My great grandfather Charles leaning on his car, and my grandfather Lawrence Runyan and his daughter, my aunt Lela standing in the doorway.
A front view of the shed/garage with the new barn behind it in the distance

In May of 1999 my mother and I made a week long trip to Kentucky and Indiana. Once in Indiana we went looking for her grandparent's home. We didn't have any trouble finding it and we both recognized it as soon as we saw it through the trees. I had seen the photos so often that I had no doubt, this was it. My mother insisted we drive up the lane to the house to meet the owners. I was mortified! I didn't like dropping in on strangers unannounced! But Mom insisted. As we drove up and got out of the car we were greeted by the owners of the home, and when they found out who my mother was they invited us on a tour of the house. They were as excited to meet us as we were to be there! This young couple, who had five children if I remember correctly, had not owned the house long and they were in the process of restoring it to it's original blueprint. They asked my mother question after question. She pointed here and there, remembering a closet, a table, a furnace. We went upstairs. Her grandparents bedroom was there, the room she was never allowed in as a child. Mom told me she remembered looking from the doorway and seeing the stand  where my great grandmother kept the big Bible where all the family names and events are recorded. The very same Bible which is now in my possession!

When we finally left the couple, we exchanged addresses and over the years they wrote to my mother with all the new details of family and house restoration. I sent them all the old photos of the house and in exchange they sent me a 2 inch stack of papers of all the legal transactions from the house and land, the earliest being a warranty deed dated January 2nd 1832, and noting that: "The west half of the northeast quarter of section 20, township 16, range 10 east, was entered April 14th, 1824 by Thomas Maudlin as noted on page 23 of the entry book of lands in Henry County, Indiana, and according to the original survey contains 80 acres".

The most obvious renovation to the house was the return of the second story balcony that my great grandfather closed in when he made the repairs after the tornado. The photos below are more recent photos and reflect how the house looks today.

About 2004, 80 years after the tornado
The second story balcony is back, and this time with a stairway all to itself!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mom was "Born in a Tornado" - Indiana 1924

"I was born in a tornado" least that's how my mother told it. My mother, Janet Runyan, was born in a hospital on the evening of June 8, 1924 in New Castle, Indiana. A tornado hit the area that night and her grandparent's farmhouse in nearby Spiceland was partially destroyed. Below is a series of photos of the home taken pre-tornado and after the damage.

Pre-tornado (note the balcony on the side)

Roof torn off, balcony railing gone, considerable damage

A view from where the barn stood, looking at the shed and side of house

Another view of the damaged shed

Surveying the damage

Tree damage. What tree?
My mother said she was told they later found a chicken feather embedded in a tree so deep it couldn't be pulled out. Imagine that! She said her mother told her there were chickens with their feathers blown backwards and the feathers remained like that until the chickens molted. Hmmmm...

The Spiceland farmhouse was rebuilt, with improvements, by my maternal great grandfather, Charles Lee Newby. I'll post those photos tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Fountain and Mary Rash

Fountain Fox and Mary (Martin) Rash circa 1885
Mary was the sister of my paternal great, great grandmother, 
Ursula Ann  (Martin) Davis Burnette


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday: To My Complete Surprise

Charlie Wallen was one of my dad's paternal first cousins. Until January 1, 1998, I didn't know anything about Charlie. Our family had moved around and we were all in different parts of the country. We kept up more with Mom's side of the family than we did Dad's. 

Charlie circa 2007
When Charlie called me on that first day of 1998, it was because he, as a genealogist, was looking for other members of the family and had found me in his search. Charlie had been working on our family history for about 16 years at that time and I was fairly new to genealogy, only 3 years worth then. That was the beginning of a long and close relationship that ended with Charlie's passing in October of 2009.

In early 2005, Charlie decided to sell his home and move into an assisted living facility. He was still sharp of mind but his physical condition was deteriorating. He couldn't take all his years of accumulated genealogy with him so, with the help of his wonderful sister-in-law Betty, most of those things were packed up and mailed to me. In late March five very large boxes arrived at my house. It felt sad to me because I thought I'd never be doing genealogy with Charlie again. Thankfully, I was wrong. Charlie continued from his little room, on his computer, with the few books he kept, to plug away on his database, just as addicted as ever.

Most of the genealogy books that arrived at my house that day were duplicates of the ones I already had and most of Charlie's files on his paternal family had long ago been copied and sent to me over the years. Everything he thought I'd want, he had copied and sent to me via "snail-mail". I did the same for him. We copied and exchanged everything. In fact, I was surprised to see that every manila envelope I'd sent him over the years, arrived back to me in those boxes and the sheer number of envelopes with my name on them made me laugh with joy. Charlie and I had done some serious postal correspondence, not to mention all the daily e-mailing and weekly phone conversations!

All the duplicate books, 59 in all, promptly went up for sale on eBay. In my auction listings, because I didn't feel right about accepting money for them, I stated that 100% of the proceeds for the books would go to help fund the new youth building that was under construction at my church. In the last minutes of the auction the bidding became frenzied, it was very exciting! When all was finished, I had over $930.00 to donate to the church and there were a lot of happy auction winners, some who won books that were no longer in print. 

Weeks later, the rest of the binders full of pages and pages of genealogy, each page in a page protector, and all the manila folders full of more pages, were consolidated into two boxes and put into storage. Over the years, other things got piled in front and on top of those boxes but I never worried about it. I knew they were there, and they were safe, and there was nothing in them that I didn't already have or know about. Or so I thought.

Photos, some I'd never seen
This week we started clearing that room where those two boxes were stored. I separated the two boxes of genealogy from the rest of the boxes and yesterday I moved them into my recently reorganized office. I couldn't resist reaching into one of the manila envelopes and when I did, I pulled out a bunch of photos. What? I thought I'd looked through everything! There were photos here I had not seen. Woot! So I started rummaging...there were more photos, and there were some original certificates: birth, marriage, death, etc., that I had previously only had copies of. Then, this morning I was transferring the binders to a better box and I opened one of the smaller binders and, to my complete surprise, it was full of copies of photos of members of the family that I had never seen. How Charlie had overlooked making duplicates of these photos for me is a mystery. He was always giddy with excitement to share everything with me. These were oversights, I have no doubt, and were there just waiting for me to discover them so I could become excited all over again.

The binder of copied photos

So, I have new treasures to inspect, new faces to put with names that previously had none. Gloat.

I wonder what else I'll find? I have a feeling I'm in for more surprises.

Thanks Charlie!