Thursday, December 31, 2015

Where Do We Go From Here?

Does the song from Evita surge through your head as you read the name of this post?  It does mine. I love that song and that musical.

I am obviously brainstorming the next direction with my blog. Of what should I write?

I had planned to memorialize the more that a dozen family and friends that departed life in 2015. I had even started gathering the funeral cards with pictures. However, it is really just too soon. Sadness continues in so many directions.

I could make some Genealogical New Years' resolutions. I could tease the reader about what is to come (if I only knew).  I do want to write about great-grandma Stella Smith's brother, LeRoy. I never finished that segment of the family.

Or I could talk about Cousin Bait. I am learning about Cousin Bait. Maybe there is a distant cousin out there who will connect with me, and we can advance each other's research. Actually, I have snagged a couple in just the last few weeks. I stumbled across them and have communicated with one. 2016 is looking promising for additional genealogical research.

I have made several promises about getting into the Wright side of the family (no pun intended). My husband says that when he married Miss Wright, he didn't know my first name was Always. O.K. I can hear the groans.

Then, there is that whole DNA testing direction which I have finally participated in.  Results in 4-6 weeks.

I could (and do) thank my readers: my cousins, my second cousins, my son, assorted relatives, friends, and complete strangers for reading my ramblings. I have enjoyed this enterprise immensely.

But really, where do I go from here as I wrapped up 2015 and embark on the 2016 posts of the blog called Cousins.

Stay tuned...An idea is beginning to develop.

Monday, December 28, 2015

End of Exam

So, how have you been doing so far on the exam which my mother-in-law took at age almost twelve to complete eighth grade.

The first section can be reviewed in May 1 and 2, 1930.

The second section in Eighth Grade Exam (continued).

The third section in The Exam Goes On.

Today is the fourth and final section completing the test with Music and History.   
If I had taken this test, I would have had a couple of questions.  1. What are the missing parts of the Arithmetic test? and 2. Who proof-read the history section?

Friday, December 25, 2015

December 25, 2015


                             Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Eighth Grade Examination (continued)

Friday, December 18, I shared the first two parts of the eighth grade exam taken by my mother-in-law just before her twelfth birthday in 1930.  Here are the sections on Civics and Geography.

I think it might be interesting to compare the Iowa Exam with that of other states.
Next Sections - Grammar and Hygiene

Friday, December 18, 2015

May 1 and 2, 1930

Samples of eighth grade tests can be found in historical societies and genealogy libraries.  I have seen them at Quester meetings and other informational gatherings.  However, the one I came across recently is special. Why? It is special because it is the actual test that my mother-in-law took May 1 and 2, 1930 when Herbert Hoover was president.

If you have never read one, I think you will enjoy testing yourself.

Each of my posting days over the next week or so will feature parts of the test. It is Christmas time and there are numerous interruptions to my genealogy quest. I intend to get back to the DeHarts and then move on to some of the memories of my grandmother, Nina Frances Borden Wright, in the new year.

The questions below were answered by Doris Fern Augustus just before her 12th birthday. Her birthday was May 4. I bet it was a celebration since the test was over.

The cut off portion above was how the questions appeared in the booklet.
Next week, be ready for Civics and Geography 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Happy Anniversary - December 16

My parents were married December 16, 1941. So if Mom hadn't died 12 years ago and Dad hadn't died almost 6 years ago, they could celebrate their 74th wedding anniversary this year.  They did almost make it to 62 years. Mom died just a couple of weeks before we could have had this celebration.

However, they did celebrate 25, 40, 50, and 60 with parties. In my current cleaning and sorting mood, I uncovered congratulatory cards from December 1981- their 40th anniversary. Of course, mom kept them. Of course, I kept them. All my family is asking "Why." So I have thrown out a few. It was nice to read familiar names of friends that were prominent in their lives at the time. Many of those names belong to the deceased now as well as do Mom and Dad. Some of the cards contained nice letters which I think could be shared on this genealogy blog at some point in the future.  Don't we wish we had old letters of other ancestors. It won't be long before these old letters are ancient. I am saving parts of some cards for my signature project. ( just a little teaser).

What do I know about my parents marriage? I understand they were married in the Methodist Parsonage in Scranton, Iowa. My mother's mother, Nina Grisso, was their witness.  The date was December 16, 1941 just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Mom shared that she had been to Cedar Rapids, Iowa with her Aunt Ardea and Uncle Steve that day. They had probably gone for the week-end due to the distance. Cedar Rapids is where mom's uncle and Ardea's brother, Merroll lived.  They were on their way home when they heard the news. She had purchased her wedding blouse on this trip.

A couple of dozen years ago as we were driving through the tiny burg of Farlin, Iowa. Mom pointed out a house that she said they stayed in after they were married. I have no idea if this was a day, a week, or longer. I also know they spent time living with Mom's parents and 5 other siblings across the road from where they started farming. The farm they were to live on would not be available until March 1. This was an established date when renters vacated and a new tenant occupied  the farm they were to work the next growing season. March 1 gave them some time to get settled and work the ground before time to put in the crop. The farm was owned by Estella Vorhies Smith, my mother's grandmother. She inherited the farm from her father, John MacVorhies. This farm was part of the original homestead purchased by Joseph Withrow, my 3x great-grandfather.

Vern and Mary
December 16, 1941

Fiftieth Wedding Anniversary

Mom's and Dad's rental farm 1942-1959
"The Sixty"
(where it all began)
The farm they bought in 1969.
(Still in the family)

Monday, December 14, 2015

Mondays With Mary - December 1994

'Tis the season....

At the Wright household that meant, it was deer season. When I was little, my uncles would point out the individual deer hanging in the basement and call them by their names. There was Donner and Blitzen. Some years Comet and others were there. My biggest fear was descending  the old cement stairs to see a big, beautiful deer hanging there with its tongue out just under its red nose. I suppose it was some form of child abuse, but I seemed to have grown up and turned out O.K. (at least a few people think so).

December 1994-Deer Season

Friday, Dec. 9

14 degrees at 5:30 a.m. vacuumed- washed
load of clothes.  Went to library for book in p.m.
John G and Eldon B came about 5 p.m.
Dean here at 7 p.m. played cards to-nite

Saturday, Dec. 10

18 degrees @ 5:30 a.m.  boys out hunting deer
1st day-2nd season-  no luck.
Whimpy Lewis out in a.m. saw a lot of
 does but no bucks. played cards to-nite
getting colder.  Jon B out to feed cows.

Sunday, Dec. 11

8 degrees below @ 5:30 a.m.
dropped to 13 degrees below by day-lite
boys hunted all day.  Eldon shot me a doe.
Played cards to-nite.   Chili at noon.  Meatloaf tonight.

Monday, Dec. 12

8 degrees @ 5:30 a.m.  I went to quilt. The boys
still hunting deer. No luck on bucks but
 lots of deer seen.  Baker's preg checked cows
5 open.  Talked to Scottie to-nite.  Cats eating
on deer - put in basement. Cards again tonight.

Tuesday, Dec. 13

2 degrees @ 4 a.m.  warmed up to 8 degrees by
6 a.m.  trees all frosty - cut the deer up and took a
back ham to Glidden to be dried.  Boys hunted till
noon and then went home.  I put up the x-mas
tree. Cooked some deer bones.  Dean and Eldon took
rest of deer home with them.

So, another deer season came to an end on the same day Mary's grandson, Scott, left for the Navy. He was back to join the hunters nine years later. Sadly, that was the first deer season without Mary. As much as the hunters enjoyed the hunt, the camaraderie and the card playing, everyone knew Mary loved the season as much as they did...maybe more.

Friday, December 11, 2015

The Dehart Children

George Jackson Dehart, one of my Friday Features was the father of nine children with his first wife, Sarah Frances Skaggs Dehart. As noted in George Jackson Dehart (1835-1916) part two, he remarried after the death of Sarah Frances to Sarah Caroline Corey and they had two children.

I came across this picture in some documents handed down to me. The inscription on the back indicates this is George and Sarah Frances Dehart. I see a strong resemblance between Sarah and her daughter, Emma.

Emma Susan Dehart Borden

(March 15, 1869----30 March, 1956)

My direct line is with their 5th child, Emma Susan Dehart, who was born in Monroe County, West Virginia.  Her four older siblings were also born in Monroe County, West Virginia.  Sometime between March 1869 and July 1870 the family moved west. This is clear because of the birth of Emma in West Virginia in 1869 and the census form of 1870 in Illinois.

The family moved several more times as indicated by the birth places of the children, census records, and the biography from Calhoun County, Iowa.  Before featuring my great-grandmother Emma Susan Dehart Borden, I would like to introduce  her siblings.

James Floyd Dehart (1861-1920)
     This first child of George and Sarah was born October 2, 1861 in Palestine, Virginia. This is very near Monroe County where the other children were born. James's father, George, fought in the Civil War. This accounts for the next child not being born for several years.  This is only an assumption because I have not researched the length of the service of George.  I am currently doing some research on James Floyd Dehart. I think there are some long lost cousins on that family branch. 
     James Floyd Dehart was married to Aunt Blanche. One time I remember meeting her when I was a little girl. I have no idea why, but I really liked her. I didn't quite get how she was related, and I knew she was from far away.That faraway place was Nebraska, not really so far by today's standards but remember when I was a little girl, it was the "olden days". I knew Aunt Blanche was actually related by marriage.  She was the wife of my great grandma Borden's oldest brother, James Floyd Dehart.  The picture below is of my great grandmother, Emma Borden, and her sister-in-law Blanche Dehart.

I find the gloves in Aunt Blanche's hands interesting. They look like driving gloves. It looks like the picture was snapped just before she took off in her car.  Was she headed back to Nebraska? Had she driven to Iowa on her own. For some reason, I think so. Could this picture been taken on the day I remember with Aunt Blanche?

Fletcher C. Dehart (1865-1867)  

     The second child of George J. and Sarah lived only two years and a few more months.

Virginia Alice Dehart (1866-1950)

     Aunt Alice faired better than her brother. She was just past one when he died. I will be more writing a little more about her. I actually knew her when I was young.

Oto C. Dehart (1867-1869)

     Oto was born March 5, 1867 less than one year after Alice (March 22,1866) came into the world.  Oto only lived two years too.  He died two months after yet another sibling was born. This sibling was my great-grandmother, Emma Susan.

(to be continued)


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

George Jackson Dehart (1835-1916) part two

On Friday, I started a post featuring my 2nd great grandfather, George Jackson Dehart.  This article is taken from a book about Calhoun County, Iowa and can be found in the local library at Lake City, Iowa.

(continued from Friday)

     Mr. Dehart's first wife died in this county, October 20, 1885, leaving five children, namely:  James F., who is now married and resides in Kansas;  Virginia Alice, wife of Sherman Peterson, of Lake City, Iowa; Emma Susan, wife of William Borden, of Chicago, Illinois; Frank, who is with his brother in Kansas; and May, at home.  On the 5th of June, 1888, Mr. Dehart was again married, in Calhoun county, his second union being with Miss Sarah Corey, who was born and reared in DeKalb county, Illinois, and is a daughter of Daniel Corey of the county.  By this marriage two children have been born:  John C. and Mary Caroline.
     Always a strong temperance man Mr. Dehart is now identified with the Prohibition party and is a stanch supporter of its principles.  He takes an active interest in educational affairs and most efficiently served as a member of the school board for some years.  He and his wife are both earnest and consistent members of the Baptist church of Lake City and are held in the high regard by all who know them.

I wonder who wrote this. I think I need to make a trip back to the Lake City library and check on this book.  The article infers that in
1885 when Sarah Skaggs Dehart died, her daughter, Emma Susan was married to William Borden. However, my other sources say Emma and William were married Nov. 2, 1897. Their only child, Nina, was born in 1900 so this makes more sense.

Some of my other thoughts have to do with 2 Great-Grandma Sarah Frances Skaggs. Some papers say Francis and others say Frances. Whichever... it seems that her granddaughter, Nina Frances Borden Wright, was named for her as well as her great granddaughter, LaVonne Frances Wright Grisso Tubra. I think following the names is fun. It shows the respect and love passed down the generations.

 It seems 2nd Great Grandma Sarah was buried in Lake City, Iowa.  Her father, David, is buried there as well. Now this is interesting. I wonder when David Skaggs came to Iowa from West Virginia. Had his wife died? Where is she buried?  Questions, questions.

My uncle and I were wondering about George Frank Dehart.  His sister, Mae, was only 2 when their mother, Sarah, died and George Frank was only 3 1/2. He must have gone to live with
his brother, James who was about 24 and now married according to the biography. However, James Floyd Dehart first married in 1888 according to other family records. Confusion. Problems to be solved. More confusion.

The following pictures are from the cemetery in Dalhart, Texas where George Jackson Dehart is buried.

The top part of the stone is not sitting on the bottom as it should.  It was not easy to photograph the front. Too bad all the descendants of George Jackson Dehart couldn't take up a collection and have the stone fixed.

The keeper of the cemetery was very, very helpful. The cemetery is also in excellent condition.

The plot itself is very large. It is surrounded with a stone border. It appears that there are only two interments, George Jackson Dehart and his daughter, Mary Caroline Dehart. Is the second wife of G.J Dehart, the mother of Mary Caroline buried here as well or did she return to Calhoun county in Iowa?

Any additional information about the above writing is welcome.

Friday, December 4, 2015

George J. DeHart - Friday's Feature

The following article was taken from a book found in the city library of Lake City, Iowa.  I failed to make a copy of the cover. The only title I have is The Biographical Record.  The ancestor featured here is my great-great grandfather and is related to me in this way.

George J. Dehart (2nd great grandfather)
       Emma Dehart Borden (daughter of George, my great g'ma)
            Nina Borden Wright (daughter of Emma, my grandmother)
                 Vern Wright (son of Nina, my father)
                        Margie Wright Tolsdorf (daughter of Vern, me)

                                         George J. Dehart

     George J. Dehart, one of the leading farmers of Calhoun township, whose home is on section 23, came to this state about 1874, and has made his home in Calhoun county since May, 1881.  He was born on the 10th of September, 1835, in Monroe county, West Virginia, of which county his father, Samuel Dehart, was also a native.  His paternal grandfather Abraham Dehart was born in France, and with two brothers came to the new world with General La Fayette, all of them aiding the colonies in their struggle for independence as soldiers in the Revolutionary war.  When peace was restored Abraham Dehart located in Monroe county, West Virginia, being one of the first settlers of that section.  There his son, Samuel , grew to manhood and married Sophia Spade, a native of Virginia and a daughter of John Spade, who was also a soldier of the Revolutionary war. [ I find this following part a little confusing. I think John Spade is the German but I am not sure who settled in Virginia, but was married in Maryland.] He was a German by birth, being one of the soldiers employed by the English in their efforts to subdue the colonies.  He was captured by the colonial forces and paroled, but remained with the American army, not caring to be exchanged.  Later he settled in Virginia, but was married in Maryland.  During his active business life Samuel Dehart followed farming and continued to make his home in West Virginia until called to his final rest in 1882.  His wife survived him some time and passed away in 1894.
     Upon the old home farm in West Virginia George J. Dehart passed his boyhood and youth, remaining with his father until grown.  He then worked by the month as a farm hand for a few years, and subsequently bought a farm in his native county, which he operated for several years.  In early life he entered the state militia, and rose to the rank of second lieutenant.  After the Civil war broke out he was induced to join the Confederate army and become a member of Company D, Twenty-seventh Virginia Infantry, which was first under the command of General Stonewall Jackson, and later under General Robert E. Lee.  During the first battle of Bull Run he received a gunshot wound, but was not disabled, and remained in the service for nearly three years.
     Mr. Dehart was first married in Greenbrier county, West Virginia, August 28, 1860 to Miss Sarah F. Skaggs, a daughter of David J. Skaggs.  She was born in Indiana, but was reared in West Virginia.  In 1869 Mr. Dehart removed to Alton, Illinois, where he engaged in farming for two years, and then spent a year and a half at Bloomington.  Coming to Iowa in 1874 he first located in Carroll county, where he engaged in farming one season, and then removed across the boundary line into Sac county where the following three years were passed.  At the end of the period he returned to Carroll county and made his home there until coming to Calhoun county in 1881, locating on a tract of eighty acres in Calhoun township, which he had purchased several years previously.  After building a small house upon the place he began to break the land and improve his farm, and subsequently added to it until he now has a quarter section.  Mr. Dehart has since enlarged and improved his residence, has erected convenient outbuildings, has set out fruit and shade trees, and made many other useful and valuable improvements.  He raises a good grade of stock, and although he started out in life with no capital he has steadily prospered through his own well directed efforts, being a good business man and a thorough and systematic farmer.

The rest of this article will be continued next week. This will tell us about his wives and children.  A few years ago, I located his grave in Dalhart, Texas.  When did he move to Texas and why did he move to Texas?  I wonder if I will ever find the answer.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Rest In Peace, Mom

Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, " All I am or hope to be, I owe to my mother". I keep the picture below in a frame with this quote. It truly speaks to me.

                                Mary Louise Grisso Wright
                                Oct. 27, 1921-Dec. 2, 2003

Monday, November 30, 2015

Time Gets Better With Age by Unknown

I learned that I like my teacher because she cries when we sing 'Silent Night.' -Age 5

I learned that our dog doesn't want to eat my broccoli either. -Age 7

I learned that just when I get my room the way I like it. Mom makes me clean it. -Age 12

I learned that although it's hard to admit it, I'm secretly glad my parents are strict with me. -Age 15

I learned silent company is often more healing than words of advice. - Age 24

I learned that brushing my child's hair is one of life's great pleasures. -Age 26

I learned that if someone says something unkind about me, I must live so that no one will believe it. -Age 30

I learned that there are people who love you dearly, but just don't know how to show it. -Age 42

I learned that you can make someone's day by simply sending them a little note. -Age 44

I learned that children and grandparents are natural allies. -Age 47

I learned that singing 'Amazing Grace' can lift my spirits for hours. -Age 48

I learned that you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. -Age 51

I learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you miss them terrible after they die.  -Age 53.

I learned that if you want to do something positive for your children, work to improve your marriage. -Age 61

I learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. -Age 62

I learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you. But if you focus on your family, the needs of others, your work, meeting new people, and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you. -Age 65

I learned that everyone can use a prayer. -Age 72

I learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. -Age 82

I learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.  People love that human touch-holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. -Age 90

I learned that I still have a lot to learn. -Age 92

As I noted in the title, this was written by that infamous 'Unknown'.
I thought it was fun to read and might cause some refection for my readers. (It is also a piece of paper I can dispose of in my sorting process)

The lesson learned that struck me most was about missing one's parents after they have died. If  'Unknown' was writing from experience, I feel lucky to have reached age 68 instead of 53 when I faced this first loss.

"...brushing my child's hair is one of life's great pleasures" spoke to me also. I miss that.  Once the tangles were out, it was certainly one of life's pleasures.

I also learned long, long ago that I have a lot to learn.  It is a good thing I enjoy it because there is so much out there to discover.

What speaks to you? I would love to hear.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankgiving Memories

Thanksgiving has always been my least favorite holiday. This sounds almost un-American, don't you think?

When I was young, my maternal family all gathered at my great-grandma Smith's house on the south side of Scranton, Iowa.  It was a huge house and held many, many relatives.  In attendance were usually three of Estella Smith's daughters and usually a daughter-in-law.  Usually there were about 6-10 adult grandchildren of Stella, depending on the years. Then, there were the little kids. My first cousins, my second cousins, and me. Little kids ate in the kitchen. The adults ate in the dining room. The menu was the usual Thanksgiving feast. Turkey ( I hated Turkey), mashed potatoes and gravy( I hated mashed potatoes and gravy), cranberries (who likes cranberries). So you get the idea. I did, however, like rolls, carrot sticks, and pumpkin pie. So, on my plate at Grandma's round table in the kitchen would be a roll (no butter) and a carrot stick. I would notice as I was politely waiting for the pumpkin pie that a couple of my great-aunts ( I won't name them) were whispering about me. Something not too nice. This tainted Thanksgiving for me. It went on for years or maybe it only happened once but it scarred me. And I never liked Thanksgiving because of it.

One year right after our first child was born, we didn't come home for Thanksgiving from South Dakota. By now, the maternal head of the family had passed, but my mom's side of the family still gathered. Since we were not in attendance, we had pizza at our house. It was wonderful. What a great way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

One of my favorite Thanksgivings was when my husband was stationed at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He was attending helicopter flight school.  We joined a couple of other families and dined together at the Officer's Club. The display area of the dining area was a cornucopia with bushels of vegetables and food items spilling out. It was very impressive. Then, we got to order from the menu. Three main meats were featured including prime rib. Now, this Thanksgiving was starting to shape up. However, when I gave my order to the wait staff, our friend sitting to my right, started to harass me. His words were something like, "What! You are not eating turkey. Not eating turkey is actually un-American. I can not believe you!" Well, needless to say I tried to explain my reasons which had been ingrained in me from those unhappy dinners at my great grandmother's kitchen table. He turned away and did not converse with me until dinner arrived. The waitress set my prime rib in front of me, and then set Dan's dinner in front of him. Guess what! Dan was having prime rib too. He had certainly set me up for a good joke.

Thanksgivings are now a fun time. We spend the day with our two kids, their spouses, five grandkids, and sometimes a few other relatives or friends that join us.

Thanksgiving is also special this year because we will be celebrating our 49th wedding anniversary on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2015.

I guess I like Thanksgiving after all.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mondays With Mary - Cancer

June 6, 1995

66 degrees @ 6:30 a.m. sun shining  scrubbed kitchen floor- did load of wash.  Picked up Nona
went to Ames to throat Dr. more swollen.
We went on to Tama-no luck.  Stopped at Boone at Golden Corrall for supper   home at 9:00 p.m.  Norma W. & Margie called - talked to Midge about Vern 
throat surgery schedule for June 19

Other than just a routine visit to the Dr. which prompted the visit to Ames, this was the beginning of a long summer for Vern and Mary.

June 19, 1995

70 degrees @ 5:00 a.m. Went to Ames for Vern's biopsy
 stopped at Hideaway for sandwich.  home about 3 p.m.  hot & muggy  talked to Ina & Bonnie about V's throat.  Jon & Duane field cultivated  bottom

Friday, June 23, 1995
We went to Ames
met with Dr. Huebisch. Cancer on V's left vocal cord. Ate supper at Truck Haven.  talked to Bonnie-Ina-Norma-& Gene to night

Wednesday, June 28, 1995

66 degrees @ 7 am. sprinkling
off and on all a.m.  picked up Nona & went to
 Ames for meeting with Dr. Yee at 1:00 p.m. out at 3 p.m.  sandwich at Country kitchen in Boone  bought Vern a Straw hat at Wall-Mart    Margie & Midge called

Friday, June 30, 1995

60 @ 5:45 Went to Ames to get Verns neck marked  -Saw Gene & V Paup   he had liver biopsy.  Stopped at Wal Mart-lunch in Scranton with G & D Lewis.  stopped at Nonas a few minutes Bonnie &Margie called to night

Wednesday, July 5, 1995

62 degree at 6:15 a.m. left for Ames at 10:00 Vern got his 1st radiation treatment
ate lunch at Country Kitchen in Boone got
 candy at Wal-mart- l

For the next seven weeks, five days per week, Vern and Mary made this drive to Ames, Iowa. It was about a 130  mile round trip drive from their home. They were almost 73 and 74 at the time.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pay Attention to Me!

Occasionally, I read that our ancestors call out to us. I am starting to believe this. Recently, I was talking about my great- grandmother, Emma Susan DeHart Borden. Then, while sorting papers (yes, I sort papers a lot). I came across a pile of copies that I was given after the death of my dad's sister, Darlene. These copies of genealogy research had actually originated with yet another deceased sister of my dad.  This was not the ancestral line I had planned to work on in the near future, but there was information calling to be absorbed.

I decided this might be a good time to enter this information into my genealogy database. Immediately, I discovered a problem. George Jackson DeHart, father of Emma Susan, was born in Union, Monroe County, West Virginia. In 1835, this area was Virginia. I have attended many genealogy meetings that have talked about how boundary lines changed and a particular place has changed from one state to another or one county to another. Too bad I didn't listen a little better. Another mistake I found had to do with the county name. The correct county was Monroe County. The town was Union, but I have many family papers that list Union as a county. Thank goodness for my clever software program that alerted me to the fact that there is no Union County in West Virginia and never has been. It is so easy to make mistakes like these. We each need to check each others work carefully.

Today I have continued to input genealogical data on the children of George Jackson DeHart, my 2X great grandfather. He lived in Lake City, Iowa for a good long while and established a stellar reputation. I found a book with a wonderful article written about him that will be the subject of a future Friday Feature. As I entered these names and dates, I realized I needed to contact the Genealogical Society of Calhoun County and go on a little hunt. So much I don't know. So much to discover.

Family Tree for those interested (and who wouldn't be)

George Jackson DeHart - father of
     Emma Susan DeHart Borden - mother of
          Nina Frances Borden Wright - mother of
                Vern William Wright - father of
                        Margaret Ann Wright Tolsdorf - mother of
                               Two children
                                      Five grandchildren

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Surprise

Surprise, Surprise, Surprise!
My computer problems seem to be fixed!
And it was NOT operator error!
Life is Good!
Celestia Mary Phillips Marsh  1829-1918

So, here is the photo I planned to post when all my problems began.
Read about this in Wordy Wednesday from October 21, 2015.  This is Celestia Phillips Marsh. Her story is told in a Friday Feature titled Celestia from earlier this year.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday With Mary-details in calendar

When I pick up one of my mom's calendars, I try to look for some type of theme such as those I have already written.  Moving, walking beans, weddings, births to name a few. The calendar I looked at this time is from 1995. First of all, I can not believe that 1995 was twenty years ago. Please explain to me why life is going so fast!

As I started to skim, I wondered what might have been going on twenty years ago in November. It seems that the weather was snowy. Well, I don't want to even think about snow. Skimming through June, I encountered the recorded appointments, biopsy schedule, and more reminders of the summer my dad was diagnosed and treated for throat cancer. Writing about that might be for another time.

I ended up choosing February and March of 1995 to illustrate the details Mom includes when she writes about gambling.

February 7, 1995

16 degrees @ 4:30 a.m. Snowing & blowing
Left for Carroll @ 7.a.m Nona & Edna
came & got us- went to Jackpot Jct on bus
Stayed at Dakota Inn- Room 107. Casino at 1:30
Back to motel at 8 p.m. Played Euchre till 10:00 p.m.

February 8, 1995

Went to casino at 7:35 a.m. Gambled all day
Both Vern and I lost- started home at 4:40 p.m.
Got sandwich at Burger King in Spencer. Got
To Carroll at 9:15 p.m. Home at 9:45 both tired
Windy tonight

She always includes the room number of wherever they stayed. However, I found the precise times of 7:35 a.m. and 4:40 p.m. amusing. I wonder why so precise since most other entries are more rounded times.  About a month later, they were off to Reno.

March 19, 1995

Left Omaha at 7 a.m.
Flew to Phoenix got to
Reno at 10:30 a.m.  Ina's and Lee's
surprised us at airport. got room 814
gambled rest of day. Supper at Eldorado

March 20, 1995

rained all day in Reno   turned to Snow
Vern won an $800 jackpot also $200
breakfast at Cal-Neva - supper at Molly G's
in FitzG   napped in p.m. awhile
I won 1000 quarters

As their daughter, I remember there was a time when they were raising cattle and never were away from the farm overnight for a period of 10 years. These gambling excursions were much happier and fun times for them. I think the details show it.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Doris' Memories Continued

Last week I spoke of my mother-in-law, Doris, who we recently laid to rest after a full 97 years of life. This post can be reviewed at Friday's Feature-Doris. She had started writing some memories and had started with her very first memory of when her brother was born.

Today's memories are about starting school.
Then I remember my first day of school.  We had gone to the State Fair with much planning & scheduling chores & someone to do them.  My Grandparents Reeder, Aunt Jenny & Uncle Dick White had rented a big tent for the week-end. And my folks too. We walked to the fair from the campgrounds each day- sometimes came back to fix lunch & rest.

Then on Sunday afternoon Mom & Dad got ready to go home - chore time & I had school the next day & dad discovered he had lost the car key!  A security person on horseback came & they took the part that holds the key & took it uptown to a locksmith & came back & put it back together so we made it home.

I remember what I wore that 1st day. I rode the bus and someone showed me where the 1st grade room was.  There was a mixed 1st & 2nd grade as well as a 1st grade.  My teacher was watching for me & made sure I had a desk in her room. She married my Uncle Gerald so she knew who I was.

The school bus I first remember was a motor bus & there was a horse drawn one the 1st year or so.
I was in school it was driven by a senior in H.S. & would keep it and take care of the horses at his home at nite & would drive back in the morning.

The inside of the buses had long seats along the sides & a bench down the length in center. My first bus driver was Jack Cameron who was a family man - one daughter was in my class.

The 1st car I remember was a 4 door ford with side curtains which you had to button on in bad weather even a rain storm!  It seemed to take a lot of maintenance before a Sunday trip or especially a picnic. My mom would be busy fixing lunch to take on this picnic-fried chicken, which had to be caught & killed (by Dad) & he always had to go to town to have the oil checked or the tires, etc.  Mom would fix baked beans, pie, deviled eggs etc.
I knew she loved picnics because she said her family went on lots of picnics.

I enjoyed reading about the horse drawn school bus that was driven by a H.S. senior and that he took the horse to his home to take care of the horse.

And she remembered what she wore on her first day of school over 90 years ago.  I have no idea what I wore to school on my first day.

What caught your attention?

Monday, November 9, 2015

Mondays With Mary-a wedding, a funeral and a graduation

I've been reading through Mom's calendar for 1981. A few special days stood out.

Saturday, June 27, 1981

Windy this morning -cloudy- Vern and Roger Wright
unloaded bales into machine shed-
I cleaned house- Tom & Margie came about 2:30
we all went to Humboldt to Dave & Jenny's wedding
Home @1:15 a.m.

I remember this as a beautiful wedding.

As far as Roger Wright goes, I have no idea who this is. There are other Wrights, not related, who live around the area. Maybe he is from one of these families. (FYI: Yep, I found out he is the son of a neighbor.  Still no relation.)

Friday, July 3, 1981

Short & Betty down in a.m. for coffee.
Rained all day  Vern and Scott went to
Scranton in p.m.  Betty and I went to
Carroll for groceries. Tom, Margie, and Kelley
Came about 7:30 p.m. Left about 10 p.m.
They went to Joe Augustus funeral. (She means we had gone earlier in the day.)

What a sad event. Joe was my husband's first cousin. He was the victim of a car accident and was only 27 years old.  It might have been the first funeral I ever attended of a young man in his 20's. In attendance were many, many young adults. It was just so sad.

When I picked up the 1967 calendar, I found an entry I enjoyed.  It is written in true Mary style.

Saturday, May 27, 1967

went to Ames for Margie's graduation
picnic at Ledges in afternoon
started raining in evening

Yep, there she is again writing with such enthusiasm . After all, I was only the first person on either side of my family to go to college and earn a Bachelor's Degree. Ho, Hum.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday's Feature- Doris Tolsdorf

I had been hanging around my mother-in-law since I was fifteen. She wasn't my mother-in-law yet just my boyfriend's mom. She went out of her way to be welcoming to me. When I was younger, I was a very picky eater. At Easter when she fixed the traditional ham dinner, she would fry me a hamburger. Now really, that was above and beyond. When I was in high school and my snow covered black dyed shoes, bled onto her new carpet, she didn't show any concern. It did come out, but I felt horrible.

Her funeral was attended by children and grandchildren from Iowa, California, Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Florida, Colorado, Arizona and Massachusetts. The church was full. She lived for 97 years within 10 miles of where she was born. Her memory was sharp and she was considered the unofficial town historian. One grandson shared his memories of Grandma which all the grandkids had experienced. The shared memories among those cousins-the grandchildren of Doris- are a treasure they will always cherish.

Earlier this year, one of Doris' sons-in-law, suggested she do some autobiographical writing. As we have been going through her remaining belongings, we came across a couple of notebooks. She didn't write much, but what wonderful insight those early memories give us about her life.


February 16, 2015

The first day I remember was a sunny day in September when Mrs. Bryant and Huldah Ott came driving a horse and big buggy up our lane.  Of course at the time I didn't realize they were coming to help my mom give birth to my brother, Edward.

I was from May to September past three years old. 

Also on this day, I had an infection called "ringworm" on my elbow & Huldah said the best way to cure it was to paint it with iodine! It really stung so I went down to the horse tank & stuck my elbow in the water.  It was cool & made it feel better. Don't know what the adults thought about that- they were busy elsewhere!!

It was probably the next summer I remember a day Mom's cousin from Des Moines came to visit & she had a daughter, Vivian.  We had the baby outside in a big wooden buggy & we had to keep the hood up because if he knew Vivian was pushing the buggy he would fuss. So I had to look as if I were pushing it.

Don't know if some of these memories are in sequence but I was pretty young.  I loved to "help" Dad take care of the horses. In the evening Dad would sit in a rocking chair. I'd crawl up on his lap & we'd sing. "K K Katie", "The Old Mill Stream", "My Old Kentucky Home" etc.

We practically went to one or the other Grandparents on Sunday.  Grandpa & Grandma Augustus lived in Scranton by the time I remember them & Grandpa and Grandma Reeder lived on a farm south of Jefferson.  Sometimes in summer we would drive over to Spring Lake and go swimming.  We spent several 4th of July there but I also remember one or two in Scranton with parades, band, speaker & dances.

Then I remember my 1st day of school.

Well, readers, you will have to find out about that first day of school in another post.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


I hate it when I make mistakes. However, on the positive side, when I make one of these mistakes, I get blog feedback. I love blog feedback. So far the mistakes I have made aren't because I don't know the correct information. I honestly don't know why I made the last one.  In my blog Under the Walnut Tree. I spoke about my great grandmother (Emma Borden) when I meant to be talking about her daughter, my grandmother (Nina Frances Borden Wright). I have made the correction.

Grandma Nina Wright's first great-grandchild was born on her 69th birthday. I wrote about that when I wished my daughter, that great-grandchild, happy birthday on September 19.

So, with the correction made, I am ready to go on.  Today's post was going to be titled Wordless Wednesday, November 4, 2015. Then, of course, I would post a cool picture. It is scanned and ready to go. Didn't work. So, then I thought about just a blank page. 

When opened there would be nothing there. Wordless, you know. Maybe not such a great idea. In other words, as previously mentioned, I am having technology issues. Still unresolved. I thought I had a lead on the problem. A recent update to a new improved platform seems to be a contender for the culprit causing 
my frustration. I inquired at a local computer shop, but found no satisfaction there. It was a huge mistake going there!

Another mistake I am probably making is hopping from ancestral line to ancestral line. If I have cousins following my blog and I jump to another line (not related to them) will I lose their interest? 

It only stands to reason that I would follow one line at a time. However, I once learned in a seminar that I do not organize sequentially.  I am a global organizer. This means all over the place. I guess we have the answer. I will be hopping. Don't forget a particular ancestral line can be found together in the Index Page at the top of this blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


Sometimes we just need a little inspiration.

Recently, I was working in our 30x40 foot shed which contains more treasures than anyone could possibly imagine. My family seems to call it junk, but what do they know.

As a teacher, I never threw out anything. "I will be able to use that someday," were frequently spoken words from me. Many of those items are still in the shed. Whoever would have thought one of those items would be perfect for today's blog. Well, I knew it should be saved.

This treasure is a laminated poster. (Obviously, meant to last)

                                    A Time to Believe

To believe is to know that every day is a new beginning.  It is the trust that miracles happen, and dreams really do come true.

To believe is to see angels dancing among the clouds, to know the wonder of a stardust sky and the wisdom of the man in the moon.

To believe is to embrace the value of a nurturing heart, the innocence of a child's eyes and the beauty of an aging hand, for it is through their teachings we learn how to love.

To believe is to find the strength and courage that lives within us when it is time to pick up the pieces and begin again.

To believe is to know we are never alone, that life is a gift and this is our time to cherish it.

To believe is to know that wonderful surprises are just waiting to happen, and all our hopes and dreams are within reach...if only we believe.

                                                                - anonymous

So, as the old song goes. Let's just pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again.

For all my cousins (and family) in a difficult year.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Past Customs or Happy Halloween

With my recent hiatus from Cousins, I have not only lost my groove with writing but also with reading blogs. So, today I started surfing again. I just love reading family history blogs. One article leads to another, and soon I am lost wondering how I got to wherever I have ended up. Today I ended up reading about post mortum photographs. What???  Here is a whole topic I knew nothing about. How about you?

I started out reading someone's blog on this topic and one thing lead to another. You know how that goes.  According to some of the articles I read, taking pictures of the deceased was common in the past. Wikipedia says that this was a normal part of American and European culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  It was often the only visual remembrance of the deceased and the photograph was considered a precious possession. It also may have been the only image the family had of the family member.

I possess a few photographs of ancestors in their caskets, but none sitting up in a chair as I saw in several articles.  Some images appear to be professional photographs and others are snapshots. I remember when I was a little girl hearing my mother and aunt discuss whether or not to take a casket photo of a relative. They agreed to do it when no one else was around. It had a bit of a tabu feel to me. It seems that this became the general feeling as photography improved and people began to have numerous photos of their loved ones. I read that at one time 1/3 of all photos were post mortem. Amazing the things one can learn about past customs from just a recliner and an ipad.

I do not intend to be morbid, but became aware of a past custom practiced in Palermo, Sicily from the 17th -19th century that readers might not have heard of before. I know I certainly hadn't. The Capuchin Catacombs houses the largest collection of mummies in the world.  Prior to my September visit to this site, I had read a little about it. Unfortunately, a couple of friends who accompanied me had not. The place was a bit too morbid for them. I found it fascinating, but then I like cemeteries like most genealogists. The following is a list of thoughts or descriptions of the catacombs that are common to reviews.

Dehydrated corpses
Beyond creepy
Almost looks like decorations
Underground passages
Peek back into history
8,000 corpses
Clothing of profession
Hung in niches
Glass sided coffins
Corridors for:
Unique in the world

If you find this interesting at all or are just a little curious, here are a couple of sites to learn more. 

The first site will tell you about the site. The second will show pictures. After clicking on the link, look for Comprehensive Index which is hi-lited. From there find the article The Bone Chilling Catacombs of the Capucin Monks.

Actually unless you like Halloween, I would wait to view these pictures. It is probably about the spookiest place you could be.

We do need to realize some of our current customs could seem as odd to our descendants as the above customs seem to us. Then again, maybe not.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Under the Walnut Tree

I was always very familiar with my maternal grandmother's siblings. (Nina Smith Grisso) Since these were the children of my great grandmother (Estella Smith) with whom I spent my childhood, it is only natural that I either knew them first hand or heard many, many stories about them. My maternal grandfather's siblings (Bert Grisso) were not as familiar, but I could always name them. On my dad's side, my maternal grandmother was Nina. It was easy to remember her siblings because she was an only me. She went on to have eight children...unlike me. I always was certain this was not a family tradition I planned to carry on. The family I could never keep straight was my paternal grandfather's siblings.
(Albert Wright) Only in recent years have I been able to make much sense of these five children of Charles and Jenni Wright. I have discovered numerous second cousins from this branch and even am Facebook friends with some of them. The Wright side of my family is my projected topic for next winter.

I mention all of this because I have noticed my own kids get my aunts and uncles confused just like I did my dad's aunts and uncles. Searching 4th great grandparents and beyond is fascinating to me, but I think I also should try to help my kids and my grandchildren understand some of the memories I have This might help them a little. Granted, these stories seem too new for genealogy posts and yet what could be a better forum. After all, Cousins is also for them.

My dad was the oldest of eight kids. I knew them all well. The first of dad's siblings to pass away was my Uncle Al in 1994.  Do not confuse Uncle Al Wright with Uncle Al Tubra who was married to Dad's sister, my Aunt Bonnie. This Uncle Al was named Albert Wright Jr. after his father. I always thought it odd that it was the second son to be named for the father.

Albert Wright Jr. married Norma Seely. They had three children, my first cousins. These cousins, like all of my cousins, were younger than me. A few days ago I received word that Aunt Norma died on Oct. 23. She had been a resident of Idaho for decades and had recently moved to Oregon where she could be better cared for by one of her daughters.

Anyway, my fondest memories of Uncle Al and Aunt Norma were when they lived under our walnut tree. The walnut tree was next to the garage on our farm (The Sixty). They lived in a trailer house under the tree. I have no idea how long they lived there. Their oldest child was a new baby so I loved to go see her. I think I was only about five or six. I remember Aunt Norma using the wringer washing machine on our porch and making crass remarks about big bossomed women and wringer washing machines. It was a bit much for my innocent little ears. They moved west eventually and I only saw them when they came for family visits. Maybe I didn't know them as well as I think, but my parents always spoke lovingly about them. I knew they were special.  For me, I have wonderful childhood memories of them when they lived under the walnut tree in our yard.

Rest In Peace,  Aunt Norma.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday With Mary - 10/26/2015

Tomorrow my mother would have been 94. She died twelve years ago just after her 82 birthday. If she had lived until tomorrow (October 27, 2015), she still would not have been as old as my recently passed mother-in-law (who made it to age 97).

I have checked Mom's calendars and some years she wrote about her birthday and other years she didn't.

Tuesday, October 27, 1981 (She was 60)

Beautiful day - no wind- up into 60ties. John - Ina - Margie - Bonnie - Doll -called me for my birthday - got picker & wagons home - Ray S. put lids on cribs -fixed river bottom fence in p.m. Went to Ta & Doug's for supper & cake.

Sunday, October 27, 1991 (She was 70)

Cloudy but in 50ties most of day- Ina - Margie called
Also Joyce - Micki - Delores
Watched Series to-nite  M. Twins won- worked on quilt to-nite.

Saturday, October 27, 2001 (She was 80)

18 degrees @ 5:20 a.m. Margie & I went to
Perry to Hotel Pattee for lunch with
Midge, Mary & girls- David & Jenni G.
home at 4:15 p.m. Went to Sabus' for
cake & ice cream & another birthday party.
Scott, Bill G. & Florence & Ed Robinson called.

I had planned a few pictures for this special birthday post. However, I am still fighting the technology. I think it will be solved soon. I know you are on the edge of your seats waiting to see how long this might take. No bets, please.

Friday, October 23, 2015


Well, she just couldn't wait to turn this into a travel log, you say. Actually, this is going to be a genealogy tip for anyone interested  in Sicilian Genealogy.

On the second day in Palermo, Sicily, we visited the Cathedral of Montreale. As one of the members of our tour mentioned, she had seen enough cathedrals from her travels and approached this one without much enthusiasm. Once inside, we were all awestruck. The interior is done in gold mosaics that simply take away one's breath. We had a local guide whose English was without accent. It turns out one of her parents was American and the family moved back to Sicily when she was in her teens. She mentioned that she was an author and that her books could be found on Amazon.

After reading about her, I marveled that we were so lucky as to have had her as our guide that day.  Her name is Jacqueline Olio and is considered one of Sicily's leading historians. Just google the name to learn more. I haven't ordered any of her books yet, but I will be placing my order soon. One of the reviews of The People's of Sicily: A Multicultural Legacy caught my attention, and I wanted to share it with anyone who might be working on Sicilian Genealogy.

One reviewer says:

"Has answered many questions about my family history and even found family names listed.  Confirmed stories I learned from my grandmother and now I know they are not fable.  I am intrigued beyond measure, but more than that I have found so much information that I would need to go through many, many sources to find this history."

Another adds:
"Let me start off by saying this book is one of the most valuable tools for researching Sicilian genealogy."

The People's of Sicily: A Multicultural Legacy was co-authored by Jacqueline Olio and Louis Mendola. Mendola is the author of Sicilian Genealogy and Heraldry and Jacqueline Alio has written Women of Sicily: Saints, Queens and Rebels.

I hope this is of use to someone out there. It makes me wish I were Sicilian. Well, maybe if I dig far enough... after all it was a crossroads of so many cultures. I could have had an ancestor among the Normans, Romans, Goths, Byzantines, Arabs, Germans, Greeks, or Jews. Or even one of the civilizations I had never heard of before this trip.  Yes, I know, I am stretching a bit.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Just in Time / Wordless or Wordy Wednesday

Here I am still trying to get back in the writing groove and not having a kernel of an idea for a post.  And then...

Yesterday, I spent some time with my sister-in-law going through the remaining possessions of my mother-in-law who recently passed away.  What do we come across but some fabulous old photos!

So, today I planned to post a great picture of Celestia Phillips Marsh.
Her daughter was Minerva Jane Marsh Reeder.
Her daughter was Ina Reeder Augustus.
Her daughter was Doris Augustus Tolsdorf (my husband's mother). This makes her 2nd great grandmother to my husband. Third great grandmother to my kids and 4th great grandmother to my grandchildren.

Of course, this post would be perfect if I could share the photo. Also, it would be clever of me to link to the post I wrote about her August 14 called Celestia...Friday's Feature.

So here is Wordless Wednesday with only words. I can't make anything work. Is it the new upgrade? Is it the slow network? Is it a problem with the platform? Or is it just operator error, and I need to be retrained. I am terribly afraid it is the last option.  Time will tell.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Monday With Mary / Harvest Time

All around me there are neighbors in the fields bringing in the harvest. It is a time of year that many people love. I am taken with the colors and especially those amber waves of grain (it isn't just song lyrics).  Really, there is so much beauty in a herd of black cattle grazing across a newly combined field of corn. The stark contrast of color is a painter/ photographers dream. I have a photography friend that helped me see this. She photographs huge corn piles and dilapidated sheds. She has taught me to look at the world around me in a different/more observant way.

Checking Mary's calendar journal, I can report a little of the 1981 harvest.

Thursday, October 15

60 degrees and up to 70.  Went to Scranton in a.m. for truck gas & coffee -picked 8 load of corn in p.m. Moved elevator to round crib. Nona helped us today -Went to Scranton for supper. Put 19 load in crib.

Friday, October 16

40 degrees @ 6:30 a.m. up in 60ties & a beautiful day -finished picking corn -picked 14 load yesterday. Nona helped me unload.  Nona, Linda, Cindy & Missy helped us bring the heifers down from N. pasture & boy I'm pooped to-night. 15 load of corn in round crib.

Saturday, October 17

Rained this a.m. Cloudy & miserable all day. 60 degrees at 8 a.m. but started dropping about noon -  wind coming up. Vern went to town in a.m. I went to Carroll for groceries & grease. Sewed in p.m. Short down awhile. Vern watched ball game & slept -went to town for supper. ( BBQ Ribs)

Sunday, October 18
40 degrees at 7:00 a.m. High winds-sun shining
Dale -Dave & Jenni-John & Midge here in p.m. Midge & I drove over to Carroll a little while. Getting colder all day.

Just a couple of additional comments.

"Short" is actually the nickname of a neighbor.
My dad was watching a ballgame!!!!! Unbelievable!!!!