Thursday, December 29, 2016

Focusing on Estella Vorhies Smith, Eugene Vorhies, LeRoy Vorhies

 Review of my great-grandmother and her siblings

Estella Mae Vorhies Smith ( 1876-1959)
Eugene Vorhies (1877-1964)
LeRoy Vorhies (1879-1944)

These three ancestors were the children of John McLaughlin Vorhies ( 1850-1939) and Ginevra Withrow Vorhies (1855-1922), my great-great grandparents. I never knew my great-great grandparents but they lived where I grew up. They established the family in Greene County, Iowa along with Ginevra's parents, Joseph and Sarah Withrow. All of the above mentioned family members are buried in the Scranton Township Cemetery. Growing up, I used to visit the cemetery with my mother who told me about their lives. I have always felt a closeness to them.  This might be why I have chosen them as one of my first genealogy review blogs.

I did know two of the three Vorhies siblings.  Estella was my great-grandmother with whom I spent a great part of my childhood.
The post January 1, 1900 tells of her marriage to Hiram Smith. This was reviewed last post.

I also knew her brother, Uncle Gene. He was actually my grandmother's uncle but we just called him Uncle Gene. I wrote a blog about Uncle Gene titled Eugene Vorhies (1877-1964).  It is highlighted at the beginning of this writing. I hope you will review it along with Estella's wedding post.

The third son, LeRoy, died just the year before I was born. Stories made him seem like quite a character but one thought of highly in the family.  It was the summer of 2015 when I wrote about Uncle Gene. I also wrote about Uncle Roy, but left it in draft form and never published it. Why? I have no idea now. It may be that I wanted to research something else or I wished to include some yet unfound photos. Well, the time has come.  My next post will be from the draft I wrote of Uncle Roy.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Sleigh Bells Ring

While coming through the airport recently, I noticed a decorated sleigh used as a reminder of Christmas long ago. It made me think of  some family photos I have always enjoyed.  The photos are from the winter of 1938 and 1939. Driving the sleigh is my great-great grandfather, John Mac Vorhies. The lovely passenger is his daughter, my great grandmother, Estella Smith.

The sleigh bells in the photo are in my basement. Hope I remember to tell some family member how special I think they are.  Maybe my New Year's Resolution should do with labeling all those heritage items I have.

Monday, December 19, 2016

After the Hunt - Mondays With Mary

The week after the big deer hunt is full of calendar entries about cutting up the deer and the awful weather.  I also notice that so many temperatures are recorded at ridiculously early morning times. I am beginning to think I might be adopted. ( I am not a morning person)

 Tuesday, December 12, 2000

-10 degrees @ 4 a.m.  Cold all day around 0.
Lewis's & Ashley out to cut up doe deer. 
Took meat to Lohrville for bologna 
& dried.  Vern coughing & catching cold.
Al Tubra called to-nite.

Wednesday, December 13, 2000

4 degrees @ 5 a.m. warmed to 13 degrees today
light snow all day    another 3 inches
Vern coughing bad.  I fixed cold medicine
for him.  Leonard out to clean out yards. 
read & napped in p.m.

Thursday, December 14, 2000

1 degree @ 3 a.m. Vern still feeling bad
Lewis out to cut up deer. back quarters
no good.  I went to Carroll to get hair set &
groceries.  Don Buenting brought shells from his brother
 Vern of Va.  I did dog & chicken chores.

Friday, December 15, 2000

12 degrees @ 4 a.m. warmed up to 20ties
another 2 inches of snow in p.m. I wrote
X cards all morning.  Vern still not feeling
 good.  R & L Sabus came & got us & we went to
 Arcadia Xmas party. misting & slick

Saturday, December 16, 2000

21 degrees @ 5:30 a.m.  dropped to 3 degrees below
Blizzard all day. I wrote Xmas cards,
 did the chores, didn't go to David Wright's
 reception.  Margie called for our anniversary. Dorothy Sharon & Darlene Antisdel called     Vern still not over cough.

Friday, December 16, 2016

December 16, 1941

On December 16, 1941 my parents were married in the Scranton, Iowa Methodist parsonage.  My grandmother, Nina Grisso, was their witness and only guest as I understand.

The only other story I know about this wedding was that Mom had purchased her wedding blouse in Cedar Rapids and was riding home on December 7 with her Aunt Ardea and Uncle Steve when they learned of the bombing in Pearl Harbor.

The year I was married, we celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a surprise party in their home near Bagley, Iowa.

We celebrated their 40th in Scranton at a hall, but the day is mostly remembered for its bad weather.

Their 50th was a big celebration on the farm. Their 60th was a part of a birthday celebration (Dad 80) and a family reunion for both the Grissos and the Wrights. Again, we were at the farm.

Now they are both gone along with other much loved family members. Maybe the departed are all together celebrating Mom and Dad's 75th wedding anniversary today.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Family Traditions- Mondays With Mary

One of our very special family traditions was what we called Deer Camp.  Here are Mary's notes from 2000.

Friday, December 8, 2000

21 degrees & 3 a.m. 
 Straightened up basement.
Went to quilt & get my Xmas
articles at C.M. site.
Dean D -John G- Eldon B came at 3:30 p.m.
Dave G got here at 9:15 p.m.
Ray & Linda S and all us hunters went
to Bull Pen for fish & fries.  Home at 7 p.m.

Saturday, December 9, 2000

21 degrees @ 5 a.m. warmed up to 30ties SE wind
potatoe soup and chicken and noodles for lunch.
3 buck deer in p.m. at R Sabus. Eldon B, Steve & Leonard Reetz got them      Cloudy  stormy
 looking all day.

Sunday, December 10, 2000

18 degrees @ 3:50 a.m. getting colder all day
Got 5 does in a.m.  David G left for home at
12 p.m. Waukee hunters left at 3:15
brought 1 deer to basement in p.m.
to be cut up
Started snowing about 7 p.m.

Monday, December 11, 2000
0 degrees at 3:30 a.m. snow & blowing
all day.  8-9 inches.  I worked on
income tax all a.m.  read in p.m.
ham & beans to-day.  Talked to Marige
to-nite.  No school all over state.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

50th Wedding Anniversary

I am sure many readers of Cousins have family and ancestors who were married 50 or more years.  Have you ever noticed how old they are. In my husband's family, I found three sets of grandparents who were married for 50 or more years.  First is Hallie and Ina Augustus who were married over 50 years. Hallie and Ina are my husband's maternal grandparents.  Ina's parents, his great-grandparents, Edward and Minerva Reeder celebrated 69 years of marriage. Edward's parents, John M. Reeder and Elizabeth Neely who were married in 1858 reached 51 years before great-great grandma Elizabeth Neely Reeder died in 1909.

On my side, there were my parents who were married 50 years in 1991 and were 2 weeks short of 62 years when my mother died. My maternal grandparents, Bert and Nina Grisso,  celebrated 50 years in 1969.  My paternal great-grandparents, Charlie and Jennie Wright not only reached 50 years but made it to 69 years just like Edward and Minerva Reeder on my husband's side.  Great -grandma Jennie Wright's parents, Nathan and Anna Olmsted were also married 50 or more years.  Research will probably find more.

Well, guess who is joining all those old couples.  My husband and I will be married 50 years on November 26, 2016. We might be old, but we have had a good time getting here.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving - 2016

Last year I wrote about Thanksgiving memories and feelings. This year I hope you will re-read it. Click on Thanksgiving Memories or read it in the featured post on the right side of this page.

I am especially thinking of my dear friend from that Thanksgiving at Fort Rucker when her husband, Dan, teased me about having Prime Rib.  It will always be one of my favorite Thanksgivings.

Happy Thanksgiving to every one reading this post. Hold your loved ones close and join me in giving thanks for another year of being together.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

America's First Coast to Coast Highway

Growing up, I always knew the answer to the question of America's first coast to coast highway. America's first coast to coast highway was also known as The Lincoln Highway. And The Lincoln Highway ( Also known as U.S. 30) went right through my hometown. I have mentioned that it passed between The West End Cafe and The Skelly Station. At one time it went directly down Main Street. At sometime, it was diverted away from Main Street and routed around the southwest corner of the town. In my family, this was significant because my great- grandmother's farm was affected. She lost a small corner of her farm to this highway project.  In the 40's and 50's when my dad was farming the land, he had the opportunity to watch the coast to coast traffic going past the corn rows he was working.  He was convinced from his daily observations that the worst drivers in the country were from Illinois and California. I have no idea what his criteria were, but he felt very strongly about it.

Sometime in the 50's, U.S. 30 was rerouted to the north side of town. There was an effort to move the highway to avoid having so much traffic pass through the main part of town. The old highway was left intact and soon we had two ways to the county seat, the next town to the east. These highways are still called Old 30 and New 30.

Another connection I had to this famous road is that the farm I lived on while in high school was located on Old 30.

This highway has an interesting history and on its 100th anniversary, The Lincoln Highway Association brought its history and significance to the attention of the country.

Many  websites, blogs and other informational pages from the Internet provide information about The Lincoln Highway. I hope you take some time to read more about it.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy

No, our family is not related to the Kennedy family.  I thought I needed to make that clear immediately.  This post title might have made a cousin or two jump to the wrong conclusion. After all, we enjoyed learning about our relative Dr. Grisso.

Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy is the title of a book by  Kate Larson which I just finished reading for my winter book club. I highly recommend it.

Reading about Rosemary and what mental health was like in the 20's-50's and even beyond, made me think about a relative that many of my cousins may not have been aware of.  She was the wife of my great-great Uncle LeRoy Vorhies. Uncle LeRoy was the youngest brother of our Great Grandma Estella Smith.  Lulu was institutionalized in Colorado for many years. This is about all I know.  Now I wonder why. Now I am motivated to learn more.  When I know more, you will be the first to know.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Monday With Mary - Las Vegas

Recently, we visited Las Vegas to attend the Sweet Adelines International Competition. A friend was singing and with our winter proximity to Vegas it seemed like a great way to support my dear friend whom I have rarely seen for over a decade. While there, we also helped a high school friend celebrate his birthday. Such fun with new friends and old friends. It is true that new friends and old friends are silver and gold. Time is precious. It was a special few days. 

Looking through Mary's calendar, I see that Mary and Vern were in Vegas at about the same time only sixteen years earlier.  It appears they arrived on Sunday, October 8 and checked into room 1509 at the Las Vegas Club. The reader may remember that Mary almost always recorded the hotel room number when they traveled.

Monday, October 9, 2000

went to gamble at 6:15. toast and coffee at Horseshoe
Breakfast with Pat & Cecil at 4 Queens
I hit 3000 nickels
Vern hit $445 at Las Vegas Club
to bed at 9:15 p.m.  In the 70ties.
both tired

Tuesday, October 10, 2000

brkt [breakfast] at Dugout on Main St. No luck
I won $200.00 at L.V Club on wheel of Fortune (2)
Vern won on W of Fortune also.  Connors came to eat
chicken & lunch with us at L.V. Club.  I made about
$700 to-day to room at 7:30   both tired

Wednesday, October 11, 2000

45 degrees at 6:10 a.m. brkft at Union Plaza went
 to Sam's town.  lunch at soup & salad buffet  back
 to Fremont at 1 p.m. Went to Californian  lost on
 double diamond.   Connors left for Iowa
cool most of day   wore jackets. 

There are no more reports of winnings on Thursday and they left Vegas Friday a.m. at 10:30.  They always had fun when they went gambling... win or lose.

Friday, November 11, 2016


We learned about Menehunes when we spent winters on Maui.  Menehunes are mysterious small people who come  around when no one is looking and do secret things. Like say, you can't find something. Oh, the Menehunes took it or did it or whatever blame you want to put on them. Mostly they do good deeds, but they seemed be thought responsible for other activities that are unexplained.

My point? The Menehunes have been messing with my blog. I have admitted how my Pre-election post got published. I accidently hit the publish button instead of the save button. But how my post  from July 16 ended up in my email box recently is something I can not understand. The only answer is Menehunes. I sure hope they don't mess with me again.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Monday With Mary - November, 2000

If you are an email subscriber to the blog Cousins, you have already read today's post. Last week I must have pushed the publish button which is right next to the save button.  See what happens when I take a break. I have to be retrained. So, the following post was intended for November 7, 2016. Read it again if you wish. You may find that I made a couple of corrections.

Well, tomorrow is the big day. Election Day 2016.  Looking back at Mary's 2000 calendar, I see the date was November 7 when Mom voted in 2000. I say "Mom" because I don't know if my father ever voted.

Tuesday, November 7, 2000

28 degrees @ 6:10 a.m. Went to vote-
coffee at CM site.  Stopped at Doll's
at Lounge.  Lunch at Long John's at Ames
tried to find people  at N Star Fish Hatchery
stayed all nite at Casino. Room 347

Wednesday, November 8, 2000

23 degrees at 9:30 a.m. at home left casino
at 6:48  home at 9:30 a.m.  I went to
Carroll for lunch with Wed Club at Family
Table.  home at 2 p.m. Doug Beckman here
to-nite for chili.  Hunting deer.

Thursday, November 9, 2000

23 degree @ 5 a.m.  Cool all day.  Doug
Beckman got his deer about 8:30 a.m.
I went to get my hair set in a.m.  We both
 napped in p.m.  John called to-nite.  Cecil
has cancer in ribs & skull.  Taking radiation

And then the next week:

Tuesday, November 14, 2000

22 degrees @ 5 a.m. Chilly all day
read and napped.  Florida votes
 counted all day on T.V. windy &
cloudy till noon

As I listen to the commentators make reference to the problems in the 2000 election, I enjoyed reading the notes of an ordinary citizen
( my mom) making note of votes being recounted.  What will 2016 bring? How much of it would have appeared in mom's calendar if she were still with us.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Blog Interruption

My genealogy research and organization is sort of on hold. Surgery, travel and readjustment to our winter home have played a role.  My blog has suffered too.

I've been reading other blogs and am "almost" inspired, but then I fade back into my lack of enthusiasm.  However, thanks to one special cousin, I am going to attempt to get back to it.
I promised more Mondays With Mary in a recent post. I need to keep that promise.

With the election approaching, I thought I would share a memory from the election of 1980.  I actually found the letter I am going to tell about while sorting papers this summer. I thought I scanned it to include in a future blog. The future blog is here but who knows where I stored the letter on my computer. So, here is the story without the evidence.

In 1980 when Ronald Reagan won the election, I was teaching 5th grade language arts.  Somehow, I came up with the idea of the kids writing letters to Ronald Reagan with their advice for his presidency. Amazingly, he (undoubtedly his staff) wrote back to my students. The letterhead said Office of the President-Elect, Ronald Reagan.  The kids and I were all thrilled. Evidently, my principal was thrilled as well. One day he came to my room and asked to see the letter. He took the letter, made a copy for me and kept the original for himself. Hmmmm. It wasn't until years later and with a little more maturity that I realized this wasn't really right on his part.  Oh, well. I have the memory. I have the copy. Now if I can just find it.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Strangers on the Road

How does a conversation in Dodge City, Kansas go from Kim Kardashian to a friend connected to our small town?

While finishing our hotel breakfast in the common area, my husband read aloud something to me from the newspaper about Kim Kardashian.  Obviously overhearing this tidbit and noting the tone of voice my husband was using,  a fellow traveler at the next table concurred causing a brief conversation about to where we were traveling.  Turns out we were coming from Iowa and that is where he was headed.  We learned about his motorhome which was for sale, where he lived in Kansas and a  few other bits and pieces of vague personal information.

Getting up to leave our table, a lady walked by and addressed the three of us.  She had heard the world "Iowa" and said the state was also her home.  Of course, we asked where in the state was her home and her answer was Marshalltown.  We did the "Oh, my. Our sister lives in Conrad" dance.  (Conrad is only a few miles north of Marshalltown.)  After the exchange of names with no recognition , I remembered my friend  Mr. G, well known English teacher from from that city. Sure enough the stranger certainly remembered him from her school days.

I love meeting strangers on the road and comparing our commonalities.  The world is not only small, but it is full of very nice people.

This was originally where this post ended. Thus, the title Strangers on the Road.

While still in amazement over this encounter, I had yet another. About three days later, now settled in our winter home, I needed to find a physical therapist.  With no recommendation to find one, I just took a chance and walked into a random office.  After asking questions, I made an appointment and returned the next day.

The friend I spoke of in my first encounter is part of a special discussion group composed of fewer than 10 people.  My next small world story concerns two other member of that same small group which meets weekly at the library in a town of about 560 residents.

My physical therapist grew up many states away from Arizona.  Turns out he is acquainted with the Illinois son of Mr. and Mrs. H. two of my other discussion friends.

The world just keeps getting smaller. Maybe there are no strangers.

Monday, October 10, 2016


I found another page of wisdom in my paper stacks

that I wish to share.  Which is your favorite?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Just a little clarification

I am starting to think if I didn't have to clarify information on my blog, once in a while, I wouldn't have anything to write about.

Recently, I wrote about The West End Cafe, The Skelly Station and our unique hometown telephone service. Threading all these establishments together was The Lincoln Highway. The Lincoln Highway deserves a post all by itself and will show up sometime in the future.

The clarification needed is about the telephone company. Sam Woodhouse was the general manager of a consolidated unit. This job decription and position ended up with his grandson many years later. The organization went through a few changes and  finally was cut over to dial on May 15, 1969. Remember when I said I thought our little town was about the last in America to go to dial. Of course, once we caught up we had a cable T.V. system, a digital switch, and all the hallmarks of modern times.                  

A few years ago, a community committee formed to collect stories and information of our county's heritage and write a book about our county. It was published in 2011 after considerable time and dedication by many residents and former residents. One of the articles was about our local telephone company. Accompanying this article was a picture of "Mabel" at the switchboard. It is a picture worth a 1000 words. The article also outlines some of the unknown services that came with that time in our history. I mentioned a few in the earlier post but think there are a few more that readers might enjoy.
The operator knew when the funeral started.
She knew where the Dr. was.
She knew that so-and so was out of town today.
The operator took a fire call and called one or more fireman with instructions.

She also blew the noon whistle. Now there is a custom that has been gone long enough that it might need an explanation for younger generations.

I loved hearing the noon whistle when we went to town.

I think I grew up at a great time in American history.

Mabel at the Switchboard

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Skelly Station

In my hometown, across the Lincoln Highway from my grandmother's café ( See West End Cafe post) was the Skelly Station. I remember the ice house that was on the south side of the station. I remember seeing the ice tongs pick up the huge blocks of ice. I don't know if the ice was for us but probably.  I suppose we had an ice box before we had a refrigerator. I remember the water bucket and ladle in our kitchen so I guess we had no running water. I remember getting indoor plumbing. That was a big event!

But back to the Skelly Station. Grandma's café sat on the southwest corner of the intersection. The Mobile Station was across the street to the north and the Skelly station to the east. This intersection had lots of activity because it was a great stopping place for truckers and long distant drivers as well as the locals.  Nina's West End Cafe drew a usual crowd and was known near and far.  I once heard truckers like to stop there because her food was very good.

However, I never got to meet anyone famous who was crossing the country. That honor went to my classmate whose father ran the Skelly Station across the highway. One day for "telling time" she told this story.

Hop-a-long Cassidy stopped in at the gas station. Her dad got to see him and talk to him. Wow! In those days, there wasn't anyone more famous in our 10 year old worlds. Well, maybe Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, but it just depended on who you liked best. For me, it was Hop-a-long Cassidy. And he was in our town! And my friend's dad talked to him. Life was good, but I was just a little jealous.

Recently I learned that one of the items in the station that most amazed travelers from the coasts was the telephone that hung on the wall. It was just like the one used on the T.V. show Lassie. When most of the country had gone to dial, we still used the old fashioned system. In fact, I often think we might have been about the last place in the state not to mention the country that hadn't gone modern.

To make a call, you turned the crank to reach the local telephone operator. Ours was Mable and sometimes Martha, but most people remember Mable. Her husband owned the phone company. There were rules. For example, you never called anyone after 10:00 p.m. I don't know if or where these rules were written, but still everyone obeyed them. No one wanted to make Mable mad. She could be a big help too. Sometimes when someone in the family was trying to reach a particular number and Mable knew where the people were, she would transfer this information.

I still remember my phone number from the sixty. It was 8 on 6. Then, we moved and the number was 121 on 1.  Our phone would ring a long, two shorts, and a long. I don't remember the ring from our first phone.  My best friend lived in town so her number was 149, not a party line.  Lucky. She could call out anytime. On a party line one had to make sure no one else was on the line.  When I was in high school, there were a number of kids on Line One. We would set a time and everyone would pick up the receiver on their own phone at the same time. We could have a conference call. We were ahead of the times, for sure.

Memories are fun. It seems like one leads to another.

Monday, September 26, 2016

1970 - Mondays With Mary

     Forty-six years ago on September 19, 1970, our first child turned one. Here is the entry in Mary's journal for that day.

Saturday, September 19

foggy this morning left
for Vermillion at 4:15 a.m.
home at 7:15 p.m.
beautiful day

Yes, indeed, my husband and I remember that day well. After a week of teaching for me and a week of work and college classes for him, we had looked forward to a little Saturday morning sleep in. Well, until the baby woke up at least. However, no one had yet awoken when these excited grandparents knocked on our door at some ridiculous time in the morning.

As I look through the calendar notes during the week before, I see that they were quite busy as well.

Sunday, September 13

damp & rainy all day-helped
Gene with waterer-over there for
dinner-went to Etta's got dehorning
chute-went to Carl & Thelma's
after supper for combine slats

Monday, September 14

raining all day to-day
Jeff in morning for gas tickets
Teeters fixed chain saw-canned
tomato juice in afternoon.
got hog feed today  Paups up in the p.m.
2 1/10 rain

Tuesday, September 15

cleared off- Vern worked on
picker - put cows back in big pasture.
I went to Carroll for club.  Paups here
in afternoon & evening- went fishing got 3

Wednesday, September 16

2 more fish on T lines - I cleaned
 dining room- kept Dave & Mitch
Vern worked on hog house-cloudy & damp
all day- Genes here for supper
drizzling at nite- 3/10 rain

Thursday, September 17

cloudy this morning
cleared -sun shining by evening
sewed on dining room drapes
& Kelley pajamas - Vern roofed hog house
Dave down in afternoon- over to Genes in evening.

Friday, September 18

foggy this morning
put waterpump on car
I went to Whittaker sale in p.m.
sewed and finished drapes- nice

Friday, September 23, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

West End Cafe

Anyone who has ever lived in our hometown in the 1950's knew the West End Cafe.  I don't know when it was established or when it closed. I don't even know how to go about finding out. All I know is that my grandmother, Nina Grisso, ran the West End Cafe when the Lincoln Highway still ran through town and right by her cafe. It was, and still is, US Highway 30. However, now it bypasses town and we refer to the highway as New Thirty. However, it has been there about 60 years. But, if the French can have a New Bridge (Pont Neuf) from the middle ages, we can have our New Thirty. As usual, I digress.

While cleaning out boxes this summer I came across this.

It is a little note pad with a calendar.  Please notice the phone number. We did not have dial in those days. Instead we had a central telephone operator who ran a switch board.

The spot where the West End Cafe sat (which I considered very famous) is now occupied by a Casey's convenience store.

 Time moves on.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Phipps Bits

I would like to introduce a new blog that readers interested in family stories might wish to follow.  The site is This new site is authored by my aunt who is a published writer.

I find her title, Phipps Bits very clever. Her maternal grandparent's name is Phipps. She is also a genealogist so some readers might connect with her familial names: Phipps, Wright, Borden, DeHart, Olmsted, Siglin.

And with a maiden name like Anderson, we can expect many great stories in
Anderson Anecdotes.

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Aunt Cheryl. I am looking forward to your posts.

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Here is another mistake. I just hate it when that happens.  The second cousin once removed blog address is not correct. I am working on it.

The Infamous Box

I have a second cousin once removed whom I have never met. Well, I undoubtedly have many second cousins once removed whom I have never met, but this one shares my interest in genealogy and has a blog of her own. I just recently met her parents. Her father is my second cousin whom I have become acquainted with on Facebook. We think we might have met once at a picnic where I knew no one and marveled that all these people shared my great-grandparents, Charles and Jennie Wright. 

Brianna wrote on her blog of May 22, 2015 at that she had received a box from her father's cousin full of genealogy material. She was ecstatic, and I was just a little envious.  However, the box is now at my house.  I must say I think I have some very generous second cousins whom I have only recently had the pleasure to spend a little time talking with, remembering and sharing family stories.

As I have had the opportunity to read through the contents of this box, I have discovered that I have most of the information. For example, I knew the story of Royal Wright.

  This was my great-great grandfather. 

 I did find an amazing piece of new information, well new to me. Royal was the son of Elihu and Margarett Wright, my 3rd great grandparents. They had six children. Ebenezer B. appears to be Elihu's first son by his first wife, Hipsibuth (although I am not totally sure this is correct). The mother of Ebenezer must have died when the family still lived in New York. He was 17 years older than Royal and appears to have married in 1833. He would have been 23 years old. The family moved to Illinois in 1836. Their other children were (my great-great grandfather) Royal age 9, Roswell age 7, Asahel age 2. It is said that James was born in a covered wagon in 1836 and was possibly the  first white child born in Sycamore township. (I might have to do a little research on first born children in the west. You may remember that there was a Grisso child said to be the first white child born in Oklahoma).  Their last child, Burt, was born in Illinois in 1856.

The interesting document I noticed was the marriage certificate of
 Ebenezer B. (older 1/2 brother to my great-great grandfather Royal) 

Read it again. Did you catch the ages of the bridge and groom?
And who could think genealogy is boring?
Such fun discoveries.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Handsome Guy

Indeed, this is a good looking man. I am guessing he is a relative, but who?  I found his picture in a formal folder in a box with other Grisso information.  So, I think he is from  the family of  my mother's father, Bert Grisso. Could he be one of my Grandpa Bert's uncles? He had many uncles.

Here we have another mystery to solve. We did find out who Carrie Plath was. We did find out that Nelle Fredrickson lived to adulthood. Something about this mystery makes me wonder if we will ever know.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Silage...Mondays With Mary

     When future generations look back to see what life was like on the farm in 1970, this is what they would find in Mary's calendar.

Monday, Sept. 28

frost again this morning
another nice day-started
on beans about 2:00 p.m. till 5 p.m.
Went to P. Happe's to make silage
home at 8:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 29

cool in morning
beautiful day.  We both
hauled silage at Happe's all day
Vern home at 8.  Gene's
 down this evening

Wednesday, September 30

Started hauling silage
at 6:45 done at 11 a.m.
Vern combining beans in afternoon
beautiful day in 80ties.  Gene's
down in evening - welded on combine

Thursday, October 1

another beautiful day-
unloaded beans in morning
finished the n field beans about 7:30
took Aunt Mae home - Gene's here for supper.

Friday, October 2

hot & dry  - Vern
started combining s of house
at 9:30 a.m.  finished about 7:30
got 2 big loads in bin  Folks out in afternoon
I disked n. of house  - Gene's here for supper.

Silage= corn and stocks cut to pile up for fermentation to use
later in the year for cattle feed.

I enjoyed the "beautiful day" comments. Harvest time in the country is glorious. I love the amber waves of grain along with the hustle and bustle of fall activities.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Clarification on the Corn Crib

     Here is a picture of "the crib" about 13 years ago after Dad had
painted it in 1970.  See Painting-Mondays With Mary for more information.

And now it looks like this.


Time marches on!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Painting...Mondays With Mary

     It has been awhile since we have read anything from Mary's calendars. These entries are called Mondays With Mary and are resuming.
    The items I find to write about on this blog continue to intrigue me. Why do I find what I do when I do? How do these timely items cross paths with my current life?  Life continues to be a mystery. Let's just go with it.
     Here are some entries I came across after a week-end of working on the farmstead which my mother and father purchased in the fall of 1969.  These entries are from after a year of living on their "new to them" farm.
August 29, 1970

Went to Jeff in morning for boots & paint
canned peach preserves - drove over to
Neva's in evening-Vern painted a while
on crib.

August 30, 1970

Nice day   turning cooler- painted
 on crib & machine shed
drove to Boone for magnets at B.
Anderson's  -  Gene's rode along

August 31, 1970

Got hog feed this morning
canned tomato juice and apple
sauce  - went to Carroll in p.m.
with Cheryl   Got 5 gal red paint
Vern painting machine shed
Wayne Black got dirt in pick-up
Over to Gene's in evening

September 1, 1970

Went to Scranton in the morning
We both painted machine shed
in p.m.   drove into Scranton for
coffee in the evening

These entries stuck out to me for a couple of reasons. First, I didn't know my dad ever painted anything.  However, mostly reading that the corn crib was being painted made me sad. Why? Because just last week-end the corn crib was taken down

     The buildings of the farm are being demolished one by one.  The structures are too old to use and will no longer be used as they have been in the past.
      These are emotionally hard times. Moving away is one thing. Demolishing is quite another.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Thoughts for teachers

     A few days ago, I wrote about school starting again.  Some little ones have already returned while others are still practicing getting to bed early in order to answer that alarm clock which will soon seem to be going off in the middle of the night.

     I actually loved those days as an educator. However, I no longer have the energy to even get up let alone follow the day on a dead run. Teaching is like jumping on a treadmill in August and not getting off until late May or early June. Did I mention the treadmill is on full speed ahead.  If you have never taught, you might discredit this comparison. If you have taught or are teaching this year, I salute you. There is no better profession than making a difference in the lives of young people.

     I have a little calendar of thoughts for teachers.  Here are a few:

     A teacher affects eternity; no one can tell where his influence stops.  Henry Adams

     Every person is gifted in some area.  We just have to find out what. Evelyn Blose Holman

     The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them. Mark Twain

     Fairness is not sameness.

    A good grade on the big exam is the result of a lot of work on the little assignments.

     Help your students find one thing they do extremely well.

     One of a student's biggest fears is not being listened to.

     What the teacher is, is more important than what he teaches.  Karl Menninger

     The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives. Robert Maynard Hutchins

     Nothing helps a student more than knowing someone has faith in him.

     And my favorite...

     They won't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

    The credit for the collection of these thoughts comes from a calendar compiled by Mary Kay Shanley called Apple Seeds.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Found it!

This summer's sorting has a few high points.  I wrote about my great-grandmother's sister, Mae DeHart Corey a while back. I placed it in the Featured Article section for easy review.  In that article I mentioned that somewhere I had a picture of Aunt Mae at my wedding. Eureka. I found it. Aunt Mae would actually be my great-great Aunt. I remember her as a sweet and kind woman, a woman everyone seemed to love.

Aunt Mae talking to my cousin, Sue.

Friday, August 5, 2016

...that time of year...

     Yes, it is that time of year. In only a few weeks everyone will be back in school. Kids are shopping for clothes that fit better after their summer growth spurts. Supplies are being gathered. It is that time of year when I remember I only got a new 64 pack of crayons every other year. Times change.
     Teachers are preparing their classrooms, lessons and new incentive strategies to help their charges learn better.  It is a new beginning for everyone.

     Although everyone is certainly not accurate. I, for one, have not been back full time for many years. How can time pass so fast? Shouldn't the beginning of the school year be long gone out of my mind? No, I still have beginning of the school year anxiety dreams.

     Maybe it is because I still have papers.  It is interesting to me what turns up when sorting papers.  Yes, I still have school papers. Why? Some are lists of names which I don't want to forget. Others are notes or letters which give me joy. I have finally let go of some of the worksheets of which I realize my grandchildren have no interest. Occasionally I come across some joke or bit of wisdom which needs to be shared. This is today's post.

     You might be in education if...

           1.  You know that most educational experts never taught in a public school, and if they did, they got out because they couldn't stand it.
          2. Your personal life comes to a screeching halt a report card time.
          3.  You think caffeine should be available in IV form.
          4.  You can't have children because there is no name you could give a child that wouldn't bring on high pressure the moment you heard it uttered.
          5. You laugh uncontrollably when people refer to the faculty room as a lounge.
          6.  When out in public you feel the urge to snap your fingers at a child you do not know and correct his behavior.
          7. You have no time for a life from August to June.
          8.  You can tell if there is a full moon without ever looking outside.
          9. You believe that chocolate is a food group.
        10. You want to slap the next person who says " must be nice to work 7:30-3:00 and have summers free."
        11.  You've had your profession slammed by someone who would never DREAM of taking your job.
        12.  You believe "shallow gene pool" should be included in the report card comments.
        13. Giving everyone an " A" would make your life so much easier.
        14.  You believe that some unspeakable evils will befall you if anyone says, "Boy the kids are sure mellow today.

     Now, I ask you, "How could I throw away humor like this?"

     Best wishes for a great and productive school year for kids, teachers, staff, and parents.  And for all the retired teachers, have another cup of coffee and enjoy the memories.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Newspaper Find

A few years ago I was scanning the old newspaper reels of film looking for information about my classmates. I was preparing a booklet for our reunion, but was often side tracked by something else I read.  Imagine the fun I had when I came across this letter to the newspaper by a 1949 Scranton High School graduate. The newspaper was from 1952.

Marvin Grisso was my uncle, one of the younger brothers of my mother.  He was a sailor that seemed to always be at sea. I loved it when he would come and make a surprise visit to school. He returned to see his former teachers and administrators whenever he came home. And, of course, he came to see me.


Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Fun

Deciding what a blog entry topic is going to be can be challenging or easy. It is easy if one is writing about an event which takes place over several days. For example, it was easy writing from my aunt's journal in 1988. It was also easy and fun to discover and visit the Grisso mansion which needed several sessions to get the whole story told. I loved writing about my 3rd great grandmother, Sarah Jane Swartzel Withrow. There is still so much to share about the Wrights, Grissos, Tolsdorfs, Augustus and other various branches.
      Sometimes when the publish button is pushed on a post my first thought is "now what?" This was the case today. Sometimes as soon as the "now what" thought bubble forms in my mind, I am given the answer unexpectedly. Such is the case this week. The same day I published the last Wordless Wendesday, the mail came. In the mail was the local Scranton Jounal. And in the newspaper was a picture from the past of some very cute little boys. They were called the Sox and the picture was from 1956.  Even though the picture is not as clear as one would hope, those little faces are still recognizable. Read the names carefully and you will see how it belongs in my blog, a blog which I hope one day will be read by my grandchildren and their children too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Just a little shout out to those who know what they are looking at.


More precisely what is not being seen.

Monday, July 25, 2016

July 25, 1922

     Albert LeRoy Wright and his wife, Nina Frances Borden Wright, became the parents of the first of their eight children on July 25, 1922. They named the baby LaVerne William Wright. I never knew anything about the LaVerne name, but the William was for his maternal grandfather, William Davis Borden.  Dad once told me his grandpa Borden was his favorite grandpa. Dad was given his pocket watch when his grandfather died. Dad was eight.
     Dad, known to most as Vern, hated his first name of LaVerne. One of his sisters was saddled with the name LaVonne. I think she felt about her name as Dad did his. She was always known as Bonnie. ( Readers will remember her from the recent DeHart adventures to West Virginia)
     Albert and Nina lived in Lake City, Iowa when their first child was born. This was home to Nina's parents, William and Emma Susan DeHart Borden, as well as Nina's DeHart grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other extended family. Albert and Nina lived  places other than Lake City, but as a boy, Dad  spent a lot of time there. He told me not many years before he died that he thought he knew almost everyone in town at one time.
      Much to my surprise, I learned only a few years ago that Albert and Nina baptized their first child in the Baptist Church in Lake City. Some of my research has indicated that George Jackson DeHart, grandfather to Nina, was a dedicated member of that church. Was that a factor? Nina's Grandpa DeHart moved from Lake City to Texas when Nina was a girl. However, I think his influence might have remained. I don't know anything about the other seven children. Were they baptized too?
      Not much of my research time has been spent on Albert and Nina, my dad's parents. What I mostly know is from family stories or personal experience.  They lived many places and had many children. I was only three years younger than their youngest child.  Even though I was their first grandchild. I was nothing special.
Nina and I were both only children, but unlike her I did not want eight children.

Photo from 1943

Ina, Vern, Bonnie
Darlene, Al
Nina, Lee, Albert
Evie, Gene
 Happy Birthday, Dad.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Life is Good...until it is not!

     Today, I will continue the comparison of our June 2016 trip to Union, West Virginia in search of the DeHart homestead and DeHart Cemetery with my aunt's trek from 1988.
     Great Expectations shared a few photos, a few similarities and the differences to our route to Union, West Virginia.
     My aunt's notes had  a very detailed map of the way they went to find the DeHart land. 

We left the Confederate Monument and started driving south. Knowing that Knobs Road was on the north side of Union, we came upon it quickly. Is this great, or what?  We followed this road as my aunt described as narrow, winding and with lots and lots of trees. We marveled at how Bonnie and Al had driven these mountain roads in a motorhome. She described the road as having houses on both sides of the road. We, too, saw houses. She said they continued going up around corners with a house built along the road every once in a while. I thought there were quite a few houses. This should have been a clue that maybe we didn't go far enough out of town, but I figured in 28 years the area could have built up some.
     Later, as I reflect, I think we should have driven on farther out of Union. However, when we came to a road that went off to the right, I was sure we should take it. The road got narrower and was actually awful.  We kept thinking of Bonnie and Al in their motorhome.  This one lane narrow mountain road was a challenge even for us 28 years later in our car. We drove on.  Along the way the only life we saw was a man in his farmyard moving hay bales with his tractor. We drove on. Finally, we concluded that we should have driven farther up Knobs Hill Road. Eventually finding a spot in the road where we could turn around, we retraced our route.  I took some pictures of the thick trees, the no trespassing signs and the narrowness of the road.  As we passed the farmstead, we decided to stop and ask the fellow if he knew the name DeHart.  He did not know anything helpful since his family was not originally from the area. He pointed to the house just a few yards away and said that Mrs. Reynolds might know since she had always lived around the area.
     I walked up the little knoll to her home. She was very kind and welcoming and fit many West Virginia stereotypes that I could think of.  She was sorry her late husband was not there because he knew all the history of the area.  I was sorry her late husband wasn't there to spend the long hours of each day with her.  Her existence seemed very lonely.
     After gathering what little information we had, we were ready to head back to Knobs Road, take a right and continue on searching for the DeHart Cemetery.  We were close. We just knew it.  Life was good.
     And then it wasn't. We had a problem. My husband had turned the car off so he could join me while talking to our farmer friend.  Back in the car, it wouldn't start.

County Road 10/7

Mrs. Reynold's home

 And it wouldn't start. And it wouldn't start. The car is 1.5 years old. Why wouldn't it start?  Our farmer friend, John, and my husband tried everything they could think of doing.  Soon, I felt like John was our new best friend.
     As with the adventure of Bonnie and Al, we wondered if we would ever find the cemetery or get acquainted with the little town of Union, West Virginia.  It looks like there is another episode to this adventure.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Great Expectations (Our trip to West Virginia)

     The DeHart family was my focus for many posts in April and May of 2016.  On May 2, I started a series about my aunt and uncle's trip from Oregon to West Virginia in the summer of 1988. They went by motorhome in search of the original DeHart property and DeHart cemetery near Union, West Virginia.  My aunt kept a journal of that trip, and I shared their adventure from her perspective in the following posts: A Dream Come True,  This is all DeHart Land, Civil War Country, Another Try, Success, and lastly Should I Go?
      Should I Go? asked the question if I should follow in my aunt's footsteps. After all, my husband and I were going to Ohio the third week of June for a small family reunion of his siblings.  Union, West Virginia appeared to only be about four hours away from our Ohio destination. At first we thought of going after our Ohio stay, but luckily we decided to go before. (The horrible flood in West Virginia occurred on the same day we would have arrived).
       We started our side trip in Charleston, West Virginia.  It is a beautiful city with the Capitol building topped with a gold plated dome.  We enjoyed the lovely vistas of a state billed as "Almost Heaven". I just might have to agree that it is. 
      We left our hotel early and drove on the turnpike going south until we came to Beckley, West Virginia. We were able to turn east on Interstate Highway 64 toward Lewisburg and Highway 219.  This is where our trek began to diverge from my aunt's. She says, "... the Interstate didn't open until the 15th of July so they told us the highway we should take was #3.

       The 1988 map shows Highway 64 under construction and gives a good look at the winding little highway #3. She gives a good description of this drive in A Dream Come True.  We did not have to endure those ups and downs, curves and switchbacks, and fences coming up to the road. Instead, we had a scenic drive to Lewisburg on the Interstate. Life was good.
     Lewisburg seemed like a charming little town. This quaint little burg was obviously filled with history, but we had no time to stop.  We headed south to Union.
     I was counting down the miles, (about 20 of them), enjoying the views and breathlessly anticipating the opportunity to experience Union, West Virginia where my great-grandmother was born and oldest known DeHart ancestor, 4th great-grandfather, Abraham, had obtained his deed from 1824.  Abraham's son, Samuel and his wife Sophia raised their family around Union.  At least six of their sons were confederate soldiers including our direct line from George Jackson DeHart, father of my great-grandmother, Emma Susan DeHart Borden. I actually knew my great-grandmother. To see where the DeHarts and especially my great-grandmother had lived was a dream come true just as my aunt had said.

      The first thing we saw upon entering Union on the north side of town was a memorial to the Confederate Soldiers of Monroe County. I couldn't wait to stop. My aunt's pictures and mine are almost identical.

1988- My uncle standing at the opening.

2016- It looks like more white fence has been added.

Just to prove I was there.

(to be continued)