Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day 2016

I just finished re-reading the post I made for Memorial Day 2015.  Personally, I think it is worth the re-read. I had done some research, learned a few things I didn't know about Memorial Day and related the differences between the Memorial Days of my childhood to the Memorial Day of today.

Memorial Day 2015 (Either link will take you there.)

So, here is Memorial Day again, but with a few changes. For one, on Saturday, we will attend the interment of the ashes of my aunt who passed away last fall. Her three children will be arriving from Oregon, California, and Nevada. I am honored to be able to attend and looking forward to visiting with my cousins whom I rarely see.

This is also be the first Memorial Day that our family will be putting flowers on the grave of my husband's mother.  She had a very consistent ritual of obtaining live flower plants from a nursery,
planting them in containers, taking them to the cemetery to adorn several graves, and most specifically that of her husband who has been gone since 1960.  After a week or so, we would gather those containers and repot them in containers for her to enjoy the rest of the summer. Another of life's rituals is gone.  This year we adorn her grave and remember a life which was full for 97.5 years.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Blast from the Past

I love to read my weekly hometown newspaper. After having lived away for most of 40 years, I am not so familiar with the current news or the newsmakers.  However, I love the A Glance at the Past section. There I sometimes find my name for getting a perfect spelling paper in sixth grade, visiting relatives with my parents for Sunday dinner or participating in the annual piano recital.

Recently, I found the following:


So there we are. Four generations. Famous.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wrights on Wednesday

I found this picture in my mom's photo album. According to the note, the picture was taken in Sept. 1984 at a Wright Reunion. The location is my parent's farm because I recognize the background.

I am sorry to say I only know my dad in this picture and assume the others are his cousins. Several of them are probably the fathers of my second cousins.

I hope my Wright cousins will supply the names of these relatives.

Left to right:
1. Adam Wright
2. Marlin Henson
5.  Vern Wright
6.  Merle Wright
7.  Donnie Henson


Friday, May 20, 2016

Should I go?

Today I finish the story of my aunt and uncle's genealogy trip from Oregon to West Virginia.  This was all about the DeHart family and the quest to find the area where my Great Grandmother Emma Susan DeHart Borden was born, the DeHart homestead and the DeHart cemetery.

I remember when my aunt and uncle took this trip to Union, West Virginia.  It was 1988 and we had just moved into a new house in Springfield, Illinois.  They stopped to see us and share their adventure. Was I interested? No. Not in the least.  I was in the middle of settling into a new home, boxes to unpack, cleaning to be done. I pretended to listen to some story about tromping through weeds and finding grave stones that had been buried over time. Ho-Hum.

Fast forward 28 years.

I have just finished transcribing the journal my aunt wrote on that quest to find the original DeHart homestead and cemetery.  I am so glad she included some photos and especially excited about this map I found.

Now don't you think I could find it and retrace her steps. 

 Later this summer, we are headed to within a couple hours ( maybe three or four) drive of this mountain.  Do I dare suggest to my husband that we retrace this adventure?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


In Another Try from May 16, we finally came to the end of Bonnie and Al's search for the DeHart homestead and Cemetery. At times it has been a little confusing, but I have tried to stay true to her writing.

  I am repeating the last paragraph from the last segment since it is the successful part.


I called to Al and said, "I think I've found it.  Over he came and as we walked closer we could see some stones.  What we'd hope to find was here. What a feeling it was. I guess I was coming to see someone I knew.  My Grandma DeHart Borden was born near here.  There were grandparent here.  While standing here, I wondered when anyone had been here last.  Al said, "This makes our trip"

We started looking at some stones.  A few were still standing. Some had fallen and broken.

Some had just fallen down.

 We went walking around trees which  had fallen down and weeds as high as some of the stones.  We found some stones sticking out of the ground by only one or two inches. It was laid out like a cemetery but the stones were almost covered upWe knew a lot of them all were completely covered up just from the years.  Some of the headstones were a slab of stone like off the cliff of rock we'd seen coming down on the road.  We tried to dig down to find writing but had no tools, just a stick.  We couldn't find writing on most of them.  We found one small stone that had S.A.D. I think it could have been for Samuel DeHart. There was no date. Toward the back of the cemetery there were stones with Dixon on them.  Looking at records later we found a DeHart girl married a Dixon.

We took our pictures, tried to chalk some of the stones so we could read them, but most of them were too old to read or mostly buried.  As we sat there resting and we talking and wondered about their life.  How hard it must have been to have lived in their time.  What hardships they had.  Also we wondered when the last person had been here. There had been no care taken of the cemetery, a fence was still around it but was of barbwire, broken down with trees growing through out weeds, the  undergrowth, and the fallen trees. Kinda [sic] not wanting to leave and knowing we could do no more.  I knew that Abraham DeHart was at rest with some of his family here.

We packed up our pillowcase, went out and shut the little gate or what there was of it.  We looked back now and then until the trees were in the way. We both smiled, got back on the little road again and started up to the top of the hill. In the break of the trees, we  looked out over the mountain still wondering why they settled down in a valley instead of on top.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Another Try!

We join Bonnie and Al again today as they continue to try to find the DeHart Cemetery This is the fourth segment of the story. To read the first three, click on A Dream Come True, This is all DeHart Land,  Civil War Country.


Here we are again going up Main Street and turning to the left on Knobs Road, the one lane road.  With houses on both sides, the winding little road goes up and out of town leaving houses and the town behind.  We continue going up around corners with a home built along the road once in a while.  Trees prevented seeing much once in a while.  Other times, we could look down and see the town in the valley.  Wishing we had a small truck to travel this road, a 26 foot motor home was a little too big for these roads.  After a time we came to our road.  We stopped to talk to Ed Raddcliff again, but he wasn't home so we went on another road to see more of the mountain. We couldn't see much with the trees and the one lane road winding up and down.  We stopped at a house and Al talked to a guy.  He said he knew of the grave yard and there were still head stones there.

So back to Knob's Road we went knowing it had to be there.  We parked at another lane where we'd parked the day before.  There was a house and the people were home.  Al talked to them and told them our story.  They said they knew the graveyard was there.  The house was on a little ridge and you walked out on it, and it was there.

This time a log chain was locked across the drive. We took a pillow case, put in our chalk, two beers, my inhaler and  our camera.  We crossed the chain, walked down the lane lined with trees and came out on the hay field.  We walked across one end of a pond and then made our way to the left to get on the wagon road.  A short way down another chain was across the road so we went walking down the road. To the left was a steep hillside with trees and to our right everything was steep with trees.  Also trees limbs had grown together overhead.  It was cooler this morning. Everything was still.  Going down this and wondering why build down here.  Was it water?  We would never know.  Walking and climbing over downed trees, we came to the turn and we followed the road down and down.  Walking along we could see the cleared fields.  When we came even with the pond, we turned and walked toward where the house had stood.  Starting at where the house had been, we both started walking out on the ridge.  Al was on my left looking under trees. The grass was taller then my waist.  Little burrs stuck to our clothes as we walked.  I had a stick about 5 ft. long parting the grass. We even looked under pine trees, still walking back and forth on this ridge.  Looking ahead I saw a part of a gate with some boards on each side, a fence of sorts.  I called to Al and said, "I think I've found it."  Over he came and as we walked closer we could see some stones.  What we'd hope to find was here.  What a felling it was.  I guess it was coming to see some I knew. My Grandma DeHart Borden was born near here.  There were grandparents here.  While standing here I wondered when if anyone had been here last.  Al said, "This makes our trip."

Friday, May 13, 2016

Civil War Country

For the last several weeks, I have been focusing on the DeHart family.  The posts from May 2 and May 10  have taken a glimpse at the notebook kept by my aunt in 1988, when she and her husband went in search of the original homestead of Abraham DeHart.  They traveled from Oregon to West Virginia on this adventure.  The first two segments can be reviewed in A Dream Come True and This is all DeHart Land.  This post called Civil War Country picks up near the end of their first day to find the DeHart Cemetery. I have also put Aunt Bonnie's journal writing in italics.


We stopped at a gas station and wanted to fill our water tank .  The man that worked there told us to go to his house and fill the tank. Also we could stay the night next to his house. We did fill the tank, but thought we'd go out on the highway on the other side of town.  The road went through the town.  We had spotted a cemetery upon a hill so we found the road up to it.   It also was on a knob.  We drove around the cemetery and stopped to look at the head stones, but we couldn't find any names we were seeking.  As we were walking around we spotted a white fence and wide path leading up to a statue all fenced in so we came down and got on the main highway which lead out of town to the north.  Winding through town a church was on the corner of the road and a parking spot, so we stopped and walked up to the statue.  It was of General Lee.  He had been to Union during the Civil War.  A lot of the war was fought through this part of the country.

(Note from Margie)
Remember my 2nd great grandfather, George Jackson DeHart, and at least 5 of his brothers were Confederate Soldiers of Monroe County.

(Back to the journal)

 We came back and went out north about 2 miles and there was a rest stop so we pulled in for the night.  We could see the Knob's Mountain at a distance.  We made our dinner and watched T.V. for a while. We started talking about our day.  After being at the knobs and talking to people and everyone's story was the same.  The cemetery was not far from where the house was.  The first man said he had played around headstones as a kid.  Ed Raddcliff said all of  Knobs was DeHart land.  He, himself, was born and raised near his own home.  We knew we'd go back to the mountain and look around again.

After waking up and fixing our breakfast, we decided to stop back in town and go into some stores to see what we could find.  We wanted some cards of Union. One little shop had cards with the
word Union printed on it, but there were no cards with pictures of the town.  The drug store didn't have any but it did have a small soda fountain with 3 stools.  The little gal said they didn't open it on Sat.  We told them our story about why we were in Union and she told Al if he wanted stop in later she'd fix him his soda, but not to say where he'd gotten it.  Like any small town everyone we would talk to seemed interested in our story. (The town of Union was there when A. Dehart got his deed of trust on his land in 1824).

So after looking around in Union, taking some photos and talking to a few residents, they go for another try at finding the DeHart Cemetery.  I bet they find it this time. How about you?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"This is all DeHart land"

Our story left off with Bonnie and Al driving up the mountainside to Knob's Road. The first segment of this adventure can be read in A Dream Come True.


So on up we went to the top of this mountain, found our sign, and a house on the corner.  By this time we were about 5 to 6 miles out of town.  We parked and Al went to the door and this man came out.  Al told him who we were and we were looking for the DeHart settlement and cemetery.  And he said, "This is all DeHart land".  "What do you want to know?"

The man's name was Ed Raddcliff and he had lived in his house since 1928, but he was raised over the little Knob where his folks lived.  He had roamed over all the Knob growing up and yes, he knew where the house had been and the cemetery was there along with trees, weeds and still some stones. The last DeHarts to live there were two old maids.  He could remember bringing groceries and stuff out from town and meeting them and giving them theirs.  Then they'd go on home with their things in their wagon.  When one of the women died, she was buried there.  The other one moved away.  The house was made of log and rock or slate.  He couldn't tell us much more.  From his place on Knob's Rd. he told us where to go and then he told Al, he'd take and show him where the house had been.  So down the road he drove about 1/2 mile and went down a dirt road path, across a hayfield, passed a pond and to the edge of timber looking down into a valley.  A highline runs through the trees now and looking down into the valley, you could see what was left of a house.  He showed Al where the road started to go down to the house.  So back to the motorhome they came.  Al thanked the old man and off we went to find what we'd hoped to see.

 Down the road we went, found a place to park and started walking down this road or lane. Trees were on both sides and over top.  We walked and came out on a clearing of maybe 30 or 40 acres.  We crossed a road at the edge of a pond and then went across a hayfield that had been cut.  We were walking kinda uphill.  As we were walking, a young deer came out of the timber and kept looking at us.  As we kept walking he still kept coming and watching us.  As we crossed the hayfield to our left a wagon road started to go down to where we wanted to go.  We found the road and not far ahead was a locked gate. Over we went.  The road was a dirt wagon road halfway or so up this Virginia mountain. The road was cut out and steep above. Trees were on both sides, over our heads and rock or shale cliffs along the side.  The road went down and then it made a turn and went back the other way like a switch back on a mountain road.  As we were walking along there were trees fallen down. We crawled under. Of course it was a dirt road with vines crawling up the trees with huge leaves on them. 

Now this is a walk in the woods!

 As we walked along we were thinking, "Why did they live down here when they could have lived at the top. Why?" There was a lot of clearing down here, maybe 20 acres. An old run down barn was away from the house ruins.  We walked to where the house had stood.  A pipe stuck out of the ground. I had a stick which Al had broke off for me to use for  walking. It was about 5 ft. long.  The pipe was free, so we thought it had been a cave next to the house.  The fireplace had been out of some rock and roughly 3 ft. It was still there.

Now this Ed Raddcliff said the cemetery was there but with trees and weeds, where do we start looking? We looked under trees and through weeds.  I took my stick and pushed at the weeds.  We looked every where we could and still couldn't find our cemetery.  Al went one way and I went another.  We couldn't find it.  After a few hours and with very high temperatures we felt real bad we could not find the cemetery that we thought would be here.

So we started back up our wagon trail.  We'd found where the house had been but really disappointed about the cemetery.  We took lots of pictures of the valley and mountains in the distance. We wondered what had been cleared years ago in the 1800's. Abraham DeHart's deed of trust was from 1824.  Back on the wagon road, we walked out, over the locked gate, across the hayfield, down our little dirt lane and to the motor home.  It was hot but looked so good.  We started our way down off Knobs Mountain on the one lane winding road and found a rest stop outside of Union.


I am sure they were very disappointed not to be able to find that cemetery. Whatever will they do next? Traveling across the entire country to only find weeds and trees. Stayed tuned. The story is not over.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 8

Recently, I was reading from Dr. Bill's diary posts taken from his mothers journal mentioning VE Day on May 8, 1945. Juxtapose this with a photo sorting session, and I have the formula for today's post.

I was only a few months old in 1945 so my memory of that day is a bit fuzzy. However, my memory 40 years later, May 8, 1985 is clear as a bell. (You do know when writing, you should avoid cliches like the plague...but I digress.)

In 1985 I was on my first of several student exchanges in France. My host, Noelle, and I went to the Champs Elysee for the celebration of the 40th anniversary of Victory in Europe. What a fabulous experience to see the Champs Elysee without traffic, a gendarme (policemen) standing at attention every few yards, and tri colored flags flying everywhere.

This is the photo I came across in that sorting session. It isn't a fantastic photo, but should give a little of the feel of that day.

And now it is 31 years later. Life has been good to me!

May 8, 1985
40th Anniversary of Victory in Europe

Friday, May 6, 2016

Mother's Day (a few days early)....In loving memory - Grandma Doris and Grandma Margaret

My five grandchildren lost their great-grandmother September 26, 2015. I have spoken of her frequently on this blog (see May 1 and 2, 1930 or Friday's Feature-Doris Tolsdorf) but had not posted her obituary until now. For three of these grandchildren she was their last great grandmother.

Our other two grandchildren still had their last remaining great- grandmother until January 2016. These were both extraordinary women who lived long full lives. One lived 97 years plus a few months and the other one was closing in on 100. One never lived more than 10 miles from where she was born. The other rubbed elbows with the Capones and danced with Donald O'Conner. One was country and the other city. They both lived many, many decades as a single woman.  Similarities and  differences, but they shared great-grandchildren. What traits might those great- grandchildren have inherited. Time will tell.  What we do know is that they are both missed.


Monday, May 2, 2016

A Dream Come True

When my cousin dropped off my Aunt Bonnie's files, I did not anticipate finding this story in one of her notebooks.  This is what she wrote in her notebook about a trip she took to find the old DeHart place in West Virginia in 1988.  I will try to transcribe it as closely as I can, but there are just some spellings, expressions, and sentences I will have to modify. There are many, many pages so I will share the story in segments.


A dream come true - we're on our way to the place my grandma was born. I've been finding out some things from the Historical Society and was sent maps and other information about the DeHart settlement and cemetery on Knobs Mt. outside Union, West Virginia.  So in June of 1988 my husband, Al, and I drove out to see what we could find.

Our trip was going fine and at Beckley, W.V. we got on the turnpike which would take us to highway 219 and we'd go south 20 miles and come to our town of Union. But, the turnpike didn't open until the 15th of July so they told us the highway we should take was #3.  As we only had 50 miles to Union, we knew it wouldn't take long.  As we left the town of Beckley, we didn't think the highway would be as bad since the highest Mt. is only 5,000 ft.  We started our short trip to Union only to find the road, our half isn't quite as wide as our motor home. Not only was it a narrow road but it was up and down and on further a sign pointing straight left and we'd get around the curve and another sign would be pointing straight right.  Timber lined both sides of the road with a little town every few miles, small towns that had been there forever with fences coming up to the road.  I took a few pictures as we thought Union would be older than what we were seeing. 

As we'd come to the bridges, they were all one lane bridges When we came to Highway 219 going up to Union, it was a good wide highway, anyway wide enough for our motorhome.

We got into the town of Union at about 11:00 a.m., on Friday, July 2, 1988.  Still a one street small town, but more up to date then we'd seen since we'd left Beckley.  We went to the Historical Society, and it was closed.  The man had gone to Charlotte to see his family. So here we are.  How do we know how to find the DeHart place?  The map I had didn't say what road or how far out.  We found the Watchman's Newspaper office and we walked in. It was an office like you'd see in the old western movies.  The editor wasn't there but would be back soon, the gal said.  So we walked  down a block or two and then went back, and he was there.  We told him our story and why we were there.  He didn't know much but we showed him our map and he said if we'd go up the main street and Knob's Road would go off to the left.  Follow it and it would take us up to where we wanted to go.  Also he said it was a one lane blacktop road going up and a winding road, but he thought we could make it O.K.  So we start out to find the Knob's Rd. sign, make our left, and start out and up.  Of course near town there are lots of houses and as we go higher, there are fewer houses.  Of course we have more trees the higher we go, more curves and up and down hills.  As we get out a few miles, we meet speeding cars coming down.  We have one tire on the blacktop road and one on the edge of the road.  There's a shop of sorts and we pull into the driveway.

A car was getting ready to leave with a couple of young men in it. Al told them we were looking for the DeHart land.  One of the men told him to keep going up and we'd come to Knob's Road and his uncle or great uncle lived on the corner. He could tell us what we wanted to know.

(to be continued)...........................................................................

Will they find the DeHart place? Will they end up in a situation like in the movie Deliverance? These ups and downs on the mountain roads, the thick timber, and the desolate nature of the area are making me nervous. Well, maybe I exaggerate just a little.