Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Prosit Neujahr!

My Mom's father immigrated to Canada from an area of Russia that is now Ukraine. Her mother's parents also immigrated to Canada from the same area of Russia. Even though, they lived in Russia, they considered themselves German and left Russia only when Tsar Alexander III made it illegal to teach their children in German schools and worship their God in German churches. My Mom's parents spoke German at home, and only started speaking English after their oldest child, Ruth, went to school and could not speak English.

So I though it would be interesting to explore some of the traditions German-speaking people use to celebrate New Year's Day. After reading about several traditions, I believe this one is my favorite:  the "Feuerzangenbowle" (flaming fire tongs punch). Sounds lethal! Part of the popularity of the "Feuerzangenbowle" is based on a classic novel of the same name by Heinrich Spoerl (1887-1955) and the 1944 film version starring the popular German actor Heinz Ruhmann. The main ingredients for the hot punch drink are red wine, rum, oranges, lemons, cinnamon and cloves.

Heinz Ruhmann in 1937

3 bottles of red wine (2 or 3 liters total)
2 cinnamon sticks
dash of cardamom
dash of allspice
1 or 2 oranges
1 or 2 lemons
5 cloves
1 sugar cone (sugar cubes may be substituted)
1 bottle rum

 In a large pot or kettle filled with red wine, add cinnamon sticks, cardamom, and allspice. Cut up the oranges and lemons (optional: make peel spirals), crush fruit to release the juice, and add to the punch along with the cloves. Warm to a steaming mixture. Do not boil!

Place a German sugar cone (Zuckerhut, sugar loaf)* on a metal rack/screen or clamped in metal tongs above the warm punch. (Substitute sugar cubes if you can't get a Zuckerhut.) Slowly pour high-proof rum over the Zuckerhut or sugar cubes and let soak for a minute. Carefully light the Zuckerhut or sugar cubes and let the flaming sugar carmelize and drip into the punch mix. Add rum as needed to keep the flame going until the Zuckerhut process is done. Serve the punch hot in mugs or hot-tea glasses. (Note: Traditionally, Feuerzangenbowle was prepared with the Zuckerhut sitting on crossed swords atop the pot.

Feuerzangenbowle with the German sugar cone aflame. Photo courtesy of www.teutonia-duisburg.de

Monday, December 30, 2013

"Pocahontas Alias Metoaka and Her Descendants" and Its Author

I've written about Google Play before and what a terrific tool it can be for genealogy research. When researching my sister-in-law's Bermuda Tucker line, I discovered that St George Tucker (1752-1827) married Francis (Bland) Randolph, the widow of John Randolph, of the famous Virginia Randolphs, one of the "first families of Virginia." The Randolphs are related to Thomas Jefferson, Robert E Lee, and Benjamin Harrison to name but a few famous personages. I also had a vague recollection that the Randolphs were related to Jane Rolfe, the granddaughter of Matoaka, the Native American princess, better known as Pocahontas(1).

Matoaka "Pocahontas" also known as Rebecca Rolfe, engraving by Simon van de Passe, courtesy of Wikipedia

I started searching the Internet for confirmation of the Randolph-Pocahontas connection and found it in this wonderful book by Wyndham Robertson written in 1887:

Wyndam Robertson's 1887 book includes seven generations of Pocahontas Descendants

The book included seven generations of Pocahontas descendants, including Wyndham Robertson (1803-1888) himself. Robertson included a delightful declaration of love by John Rolfe:

"Pocahontas…to whom my hartie and best thoughts are, and have long bin so entangled and inthralled in so intricate a laborinth, that I was even awearied to unwinde myselfe thereout." 

Robertson was the acting governor of Virginia from 1836 to 1837. As senior member of the Council of State, he was also Lt Governor when Governor Littleton Waller Tazewell resigned the office.  At the time the legislature elected the governor and it was controlled by the Whigs so Robertson was not returned to office in 1837. After his term was over he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates several times and was in that office during Virginia's struggles over secession from the Union. Robertson was a staunch Unionist and tried to prevent secession. 

Wyndham Robertson, painting by Louis Mathieu Didier Guillaume and  courtesy of Wikipedia

When Abraham Lincoln made his call for troops on April 15, 1861, Wyndham Robertson became "zealously active in all measures in defense of his state." After the Civil War he served on the Committee of Nine, which sought Virginia's readmission into the Union. After long and faithful service to Virginia, he retired and wrote his genealogy book. He died on February 11, 1888, and is buried at Cobbs, Virginia.

He later said about his service to his state during the Civil War:

"And now, after twenty years of experience of yet unripened results, I have no regrets, nor repent a single act of my State, or myself, in these unhappy affairs -- welcoming the end of slavery, but still believing it would have been reached without the horrors of war."

And this is yet another reason I love old books so much -- not only are the subjects of the books fascinating so are their authors.

(1) Metoaka "Pocahontas" Rebecca Rolfe is the third great grandmother of Frances (Bland) Randolph Tucker, the wife of St George Tucker, my sister-in-law's third cousin six times removed.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Thirty-two Children!

Henry Crawford Tucker, Jr, is the 4th great uncle of my sister-in-law. An article I found on Ancestry.com had this to say about him:

Elder Henry Crawford Tucker by Blanche Pitts Smith

Few men have ever made as much of a contribution to any community as Henry Crawford Tucker made to Colquitt County [Georgia] -- he was the father of thirty-two children and the grandfather of at least 184. Helping him to achieve that great feat were three strong and noble women: Nancy Sapp, whom he married in 1824 and who was the mother of the eight oldest children; Margaret Watson, whom he married in 1842 and who gave birth to 11 children; and Rebecca Bryant, his third wife, whom he married in 1857 and who was the mother of 13 children.

Rebecca (Bryant) and Henry Crawford Tucker

Henry Crawford was born between 1793 and 1805 in Laurens County, Georgia, the son of Elisha Tucker and Sarah Hunter.(1) He grew to manhood in Montgomery County, Georgia, and married Nancy Sapp in 1824 in that county. About 1825 he moved his growing family to Irwin County. In 1836 he joined the state militia to help defend Georgia against the warring Creek Indians. He was elected captain of his company and served with credit and distinction for the duration of that war.

After the uprising was quelled, Henry Crawford Tucker returned home and was soon ordained an Elder in the Primitive Baptist Church. He helped form and served as pastor of Sardis Church from January 1840 well into 1843. For the next forty plus years, Henry Crawford Tucker preached the gospel every Sunday in some Primitive Baptist church in either Colquitt, Brooks, Thomas, or Berrien counties. During all those years of his ministry, he never received one dollar in payment.

Sardis Primitive Baptist Church. Photo by W. A. Covington, courtesy of "History of Colquitt County" 1837

Family stories say that although far from handsome, Henry Crawford had sparkling blue eyes and a very charming personality. Wherever he went, people crowded around, for he was such a pleasure to listen to and talk with.

Henry Crawford never held public office. The only time he ever served Colquitt County in any official way was as its representative to the Secession Convention in Milledgeville in 1861, where he signed the Ordinance of Secession.

Ordinance of Secession

The land in Irwin County where Tucker made his home was taken into Thomas County when that new county was created. Henry Crawford continued to acquire land until he had a vast holding, containing thousands of acres.

During his seventeen year marriage to Nancy Sapp, they became parents of eight children. Nancy died in July 1841 and was buried at Old Bethel Church cemetery in present day Brooks County.

Ten months later, Henry married Margaret "Peggy" Watson on 10 May 1842 in Thomas County. Together they had 11 children. Margaret died about 1856 and was buried at Bridge Creek Cemetery.

In 1856 Colquitt County was created and Henry Crawford Tucker's land was cut into that new county. The large double-pen log house that he had built many years earlier was quickly outgrown. He had a total of 18 sons and 14 daughters. To accommodate such a great number of sons, Henry Crawford built a dormitory behind the house, furnished with homemade bunk beds and sawdust on the dirt floor, where the boys slept. At one time, there were 9 sons sleeping there.

Henry Crawford Tucker Log House and Farmstead, National Register of Historic Places. Photo by Ed Jackson

James Solomon, the 16th child, told a story about an event he remembered from his youth: When he was about 14 years old his father told him to meet him with the wagon at noon the next day at the spring head. Henry Crawford Tucker left the next morning before daylight and when James arrived at the spring head, his father had already killed and skinned four deer. They loaded the deer into the wagon and the family had fresh meat for awhile.

Henry Crawford Tucker married Rebecca Bryant on 9 February 1857. She was born in 1834 in Georgia, the daughter of Timothy Bryant. They had 13 children.

In 1883 in his eighties, Henry Crawford Tucker was still a remarkably vigorous man in both mind and body. Had he not suffered a terrible accident, he would probably have lived many more years. The old preacher was on his way into Moultrie one winter morning when his horse became frightened and bolted. Henry was thrown from the buggy and became entangled in one of the wheels, which had to be removed to extract him. He died from the injuries soon afterward on 2 February 1883. He was buried in Bridge Creek Cemetery. When Rebecca, his widow died in 1909, she, too, was buried at Bridge Creek.

On 24 July 1995, a monument marking the grave of Henry Crawford Tucker was unveiled and dedicated. Numerous Tucker descendants had contributed money for its purchase and were present for the service. Blanche Pitts Smith, great-great-granddaughter, had researched the Tucker family for years and was a speaker at the dedication ceremony, telling the story of Henry Crawford Tucker and reading the list of all his children's names. The monument, which replaced the original homemade, crumbling marker of this remarkable man, will be treasured for many generations to come.

Henry Crawford Monument, erected in 1995

Henry Crawford Tucker was a second cousin to Colonel Henry Tucker (1713-1787) of Bermuda. Colonel Tucker's children went on to become U.S. Treasurer, Justice on the Virginia Supreme Court, and father of a director of the East India Company. I wonder if Henry Crawford and his Georgia relations knew any of this.

Children of Henry Crawford and Nancy (Sapp) Tucker:
  • Mahala (1824-1847) married Ezekiel Watson
  • George Washington (1825-1904) married 1st Telitha Watson, 2nd Delila Rhodes
  • Matthew (1827-1909) married 1st Nancy Watson, 2nd Elizabeth "Betsy" Gay
  • Elijah (1829-1841)
  • Daniel (1831-1839)
  • John (1833-1919) married Susan Ann Stephenson
  • Richard Murphy (1835-1913) married Civility America Hancock
  • Henry Sapp (1837-1864) married Abigail McClendon
Children of Henry Crawford and Margaret "Peggy" (Watson) Tucker:
  • Mary Ann (1843-1902) married 1st Thomas Stephenson, 2nd John Sellers
  • Martha (1846-1905) married Glenn Suber
  • Malinda (1847-1848)
  • Jane (1847-1912) married Samuel Sellers
  • Elizabeth "Bettie" (1848-1923) married John D Hancock
  • Susannah (1850-1855)
  • Hiram H (1851-1915) married Margarette Elfair "Ellen" Howard
  • James Solomon (1853-1936) married Susan E Murphy
  • Sophronia (1854-1899) married Leonard Eugene West
  • Margaret (1855- ) married Asa M Abbot
  • Isaac (1856-1900) married Louisa Matilda Horne
Children of Henry Crawford and Rebecca (Bryant) Tucker:
  • Joel Bryant (1857-1917) married Elizabeth Wood
  • Ancell Parrish (1859-1922) married 1st Martha J Murphy, 2nd Mary Josephine Sellers
  • Ivey Elisha (1860-1931) married 1st Rebecca Jane Ammons, 2nd Violet Jean Flemming
  • Joseph Emerson Brown (1861-1900) married Elizabeth West
  • Noah Francis (1863-1928) married Mary Frances Weaver
  • Sara Ann America (1864-1895) married James K West
  • Benjamin Ashburn (1865-1935) married 1st America Jane Barwick, 2nd Rebecca Jane Mathis
  • Catherine (1866-1883)
  • Rhoda Emmaline (1867-1893) married Marshall Harvey Huey
  • Polliana (1869-1876)
  • William Jasper Davis (1870-1928) married Marth Ann Sloan
  • Ezekiel Washington (1872-1927) married 1st Stacey Curles, 2nd Mickey Culpepper
  • Louisiana (1874-1954) married Gibson Sellers
(1) This is incorrect. His father was Henry Crawford, Sr (1752-1832) and his mother was Sarah "Sallie" Hunter (1770-1847).  Henry Crawford, Jr had a brother named Elisha Tucker (1808-1880). 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Merry Christmas

We look a little old for the children's table, but that's where we were on Christmas 1983.

John, Ted, Dawn, Joyce and Schalene Jennings

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

The idea for this post came from Geneabloggers.com.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Shot in the Line of Duty

Today I am remembering my sister-in-law's recently discovered fifth cousin once removed. Robert Quincy Tucker was a police officer with the Jacksonville Police Department. On Christmas Eve 1952, he was shot and killed while transporting a man to jail, who was arrested for motor vehicle theft. The suspect produced a gun from beneath his shirt and shot officer Tucker, killing him instantly. Another officer, who was following Tucker's patrol car, subdued the suspect when he fled from car and tried to get into another car that was stopped at a traffic light.

Robert Quincy Tucker, was 27 years old at the time of his death

The suspect was convicted and executed in the electric chair on April 18, 1955.

Robert Quincy Tucker Obituary

Monday, December 23, 2013

Out of Africa: The Hippopotamus Hunt

Homer Bailey went to Kenya, then known as British East Africa, with his missionary parents in 1920 and returned as a missionary years later with his own family. Near the end of his life, he wrote an autobiography of sorts that to my knowledge was never published. I was lucky enough to track down a copy several months ago.  This is the story of hunting hippopotamus, which was not a sport at the time. People used many parts of the animal for daily living as well as for food.

During the dark of night we found our way to a landing on Lake Victoria. We found it necessary to wait for our boatmen as they had not arrived. It was a miserable wait; the place was inhabited by a million or so mosquitoes. The boatmen were members of the Joluo tribe and we could not understand their language. Our host spoke Swahili, so we communicated to the others through him.

Following the leader, we trudged, at times stumbling, along a narrow root-obstructed path until we finally emerged at the waterfront. We were led to a boat and we all climbed into a large log-type of canoe. The boatmen pushed off and they paddled their way out about a hundred yards. They dropped whatever they used as an anchor over the side and we waited in silence until dawn.

Quite early that morning we noticed our seats were placed very low down in the water, obviously for stability. We could see places where repairs had been made to some damaged areas. It was from these stitches, that water was seeping into our craft, creeping higher. To keep our posteriors dry, some of us found it necessary to man the pumps. These pumps turned out to be half sections of dried gourd. 

Four men worked the paddles -- two in front, two aft. Not a ripple marred the mirror-smooth surface of the lake as far as the eye could see. We had raisin bread for lunch and shared it with the Joluo boatmen. It was rather amusing to see them stealthily slip the raisins out and over the side of the canoe. Apparently they had never before seen such large bugs or insects in the bread.

Successful hippopotamus hunt. Photo courtesy of KenyaList.com

The sun had begun its descent when we spotted what could be a hippopotamus.  As quietly as possible, we floated forward. All that was visible were two widely space eyes. As we floated nearer we could see an inch or so of the head. By this time we were convinced that it was indeed a big hippopotamus and it seemed to be keeping us under surveillance trying to figure out if we were friend of foe. Should it make up its mind too early, it could easily submerge and move away.

Try to imagine a target of perhaps an inch some fifty yards away. If you shoot low, the water will cause the bullet to deflect. Should your aim be high, you will have lost your opportunity. It is no small trick in a canoe with such a small target. You have just one chance or it is gone for good.

The guns blazed away, shattering the still, quiet afternoon. The object out in the lake suddenly submerged. But that is really too mild a term for the waters boiled up all muddy as the colossus thrashed about. For several minutes the activity was furious. Gradually the furious struggling ceased, the muddy waters became calm.

Huberta, South Africa's famous hippopotamus. Photo courtesy of Listverse.com

In an old log canoe, far from new, one would hardly want to be over the place where an angry hippo came to the surface. It seemed best to stay well back for awhile and let the animal make the next move. I cannot say exactly how long we waited but eventually that great big old water hog came up before our eyes, feet first. A cheer rang out from all onboard the canoe. The paddles now really went to work. We came along side of this immense thing. One of the men took out his knife, making an opening to which we could tie a tow line. Having secured the line to our canoe, we turned about for the trip back to the landing. A very slow trip it was.

Back at the shore, we were met by a veritable throng of local citizens. Word had got out fast. This good fortune could only result in a great feed for one and all. Without a moment's delay, they all waded in and we soon had that one-ton monster on land. Knives, handmade, long, short sharp or dull, were carving that porker. I kept wondering if someone might get hurt -- there were a lot of knives. It was a free for all. I was surprised to see some of the people eating the pork on the spot, raw. Now to me that was just a bit too rare.

It turned out to have been quite a day, the day we got our hippopotamus and fed the village.

NOTE:  Previous "Out of Africa" posts:
  1. Doctor Livingstone, I Presume
  2. The Kikuyu
  3. The Eland Hunt

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Forefather's Day

Since 1769 there have been celebrations of the Pilgrims' arrival in Plymouth on December 21, 1620. In adjusting to the Gregorian calendar, the Forefather's Day holiday was erroneously established on December 22.

Plymouth Rock

In researching the Amsberry family, I learned that Mary "Polly" Everett of Vermont married William Allen Amsberry on May 13, 1823, in Mason County, Virginia. Mason County became part of West Virginia in 1862 when West Virginia became a state. Mary likely moved to what is now West Virginia with her parents, Francis and Sally (Franklin) Everett circa 1819.  According to the Elial Foote papers, several families moved from New York to Virginia "on the great Kanawaha River."

Mary "Polly" (Everett) Amsberry

At the age of 64, Mary and her husband and Matthew Amsberry, presumed to be a son, were living in Marion County, Iowa. She remained there until her death in 1865. She is buried at the Coal Ridge Community Church cemetery, which is also now a museum.

There are also tantalizing references to Mary (Everett) Amsberry, being a descendant of a Mayflower passenger, but I have yet to discover the link.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

United Flight 129

Eugene Kimbrough Swallow was born about 1920 in Alabama. He was the youngest of three children and his father, Walter, rented the land on which he farmed. Sometime before 1930 the family moved to Illinois, living in Du Quoin, Peoria, and Galesburg. In 1930 his father was a mineral broker and in 1940, he was a coal loader. Brokering minerals appeared to have become a side business.

On August 25, 1942, Eugene Swallow married Virginia Louise Colvin, my fifth cousin once removed. They married in Greenwich, Connecticut, and by 1950 had three children of their own.

Eugene K Swallow, photo courtesy of swallow13984, Ancestry.com member

Eugene was a United Airlines pilot. At 6:07 p.m. on April 28, 1951, Captain Swallow, along with his first officer, a flight attendant, and eight passengers, departed Cleveland, Ohio, in a DC-3 aircraft for Chicago, Illinois, with stops scheduled at Fort Wayne and South Bend, Indiana. At 6:47 p.m. the flight reported over Toledo, Ohio, and estimated its arrival at   Fort Wayne at 7:32 p.m. Nineteen miles out, it reported in and was advised runway 22 was being used that evening and that winds were 5 to 10 miles per hour from the southwest.

DC-3 aircraft, photograph courtesy of Massey Air Museum

Seconds later, due to a thunderstorm, winds had shifted to west-northwest and increased in velocity to 40 miles per hour. The tower notified the crew of UA 129 to use runway 127. When the plane was east of the airport, the wind increased to 60 to 65 miles per hour, with gusts to 85, and heavy rainfall began, accompanied by lightening and severe static. The flight crew was advised of the change in weather. Due to low visibility, their landing approach was aborted.

At 7:32 p.m. the DC-3 struck the ground in a near level attitude. The plane broke up and the main wreckage came to rest in a wooded area several hundred feet from the initial impact zone. The International Civil Aviation Organization's Aircraft Accident Digest No. 2 Circular 24-AN/21 (95-98) stated the probable cause of the crash was "the severe downdraft which caused the craft to strike the ground in near level attitude."

The next day the Salt Lake Tribune article about the crash included an eyewitness report:

"Henry Facks, a farmer living near the scene, told a reporter the crash occurred during a severe windstorm. He said he saw the plane flip over in the air from about 1000 feet and plunge to the earth. Facks said he had gone out to see if his farm buildings were being damaged by the wind when he heard the low-flying plane."

27 June 2014 Update:  I received a message via Ancestry.com from Eugene Kimbrough Swallow's daughter-in-law.  She provided a few corrections:
  • Eugene Kimbrough Swallow was born on 23 September 19191 in Gallion, Alabama. He was named for Judge Kimbrough, who hired Eugene's father as the overseer on his plantation new Gallion.
  • Eugene was the second of three children:  Walter Calhoun Swallow, Jr.; Eugene Kimbrough Swallow; and Winifred or Winefred Swallow.
  • His parents were Walter Calhoun Swallow and Winifred MacLeod.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trial of Henry St. George Tucker, Esquire

Henry St George Tucker (1771-1851) was the fourth cousin five times removed of my sister-in-law. He was English from a line of Tuckers that had settled in Bermuda since the early 1600s. His father, Henry Tucker, was the oldest son of Colonel Henry Tucker, a powerful merchant on the island. His mother, Frances Bruere, was the daughter of the longest serving royal governor, George James Bruere.

Henry St George Tucker was sent to England in 1781. A few years later he became a midshipman on an East India Company ship. His uncle got him a job in the British colonial government of India, and he eventually became the accountant-general of the colony under Sir George Barlow. In 1826 he was appointed a director of the East India Company. He resigned in April 1851, a few short months before his death.

It all sounds like a fairly typical career for a wealthy son of a powerful family.  But on December 10, 1806, Henry was convicted of attempted rape and assault in India, and sentenced to six months imprisonment and a 4,000 rupee fine. There was a book written of the trial transcript:

Henry St George Tucker trial transcript

The trial took place at Fort William in Calutta. The victim was the wife of his business partner.(1)  The counsel for the prosecution began his case:

"This is a case of no common kind, whether you consider the rank of the parties, their relative situation, or the enormity of the offense. It must startle you to hear a gentleman of this society charged with endeavoring to violate the chastity of a woman of honor by force, and to commit rape upon the wife of one of his most intimate friends. -- Would, for the honor of human nature, that this were all a fiction; but you will find it too true, and I may venture to pronounce, that every fact that I shall state will be fully proved by the testimony of a lady of unblemished character; whose veracity you cannot doubt, who can have no interest but in the truth, no inducement on earth to frame such a story, no motive to fix it, when framed, upon the prisoner; and whose delicacy and timidity had nearly induced her to suffer the criminal to escape rather than appear in this Court as prosecutrix."

Fort William, Calcutta, Kingdom of Bengal, India

The judge, Sir Henry Russell, passed the sentence:

"You have been indicted for an assault with intent to commit rape, and in a second count, for a common assault. After a long, patient and impartial trial…after such a trial, and after a most minute and accurate charge to the jury, in which not one observation that could fairly be made in your favor was omitted; I say, after such a trial, and such a charge, you have been found guilty of the indictment…It is now my duty to pronounce the sentence of the Court; and I think it necessary to inform you, that in limiting the extent of the punishment to be inflicted on you, we have been guided more by the lenity of the precedents to be found in English Courts, than by any circumstances of mitigation in your case. The sentence is: "That you pay a fine to the King of 4,000 rupees; that you be imprisoned in the Common Gaol of Calcutta for the space of six months; and that you be further imprisoned until you fine is paid."

While a few other history books called the conviction a scandal, it certainly did not seem to impact his career in any way. Writing in 1854, John William Kaye, did not even mention the trial in his book, "The Life and Correspondence of  Henry St George Tucker."

(1) Before becoming accountant-general of the colony, Henry had left government service to become head of the trading company Trail, Palmer and Company. Dorothea Simpson's husband was also a partner in the firm.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Soddy Profiles: Darius Amsberry

The Illustrated History of Nebraska, History of Nebraska from the Earliest Explorations to the Present time with Portraits, Maps and Tables, Volume III,  by Albert Watkins, PhD, and published in 1913 was another fabulous find on Google Play. I found a biographical sketch of an Amsberry ancestor, who was mover-and-shaker in Custer County, Nebraska.

Darius Matthew Amsberry, educator, editor, and receiver of the United States land office, Broken Bow, was born in Marion County, Iowa, near the town of Knoxville September 10, 1851. His paternal great grandfather came from England to America. His grandfather, William Amsberry, was a native of New York, removed to Mason County, West Virginia, married Polly Everett, and during the Mexican War served in the United States Army. One of his children was William F. Amsberry, born in Mason County, West Virginia, in 1821. In 1847 he settled in Marion County, Iowa, talking up a homestead near Pella on the Des Moines river, and married Harriet A. Brown, born in West Virginia. Her father was of Irish descent and her mother of the Kimberling family of England. For some years William F. Amsberry was engaged in the sawmill and lumber business at Coalport, Iowa, and from that place moved to Nebraska in 1879, and became the owner of 320 acres in the Muddy valley, Custer county. He died in 1886 and his wife died at their Nebraska home in 1895. They had reared a family of seven children, one of whom is Darius M. Amsberry.

Until the latter was sixteen years old, he attended the public schools of Iowa, and for three years attended the Central University. In February 1874, he became a settler in Hall County, Nebraska. He taught school in all for sixty-four terms, forty-nine of which were spent in Nebraska. For six years he was superintendent of schools for Custer county. As county superintendent of schools he organized 170 school districts. He held the first teachers' institute in the county in a mill building, which was not completed, at Westerville, in April 1882, and in 1883, the institute was held at Broken Bow. The first institute was of three days duration, the second of one week, and the next was organized as a normal institute and lasted six weeks. These institutes established by Mr. Amsberry have since been continued by his successors.

For twenty-three years, he has been editor and publisher of the Broken Bow Republican. He also served for some years as justice of the peace in Custer county. Mr. Amsberry is a member of the Masonic order, the Ancient Order of United Workmen, the Modern Brotherhood of America, the Royal Highlanders, and the Nebraska Press Association, and he has held office in all of them. He has been chosen a deacon in the Baptist church for more than a quarter of a century, and vice president of the Nebraska Baptist state convention for four years, and is vice president of the board of trustees of the Grand Island Baptist College.

Grand Island Baptist College circa 1910. Photograph courtesy of the JournalStar.com

He was married April 8, 1875, to Evaline Greenlee of Corydon, Iowa, and six children have been born to them: Minnie M. Clay, wife of J. W. Clay; Lorin W.; Anna R. Foote, wife of Carl Foote; Lillie H.; and Jessie, the latter dying in infancy. Minnie and Anna are graduates of the Broken Bow high school and were school teachers before their marriage. William, the eldest son, is an agent of the Adams Express Company at Deadwood, South Dakota. Lorin W. is a printer and pressman, and Lillie H. is attending school at the Grand Island Baptist College.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Soddy Profiles: Perry Marvin Dady

A Soddy, or Soddie, is somone who lived in house built of sod, usually the early settlers of the Great Plains states. Several of my Beard ancestors settled in Custer County, Nebraska, in the late 1880s. Many of them lived in sod houses when they first homesteaded land.

I first found this photograph on Ancestry.com. I believe it is very unusual for the time as the family typically went to the photographer instead of the other way around. It is a photograph of the Perry Marvin Dady family in their parlor.

Courtesy of cfm1151, Ancestry.com member

The women: On the far left is Ellen Josephine (Beard) Dady (1859-1936), standing on the far left is Monna Ruth Dady (1893-1936), the little girl between the men is Lorene Josphine Dady (1902-1980), to the right of Lorene, next to the piano (or organ) is Jennie Florilla Dady (1886-1965), seated at the piano (or organ) is Myrtle Grace Dady (1897-1997).

The men: On the far right with legs crossed is Perry Marvin Dady (1859-1942); the four young men seated, from left to right are:  Harry Leslie Dady (1895-1990), Guy Dady (1892-1971), Otis Marvin Dady (1888-1944), and Perl Spencer Dady (1885-1940)

The framed photograph to the left is of William Ennis Beard (1818-1864) and Almyra Parish (Amsberry) Beard (1829-1888), Ellen Josephine's parents. The framed photograph over the piano (or organ) is of Spencer Dady II (1835-1890) and Adelaide (Wible) Dady (1840-1904), Perry Marvin Dady's parents.

A few weeks later, on Google Play, I found a book with the unwieldy title, "History of Custer County, Nebraska: a Narrative of the Past with Special Emphasis upon the Pioneer Period of the County's History, Its Social, Commercial, Educational, Religious, and Civic Development from the Early Days to the present time," by W L Gaston and A R Humphrey. It was published in 1919. It included a biographical sketch of Perry Marvin Dady:

Perry M Dady whose residence in Custer county covers a period of more than thirty-six years, is now classed among the well-to-do men of the Mason City community. This fact shows him to be another one of Custer county’s agriculturalists who in their careers have exemplified with force the true western spirit of self-made manhood, for when he came to this state in 1882 his worldly possessions amounted to next to nothing and throughout his career he has been called upon to depend wholly upon his own abilities and energies.

Mr. Dady was born on a farm in Mason county, Illinois, March 9, 1859, and is a son of Spencer and Adelaide (Wible) Dady. His father, a native of Pennsylvania, was born in 1835, and as a young man went to Mason county, Illinois, where he started life without assets save those represented by his inherent qualities, and where he gained some small success. He there married Adelaide Wible, who was born in Illinois in 1840, and several years later they moved to Iowa, where Mr. Dady became the owner of a farm.

Perry M Dady received his education in the public schools of Illinois and Iowa, and was reared to farming, a vocation which he adopted for his life work. He was twenty-three years old when he came to Custer county in 1882, and pre-empted a homestead, which forms a part of his present farm. At that time the property was destitute of improvements of any kind, and Mr. Dady lived at first in a dug-out and later in a “soddy,” experiencing at the same time all other inconveniences and hardships which the early settlers were called upon to face. As the years passed, however, he began to secure  results from his hard labor, he added to his equipment and gradually began to erect buildings, of which he now has the full set, modern, well-constructed, attractive and in perfect repair. In every way his property shows the presence of industry and good management . Mr. Dady carries on general farming and raises thoroughbred Red Polled cattle and Poland-China hogs. He has been successful in both departments of his farm enterprise. He has accumulated 440 acres of valuable land and in so doing has at all times maintained his reputation as a man of sterling integrity and business straightforwardness.
Perry Marvin Dady and his wife, Ellen Josephine (Beard) Dady
In 1882 Mr. Dady was united in marriage to Miss Ellen J Beard, who was born in Marion county, Iowa, a daughter of Adam Beard, who died while serving as a Union soldier during the Civil War. Mr. and Mrs. Dady are the parents of eight children: Perl S, who has a claim in the sand hills of Cherry county, Nebraska; Jennie, who is the wife of Oscar Ruyan, a clerk in Mason City, Nebraska; Otis M, who assists his father in operating part of the home farm; Guy W, who is in the national army and in service in France at the time of this writing; and Monna R, Harry L, Myrtle G, and Lorene J, who are all residing with their parents. The family belongs to the Baptist church, which they attend in Mason City. Mr. Dady maintains an independent stand as to political questions,  and has not been an active politician, although on several occasions he has served efficiently in the capacity of town clerk.

I love finding these old books online. I learn so many interesting things about the early years of our Nation and I love the writing style, so much more florid than today.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Soddy Profiles: Bamboozled by Housewives

Google Play is a wonderful application for genealogists and family history enthusiastists. As part of my research process, I Google the name of the ancestor I am researching and where they lived.  As a result, I am the owner of a free e-book entitled, "Pioneer History of Custer County and Short Sketches of Early Days in Nebraska," by S. D. Butcher, published in 1901.  The book describes the history of most of the towns and villages in Custer County and includes several vignettes about tragedies and other happenings.

My second cousin four times removed, Lucy Caroline Beard (1827-1915) and her husband, Francis Everett Amsberry (1824-1897) traveled from Mason County, West Virginia, to Custer County, Nebraska, in 1885 with most of their 12 children.

Francis Everett and Lucy Caroline (Beard) Amsberry

They settled in the vicinity of Mason City and family then spread mainly to the Broken Bow and Ansley areas of the county.  So naturally, I started reading that section of the book first. This story made me laugh out loud.

Custer County was formed in 1877 and was named after General George Armstrong Custer. The Mason City townsite was located by the Lincoln Land Company in 1886. Ansley was founded the same year. Broken Bow was platted in 1882.

Mason City, Nebraska circa 1901; Mason City is about 20 miles southeast of Broken Bow

The first settlers between the towns of Broken Bow, Merna, and Callaway were men by the name of Ream and Jeffords. To show the innocence and inexperience of these two bachelors, who came to this county in a farm wagon which contained all their possessions and which was drawn by a yoke of oxen, we will tell a little story at their expense.

Jeffords and his wife, who he met and married after this story

As they began to leave the settlements on their journey west into the wilderness, they thought it would be a fine thing to have fresh eggs during the summer in their new home. In order to be able to enjoy such a luxury, they struck a bargain with a thrifty housewife for a dozen fine young chickens. The flock was shortly increased by the addition of six hens which they got at an astonishing bargain from another housewife along the way.

When they arrived near the present site of Broken Bow, they camped with Wilson Hewitt as that kind and accommodating pioneer invited the wayfarers to make their headquarters there until they got their claims located.

The men turned their chickens loose that night before retiring. The next morning they invited Mrs. Hewitt out to inspect the flock. She looked them over with the eye of an experienced housewife and then fell into such a fit of laughter that the boys thought she had gone crazy. When she recovered her composure, she informed the young poultry fanciers that their flock consisted of eleven young roosters, one pullet and six old hens that had probably come over in Noah's ark and had long passed the time to be considered useful layers.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I'm Published!

Yesterday, I received a copy of the December 2013 issue of Your Family Tree magazine. On page 98, is my first published genealogy article entitled, "Murdered by Her Husband."

It's about Samuel Lee Jennings, the first murderer I discovered in my family tree.  Someone at the magazine saw a tweet about this blog post and asked if I would write the article. Pete, my husband, read my draft and said it was boring. Oh well!

Thanks Your Family Tree magazine.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Soddy Profiles: Warren V. Keller

Warren Valorous Keller was my fith cousin once removed. He was born in 1900 and died in 1999, a few months short of his 100th birthday. He was born and raised in Nebraska and is a true "soddy." He even received a life time certificate of membership from the Sons and Daughters of the Soddies. The certificate said:

Born in
Attended Churces
Lived in a Sod House
Helped Build Sod Houses

When he was in his 90s, his neighbor came over and confiscated his snow shovels so Warren would no longer clear sidewalks and driveways.

During the last year of Warren Keller's life his daughter and her husband collected Warren's reminisces about his life and published a book entitled, "A Man of the Twentieth Century: Recollections of Warren V. Keller, a Nebraskan." This blog post is from the first chapter of the book.

When you come to think of it, I almost was never born because of what nearly happened to my mother and father on their wedding day. My parents were marred on April 2, 1894, in Broken Bow, Nebraska. Uncle Jess and Aunt Becky Amsberry stood up with them. On the way back, the dust and wind blew so hard, they could hardly see anything. At one point, the horses stopped and wouldn't go. They got out to see why, and a train sped by. The horses saved their lives.

Photograph from the book entitled, "History of Custer County, Nebraska: A Narrative with Special Emphasis upon the Pioneer Period of the County's History, Its Social, Commercial, Educational, Religious, and Civic Development from the Early Days to the Present Time (published in 1919)

It was a cold day when I was born on January 29 in 1900. I was born in a one-room sod house in Mason City, Nebraska. Mason City was founded in 1886 by the Lincoln Land Company who purchased it from homesteaders, Nels Anderson and Mrs. George Runyan. Mason City was named after Honorable O. P. Mason, formerly a Supreme Court Judge for the Nebraska Territory. Its first post office was established in 1886.

A Nebraska "soddy" in front of his sod house probably circa 1890s. Photograph courtesy of Keesee and Sidwell

When I born, I had two sisters, Lorena and Blanche. We lived in Mason City for a while, then moved to Ashland, Nebraska, for a short time and then back to Mason City. When I was two, the family moved to Edison, Washington, on a train and came back on a train. Edison was a small town outside Seattle, where my Dad worked for a sawmill.

We came back to Mason City soon after my sister, Etna, was born. I am not sure why we came back, but I was told that Grandma Peterson said she wouldn't speak to my mother again if they didn't come back and show here my sister, Etna. Etna was born in Washington. She was the only one of my sisters and brothers who was not born in Nebraska. We lived in Edison for about a year and a half.

The Harvy S. Keller Family
Back row, left to right: Etna Keller, Blanche Keller, Warren Keller (profile subject) and Lorene Keller
Front row, left to right: Emery Keller, Harvey Keller (father), Twila Keller, and Rose Alice (Jinks) Keller (mother) and Clara Bell Keller

When we came back to Mason City, we lived in a two-room sod house located in the country 1-1/2 miles north of town. It didn't have any floors and didn't leak when it didn't rain. One day, I remember watching my mother sprinke water over the dirt floor to settle the dust in the family bedroom. The beds rested on boards so they wouldn't sink into the ground. The closest water supply was 100 feet from the house. We had no convenience at all. We had a pump outside and a little coal oil lamp.

When I was five year old, I started to school in Mason City. I had about three blocks to go to school, and our folks would dress us up with plenty of clothes. We walked to school. They never took us to school. We'd waller around through the snow drifts. If there was a snow drift across the road or anywhere else, it stayed there until it thawed in the spring because there weren't any cars. People would just walk or drive their horses over or around the drifts and that's the way they got around until spring came and it was all thawed out and the mud had dried up. Even if it was blizzarding, the folks paid no attention. They just dressed us and we walked to school. And that's the way things were.

Friday, December 6, 2013

How I Got My Name

A few months ago, I read a blog on FamilySearch.org that intrigued me. It said you could tell your life story in 52 weeks by answering 52 questions. I decided not to participate mainly because the purpose of this blog isn't to write about me. I lead a pretty boring life and I'm totally fine with that. The purpose is to share the interesting tidbits of research I found during my genealogy process and to have things to talk about with Dad when we visit that will be of interest to him. He was the genealogist in the family for years.

This is my 100th Tangled Roots and Trees blog post, so in honor of that insignificant event, I will answer one of the questions from the suggested blog series, however. The question I'll answer is: What is your full name? Why did your parents give you that name? I get asked this frequently because I have an unusual name.

My full given name is Schalene Jennings.  I am my parents' oldest child and they were so sure I was going to be a boy, they had not even picked out a girl's name. Four days after I was born, I left the hospital without a first name. I was known as Baby Girl Jennings.  Eventually my parents settled on Schalene. I was named after my mother's mother. Her maiden name was Wilhelmina Schalin. Mom changed the spelling because she thought it would be easier to pronounce. 

Schalene Jennings as an infant

After suffering through several first days of elementary school as a shy child when the teacher would mangle my name, I wish Mom would have spelled it Shuh-lean. But she didn't. I have been called Shea-lean, Scale-lean, Char-lean, and many other mispronunciations I can't remember.

My parents didn't give me a middle name. They thought Jennings would become my middle name when I married. I think my parents started to despair of that ever happening, but I did eventually marry two months before my 30th birthday to someone with a Lithuanian last name. So now I am the proud "owner" of two unusual names.

The funniest story about my married name: One day I called the passport office. The woman on the phone told me I spoke excellent English for a foreigner and was very surprised to learn I was native born!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Farewell 18th Amendment

Today marks the 80th anniversary of the repeal of the 18th Amendment. Marvin Edward and Alice (Muir) Jennings, my paternal grandparents, no longer have to make brew their own beer.

Photo courtesy of Bourbon Classic

And I'd like one of whatever the woman on the far left is having -- that's a big glass!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: A Cautionary Holiday Tale

Let this be a cautionary tale to all of us who decorate the exterior of our houses for the holidays.

My 6th cousin Elden Deroy Pettit was 28 years old when he died on December 10, 1964. He was up on the roof of a relative's house putting up Christmas lights and fell to his death. He left a wife and at least one child.

Eldon Deroy Pettit (1936-1964)

The idea for this post came from Geneabloggers.com.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Train Wreck at Baxter Claims Lives of Two; 25 Cars Derailed

Somewhere in Wyoming several train cars derailed and two people were killed. One was the husband of my 4th cousin two times removed. When Charles Henry Munn died, he left a young widow behind with five children, aged 16 to 2 years old.   He was killed in 1936 during the Great Depression and in a letter to his family shortly before the accident, he wrote work was slow.

Charles Munn worked for Harbaugh Brothers, Inc., of Kearney, Nebraska. He was a chicken tender, which meant he traveled in the railroad cars when live poultry was being shipped.

Charles Henry Munn, Sr.

The following article was published in the Daily Reminder, the local Rock Springs, Wyoming, newspaper on 25 Jul 1936.

Train Wreck at Baxter Claims Lives of Two; 25 Cars Derailed

A man tentatively identified as C. H. Munn of Central City, Nebraska, was killed outright and Robert Miller, Union Pacific signal supervisor of Rawlins, died at the Wyoming General Hospital Friday evening following one of the worst train wrecks in the recent history of the Union Pacific railroad, which occurred at Baxter Station, seven miles east of Rock Springs, about noon Friday. It was not known yet Friday night whether or not more fatalities might have occurred, as several hoboes were riding on the train when the wreck occurred.

Twenty-five freight and passenger cars on Train 319 were derailed and piled into a twisted mass of wreckage when a center yoke and guide rod of the locomotive worked loose, sliding under the engine and first truck of the baggage car, causing the rear of the baggage car to swing from the track and pile up the cars behind it.

No official statement as to the cause of the wreck was forthcoming until an investigation can be made, but it was learned that the engine was unable to continue to Rock Springs until temporary repairs were made by a repair crew from Rock Springs. It was also learned unofficially that the train was traveling approximately 45 miles an hour when the wreck occurred.

The dead man was tentatively identified from the bills of lading, showing that C. H. Munn was in charge of a car of poultry which was in the middle of the train, he was riding with the poultry. Munn is missing, but no positive identification could be made as the body, caught between the chicken car and a merchandise car, carried no identification. Papers in a suitcase in the chicken car, and a suit of clothes carrying an identification card, carried the name of C. H. Munn. Feed receipts showed that Munn was in charge of the car for the Harbaugh poultry firm of Kearney, Nebraska, and that the car originated at Central City.

It was feared that clearing of the debris might disclose remains of hoboes. However, the right of way was so badly wrecked and the cars so badly piled up that it will be impossible to determine this until cleaning up is completed.

Miller, well known in Rock Springs, was riding in the coach with nine other passengers and Conductor H. H. Owens. Miller's right arm was so badly crushed that it was necessary to amputate it at the shoulder. He died at 9:20 o'clock Friday night.

Conductor Owens, who suffered a wrenched back, stated that he believed the quarter-mile ride after the first jolt came was the longest he ever took in his life. He described it as a horrible sensation. The car gave a sudden lunge and whipped back and forth across the right of way until it sailed into the air and turned a complete somersault to the side, landing upon its side.

Dr. B. V. McDermott of Superior was driving to Rock Springs at the time the accident occurred and saw the wreck. He immediately drove across the flat and rushed to the coach where he assisted in getting the passengers out and loading the badly injured into his car. He brought them to the hospital in Rock Springs.

Train 319 is a mixed train, operating out of Denver to Ogden. Friday's train consisted of 44 cars, of which only 19 were remaining on the track after the wreck, which tied up both east and west bound tracks.

Wandering over the hills near the scene are 60 head of cattle that escaped from the cattle cars, where several head were killed. A carload of hogs and the fatal car of chickens were also on the train. Inquest into the death of Munn will probably be held on Friday, it was said by Coroner J. Warden Opie.

The telegram Charles' sister wrote to Charles' wife, Verna, after learning the news: