Archive for the ‘geography’ Category
Posted in geography, Life and Death, personal, Photographs, stories, tagged Anderson, Clawson, genealogy, grandmother, Indiana, Lane County, Leaburg, Madison County, Oregon, Photographs, Stern, Wilt on August 5, 2008 | 1 Comment »
I believe I’ve mentioned my maternal great-grandmother, Martha Jane Stern, in previous posts. She was the mother of my mother’s mom, Vesta Christena Wilt. Martha was born on February 9, 1872 in Clarksville, Hamilton County, Indiana to Emanuel Bushong Stern (descendent of the Stern and Bushong families) and Nancy Caylor (descendent of the Kohler/Caylor and Kinsey families).
When Martha was 18, she married 22 year old Joseph Napolean Wilt in Delaware County, Indiana on September 10, 1890. Between July 1891 and April 1906, the couple had 4 sons and 2 daughters (it is also reported that they had a son who died at birth – but I have yet to find proper documentation). My grandmother, Vesta, was the oldest daughter and fourth child.
When the youngest, Clifford, was a little more than two years old, the couple had separated. I’ve written about the bench warrant that was sworn out for Joe Wilt in “An Early Divorce”. Martha’s sister, Margaret Ellen Stern, had married William Franklin (Frank) Clawson in 1882 but Margaret died in April 1908. On New Years’ Eve 1910, Frank and Martha married and combined their families.
The family ran a store in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana. When my great-aunt, Nellie, was diagnosed with asthma, Martha and Frank took her and Clifford to Leaburg, Oregon. My grandmother had already married and they were living with my grandfather’s parents. It was many years before my grandmother saw her mother again because people just didn’t cross the country for a “visit”. She took her grandson, my brother, to visit Grandma Clawson (which is what we all called her), when he was just a few years old. My mom has always said that my brother met Grandma before she did.
Frank passed away on May 23, 1923 – not too many years after they arrived in Leaburg. After John returned from WWI, he moved to Oregon to be close to his mother. Frank’s son, Ralph, also spent time in the Northwest. Frank’s daughter, Nancy Clawson Welch, had moved to California and died two years before her father.
I don’t know if Martha’s sons, Jesse and Clarence, ever saw their mother again. I’ve not heard or read anything that mentions either one of them taking a trip out to Oregon to visit her and I know she didn’t travel east after she’d moved.
Martha died on November 6, 1956 of congestive heart failure. She was 84 years old. Funeral services were held at Buell Chapel and she was buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Leaburg, Oregon.
I wasn’t able to meet my great-grandmother and only know her through the stories my grandmother and my mom have told me. I also have several letters she wrote to my grandmother. She was highly respected by her children and loved very much.
Posted in geography, Life and Death, tagged Champaign County, Germany, grandfather, grandmother, grandparents, Greene County, immigration, Indiana, Madison County, migration, North Carolina, Ohio, Rush County, Wilkes County on July 26, 2008 | 2 Comments »
So many times when we locate an ancestor they have migrated from where they were born or married or built a home, to another area possibly a great distance away. What prompts these moves? What was it they were searching for or hoping to gain by moving?
There are many web sites dealing in reasons including: California Gold Rush, Oregon Trail, the Dustbowl of the 1930s, the Homestead Act of 1862, immigrating from another country in search of a better life, religious persecution, and more. Today many people move from one locale to another due to a change in occupaton or a relocation, stationed at different spots due to military service, to get out of small towns or big cities, to go to school, and more.
I thought I would detail some of my ancestors’ migration patterns. I don’t have enough proof to document the reasons why they moved – just that they did.
Frederick Goul (5th great-grandfather)
Frederick took his wife, son, and daughter by ship (possibly the “Rawley”) from Frankfort, Germany to America in the mid-1700s. By the time they reached Philadelphia, his wife and daughter had died.
Adam Goul (4th great-grandfather)
Adam married Elizabeth Lutz in Pennsylvania and several of their children were born there. They moved to Rockbridge County, Virginia by 1804 and by 1817 had migrated west to Goshen Twp, Champaign County, Ohio. Adam and Elizabeth are buried at Treacles Creek Cemetery in Champaign County.
John Goul (3rd great-grandfather)
One of Adam’s and Elizabeth’s sons, born about 1802, in Philadelphia, he was with his parents when they moved to Ohio. About 1823 he married Martha McManaway. John and his wife didn’t move from Champaign County.
Malissa Goul (great-great grandmother)
Malissa met Franklin Blazer in Champaign County and they married. The couple moved west to Madison County, Indiana before 1860 and most of their children were born there. One son, John, and one daughter, Martha (Mat), remained in the area. Daughter, Katie, grew up in the County and only moved in 1930 with her husband to live with their son in Greene County, Indiana. Daughter, Rachel, moved west to Missouri and Kansas. Son, Wesley, moved to Champaign County, Ohio where he married, brought up children and died.
Glen R. Johnson (maternal grandfather)
My grandfather (son of Katie Blazer and John L. Johnson) was born in Anderson, Indiana and never moved away until he was in training for WWI at Ft. Omaha, Nebraska and then on to Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas. He went to France toward the end of WWI and then returned to his wife, son and home in Anderson. During his career in the Army Air Corps (later the Air Force), he and his family moved East to Greene County, Ohio. This is the place they considered home for the remainder of their lives. Yet they also moved according to the military to Wiesbaden, Germany. My grandfather also spent some time in Washington D.C., Tullahoma, Tennessee; Finschafen, New Guinea; Orlando, Florida. Returning to the Dayton area before 1960, he and his wife lived out the remainder of their lives in that area.
Jacob Johnson (3rd great-grandfather)
Jacob was born in New Jersey in 1787. He moved (probably with his parents and family) by 1816 to the Southeastern section of Ohio in Brown County, Ohio. His wife’s family (Ann Shields) has also been located in that area. By 1840 Jacob and family were living in Center Township, Rush County, Indiana, where he spent the remainder of his life.
James Wilson Johnson (great-great grandfather)
He was born in Ohio when his parents, Jacob and Ann, lived in Brown County. As a child he moved with them to Rush County, Indiana. In the 1880 Census James and his second wife, Margaret Gordon, are living in Stoney Creek Twp, Madison County, Indiana. James spent some time in Michigan in his later years living with each of his daughter’s and their families. He moved one last time – when he was buried in Little Blue River Cemetery in Rush County, Indiana.
John Mullis and Dolly Stanley (3rd great grandfather and mother)
In-laws of James Wilson Johnson, they moved from Wilkes County, North Carolina before 1838 to Rush County, Indiana.
Perhaps as I continue with my research, I will discover the reason why these people moved from one area (or country) to another. It has just been quite interesting to see their migration patterns.
Yesterday I spent a few hours scanning letters that my grandparents wrote to my parents while my grandparents were stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany. It has been several years since I read them so it was a chance for me to re-read while I was scanning. I try not to handle these pages from the early 1950s very much in a way to keep them from picking up too much acidic content. When I received them from my mom, they had been placed in a large manilla folder and kept in her basement. To be clear, my mom’s basement is finished and air conditioned so they haven’t been in damp, musty or too hot conditions. All of them are still readable and intact which is rare since most of them were handwritten or typed on very thin onion skin paper. Remember, they were being sent from Germany to the United States so to pack a lot of pages into one envelope for the regular price of a stamp, they used very thin paper.
My grandparents wrote letters at least once or twice a week and they were in Germany for three years so I have many – MANY – letters to scan. And that’s just of the Germany letters. There are also letters they wrote to my parents when my parents were stationed in Japan twice. Letters my grandfather and grandmother wrote to each other while they were courting, when my grandfather entered military training after they were married, when my grandfather went to France during WWI, and letters from my grandmother’s siblings and mother to her.
Here are some excerpts from the Letters from Germany.
Most of the letters are little more than reciting the more mundane chores of daily life or the functions that my grandparents attended. For genealogical purposes, they provide a window into their lives that I wouldn’t have if not for these letters. My grandparents also took several weekend trips into other regions or countries during their time in Europe. My grandfather took my grandmother to the area he was in during WWI in France and showed her spots she had only read about in his letters. My grandmother saw what was left of some of the concentration camps from WWII. They went to Holland and saw windmills and tulips. They shopped in Garmisch. One thing that was always consistent in the letters they wrote from Germany: they missed their children and grandchildren terribly. No matter where the military sent them, their hearts were always wherever their family was.
Yes, YOU! Where have you gone? This post has to do with traveling or relocating somewhere besides the area of land you’ve always called home. My challenge to you is to write about the places you’ve traveled or lived (or at least one!) and send me the permalink so I can share with everyone.
A bit of background first: I was the baby of the family and not just because I was the last child born but because my brother was 21 and married and my sister was 16 when I was born. My parents, brother and sister had already lived a family life way before I came along. I was the “oopsy” baby. Just when my folks thought they’d be empty nesters soon, wham – there I was! My mother tells me my dad used to joke and say they’d put the dog in the house and the baby in the garage! I’d like to say I can’t imagine what they felt like, but I can. No, I didn’t have a “later in life” baby but we have been raising our grandson since he was 9 months old. When he first came to live with us, I was almost the same age my mother was when she had me. My children were basically grown – I had three left at home. One starting college, one a year and a half away from graduating and a middle schooler.
Back before I was born, my father was in the Army Air Corps (which later became the US Air Force). My family lived in Japan during two tours in the 1950s. They lived in Florida upon their return to the states the end of the 50s before my dad retired from the Air Force to take a civil service position and move to Southwestern Ohio. The place I was born and raised.
As a young child, I’d see slides and pictures of my family’s travels and their homes in Japan. Yes, I was jealous. I never got to live anywhere “cool” like overseas. It didn’t matter that my sister told me she really didn’t have any close friends. Why bother getting close with someone when you just picked up and moved three years later? The place she calls “home” is the same place I call home – even though she was born in a Western state and lived in a lot of places prior to that.
However, because of my dad’s job with the civil service, he had to go on lots of business trips. Before I started school, Mom and I were able to travel with him. So I got to see the Arch in St. Louis, Missouri; the Empire State Building in New York City; and the Hancock building in Chicago. One of my favorite memories is when we went to New York. We saw the “Odd Couple” movie (Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon) at the movie theater, walked along the New York city streets, shopped in the amazing department stores, and rode the city buses. I saw Rockefeller Plaza. We took a fairy boat ride around the Statue of Liberty.
When I was a year away from starting (what my school called Kindergarten), my dad took a lot of vacation time and we traveled to Disneyland. No, we didn’t board an airplane. Nor did we drive straight there. We took an overland excursion! From Ohio we went to visit my aunt in East Central
Ohio first, then up to Michigan to my Uncle’s home. We cut over to Canada to see the Niagra Falls from the Canadian side and then down to Montana. My parents had lived there when my sister was born and their friends were still there so we spent a couple days with them. Then on to Idaho where we saw the “Craters of the Moon” and then into Washington to visit my great-aunt and friends of my parents they had been stationed with in Japan. We took a fairy boat ride to Victoria, British Columbia where the town looked to me out of a story-book. Then down to Oregon and the great forests and into California. We saw the Giant Redwoods, went to Marineland, Knotts Berry Farm, and then Disneyland.
Talk about feeling like a fairy princess. It was more wonderful than anything I’d ever imagined. I met Pluto, the three little pigs, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Snow White!
After a few days at the magical kingdom, we traveled south to the desert and stayed with another family my parents knew. Saw my grandparents who were also traveling out west about the same time! Then on through Arizona where the majesty of the Grand Canyon took my breath away and the beauty of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest enthralled me. Up to Colorado to the Air Force Academy. Through the midwest back home.
When we got to Kansas I kept repeating that I wanted to see Dorothy’s house (Wizard of Oz). So my folks picked out some random farm and told me there it was! Of course it was real! I had just been “over the rainbow” so I believed with all my heart that Dorothy had been too!
So in the course of my very short life, I’d been to: Michigan, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New York. Canada was the only “foreign” country I’d visited.
Since that time I’ve also gone to (or through!) Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas. I live in Texas now.
I’d love to go to New England, the Dakotas, Virginia and Washington D.C. For foreign travel I’d love to see Great Britain, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Austria, Germany, and of course where my family lived in Japan.
So where did you go?