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Archive for the ‘Life and Death’ Category

Heirloom

(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The blog prompt for March 6:” Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)”

My most treasured heirlooms include some jewelry I received after both my mom and grandmother passed away. I have my grandparents’ wedding bands and her engagement ring that I wear on my right hand. After my grandmother passed away, I received one of her small Hummel’s. I have a china set that I received after my mom passed away. While my sister and I were cleaning out my mom’s home, I found some heirloom recipes with all the other cookbooks. One was from my great-grandmother, Martha Clawson. I also have photos and books that belonged to my grandparents.

The photo above is a small dish that came to me from my grandparents. Obviously it is something they picked up when they lived in Germany.

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Anillos

(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The blog prompt for March 5: “How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?”

I do know how my parents met – mom was working at Wright Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) outside of Fairborn, Ohio (back then it was Fairfield) in Greene County, Bath Township. She met my dad in early 1941 when he was stationed there. They spent the next couple of years dating until they married in December 1943.

On Easter Sunday 1916 (April 23), my maternal grandparents, Glen R Johnson and Vesta C Wilt, met at church. Life would never be the same for either of them again! Such began months of daily correspondence for even though they lived in the same town, they sent letters to each other every day – and since the mail service ran twice a day – it wasn’t just one letter they sent, but two! Luckily for me, I have each and every one of those letters. To me they are priceless! A window into their lives that helped me witness them falling in love with each other (although I suspect, it was love at first sight for both of them!).

glen_vesta_eastercherry_hill

The following is parts of a letter from my grandfather to my grandmother that he wrote to her on May 31, 1916 – a little over a month after their initial meeting.

You told me that you were not cold last night but I think you were. I am afraid you (my little girl) will be sick. But I hope not. Do not work to hard to-day. I hope you had a good time yesterday. I did I know. So good-bye Dear
I still remain yours forever
                                       Glen
To the one I love best Miss Vesta Wilt signed Glen

Later that summer – apparently after my great-grandmother, Martha, had words about Glen with my grandmother, he was very scared and wrote the following to my grandmother:

Vesta Dear I am afraid your mother will make me quit going with you. Oh! I can’t stand to think of it. I have cried all evening. But listen Dear you have a good time, don’t think of me. Whatever happens I will take it as best I can, I can go west or some other place and die. But I never will forget the Little girl of Mine. Vesta. The dearest girl there ever was. Hoping you will forgive me for all I have said and done. I will never do them again. After I leave you can forget me and find some one just as good and better than I am. Hoping you will not think hard of me for all this talk, but I think it will happen. I had a dream I never told you of. I don’t know whether I will tell you now. I think you can guess it. And just think I caused it all I am simply crazy. Well dear I have told you all I know and more to. I will be there Sunday morning if I am alive. Hoping you will not worry. Let me do all the worrying. I will close. Forgive the writing. I will close again with lots of love and kisses.
I still remain your lover and sweetheart, bit I am afraid never yours to be.
                    Glen
                 The broken hearted boy.  9:30 P.M.
5:30 A.M. Aug. 4, 1916
P.S. Well Dear I past through the awful night. I got about one hour sleep. I was thinking or crying the rest. Crying the most. Well Dear I guess I will try and work to-day. I don’t know whether I can or not.
                    Glen

My grandfather needn’t have worried because just a few short months later, they were engaged and married on Christmas Eve 1916 – eight months after they met. They were married 67 years before my grandmother passed away. My grandfather wait a year and then joined her. I am so very fortunate to have boxes and boxes of their letters to each other that allows me to feel their deep abiding and eternal love for one another.

I don’t have any idea how my paternal grandparents met – that is something I will have to ask my dad about! (Took a 15 minute break and called my dad!) Loyd W Amore and Ella M House were introduced to each other by his brother Isaiah H (Zade) Amore and wife, Lula (St. Clair). Lula was a sewing teacher and was teaching my grandmother how to sew. She asked my grandma if she wanted to meet someone and she said that would be ok (or as my dad said “Whatever they said back then.”) So they were introduced about 1901-02 and were married on April 11, 1903 in the Presbyterian Manse in Coshocton, Ohio.

Photos: Wedding rings from Wikimedia Commons. Glen and Vesta Johnson – photographer: Wendy Littrell, original and digital photo in possession of Wendy Littrell, Address for private use).

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(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The blog prompt for March 4: “Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.”

I am lucky enough to have original my maternal grandparents’ original marriage records as well as her parents (Joseph N Wilt and Martha J Stern) and my great-grandparents’ (Emanuel B Stern and Nancy Caylor). I don’t have wedding pictures of either of those couples, but I do have a wedding picture of my maternal grandfather’s parents (Katie J Blazer and John L Johnson).

katie_john_wedding

John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J Blazer – married on Wednesday, July 4, 1883
Katie was not quite 19 years old.

I have digital copies of marriage records via FamilySearch for John L Johnson’s parents (my 2nd great-grandparents), James Wilson Johnson and Amanda Eveline Mullis, and for Amanda’s parents – John Mullis and Darlett Stanley (married in Wilkes county, North Carolina) on February 22, 1811. Recently, I found the marriage license and certificate (digital copy) for my great-grandfather, Joseph N Wilt, and his second wife, Anna Park. On the line that asked if he had been married before, he listed “no.” When I saw that, I exclaimed “Liar!” at my computer screen (he had walked out on my great-grandmother, Martha, and 6 kids under 14 years old). Perhaps, he didn’t know if the divorce had ever been finalized (it had) and didn’t want to have to legally be bound to getting that information.

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(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The blog prompt for March 2: “Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?”

mom14

This is a picture of my mom – Mary Helen (Johnson) Amore – when she was a young child – about 1924. The reason I picked this photo is because it was one of the first pictures of her as a little girl that I ever saw. When I first looked at it, I could see myself in her face. I wonder what she was looking at when the photo was taken, what she had been doing, and where she would walk to afterwards. Was she having a good day? Did she feel well? How warm was it? Questions I won’t ever have the answers to now that she’s gone. Questions I didn’t even think about until I looked at it recently.

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(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The month began with this prompt: “Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.”

nanayoung

It isn’t easy for me to pick a favorite female ancestor however I must choose my maternal grandmother, Vesta Christina (Wilt) Johnson – the woman I knew all my life as “Nana.” She was a large part of my life and lived close to us so I saw her at least once a week if not more. As a young child, I spent some weekends at her and my Granddad’s home and then later – their apartment in a senior citizens high rise building by the river in Dayton. I have letters that she wrote to my folks when my dad was stationed in Japan in the 1950’s. I have letters she wrote when she and my grandfather lived in Wiesbaden in the early 1950’s. I have letters my grandparents wrote to each other when they were courting and later when my grandfather was in training with the signal corps & after he was shipped to France in WWI. I have pictures of her when she was a child and a young woman as well as all the pictures she was in after she was married, had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

If I had to list items that I would like to learn, it would be about her relationship with her father. He left the family when my grandmother was about 10 and her youngest brother wasn’t very old. I know she heard from him after she was married but I don’t know if she went out of her way to try to maintain that father-daughter bond or if she realized it was up to him. I know she was at his funeral and my grandparents helped pay for some of it. I have a picture of her and her siblings at his grave. Even without her father in her life. she kept close to her Wilt family members especially later in life by attending the family reunions once a year and traveling to Indiana to visit with her cousins at least once or twice more through the year.

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Oreo

Not really – but then again I guess it all started with her – my Nana, Vesta Christina Wilt Johnson (my mom’s mother). I could also blame my grandfather – yes, I’m sure he had a hand in it too. Most of their great-grandchildren (my niece, nephews, and children of my Johnson 1st cousins) would probably concur. We are all addicted to the food memories that Nana and Grandad are connected to. Candy jars with M & M’s, ribbon candy at Christmas, hard tack candy – all the time! Sometimes peanut brittle. And the bottom drawer in the kitchen – COOKIES! Not just any cookies but large sugar cookies, soft Oatmeal cookies, and the sweetest of all – Oreos! We didn’t have Oreos in my house because my mom didn’t like the way they tasted. No, our house had something just as deviant – chocolate sandwich cookies that are very hard to find anymore. But I digress. Oreos – if there ever was a reason to turn into an addict – those delicious creme filled sandwich cookies are the reason. And I fell into that addiction – hard – all the way to the bottom. Oh, it didn’t happen overnight and not right then as a child, young teen or young adult. I had a taste of those cookies, and that was all it took. As the years passed and my grandparents passed on, every time I had an Oreo, sweet, delicious memories were revisited. Memories of the warmth and tenderness shown to me by my Nana. Her gentle touch and beautiful smile. If a scent can trigger a memory, I believe food can do the same thing. Soon, I had four young kids and a very busy household. Of course I purchased Oreos for the family. Oh, no, soon I was hiding the Oreos. The addiction had me in its tight grip. I could eat half a bag in one sitting and feel absolutely dreadful afterwards. Finally, though it took awhile, I had to face the fact. I stook in front of my mirror and said, “Hello, I’m an Oreo addict.” My reflection just stared back. Yep, I knew that I could not – absolutely not – ever purchase anymore packages of Oreos. My kids thought it was funny. We’d be at church and during refreshment time, they would taunt me. “Look, Mom, an Oreo. You know you want some.” But I always remained resolute. That’s been so long ago, I don’t even know the number of years it’s been. The only Oreos I’ve eaten are those crushed and used for dirt cake. There have been a few packages in my pantry – but I haven’t eaten any of those. However, it doesn’t take the taste of Oreos anymore to bring me back to my childhood and the visits to my grandparens’. Just today, I was eating Club Crackers – their “go-to” cracker. I grew up on Zesta crackers and as an adult, have always kept Premium Saltines. But my Nana and Grandad – it was Club that we used at their home for the homemade vegetable soup. Soup that had tomatoes in it and my mom ate but it wasn’t her favorite. In honor of my grandmother, I add one fresh tomato to my vegetable soup. When my niece and nephew and I talk about them, we inevitably discuss the foodstuffs they had. Wonderful memories!

(Image of Oreos downloaded from Wikimedia Commons: Fritz Saalfeld is the creator of the image)

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Each Saturday evening, Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings challeges other geneabloggers to participate in Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Tonight, the theme is Ancestor Fun. The mission (should we choose to accept it!) is to pick a great-grandfather, divide his birth year by 100 and round up to the next number. Then, go to the ancestor on the ahnentafel list and find the ancestor with that number and give three facts about that person.

I chose my maternal great-grandfather, Joseph Napolean Wilt (father of my maternal grandmother), who was born in 1869. After dividing his birth year by 100 and getting 18.69, I rounded up to 19.  I use Family Tree 2011 as my genealogy program. I am the home person so I clicked on Publish at the top, then under “Charts and Reports” I clicked on Genealogy Reports. I chose the Ahnentafel Report. After the report came up, I scrolled to number 19 to see which ancestor I would write about. It was my 2nd great-grandmother, Louisa Bookless.

The line from me to her is as follows: my dad, his dad (Lloyd William Amore), Lloyd’s mother (Mary Angelina Werts Amore), “Annie’s” mother was Lousia Bookless. She was born to David Bookless and Mary Cartmell on April 13, 1834 in Muskingum county, Ohio. She married William Washington Werts (my 2nd great-grandfather) on August 24, 1852 in Coshocton county, Ohio.  I found the marriage entry on FamilySearch.org in the database – “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994″ and downloaded the digital image. Louisa married a second time after William died to John Simon on April 28, 1861 in Coshocton county, Ohio. Louisa died of “apoplexy” on July 26, 1912 in Coshocton, Ohio and was buried in St. Paul’s Cemetery in Coshocton.

Three facts about Louisa Bookless:

  1. Most of the documents I have found concerning Louisa, has her maiden name spelled “Buckless” – especially census records.
  2. Louisa’s parents died when she was young, so she is found living with relatives in the 1850 and 1860 censuses. In 1850, Louisa and her older brother, William, are living in the James Rice household in Franklin Twp, Coshocton county, Ohio. I have not discovered if he was related to Louisa. In the 1860 census, Louisa is living with her late husband’s sister, Susannah (Werts) Shirer and her husband, Quincy.  The two children she had borne while married to William Werts were living in other households which seems to indicate that Louisa did not have any means of supporting her children and needed to rely on family for support.
  3. Louisa’s first husband – my 2nd great-grandfather, passed away five years after they were married. Their oldest child, George Wesley Werts, was born five months after their wedding and my great-grandmother came along two years later. Four years after William’s death, Louisa and John Simon married.  They became parents of a daughter (Sarah Ellen Simon) three years after they married.  I did not realize my great-grandmother had a half-sister until I kept coming back to the census listing her in the same household as Louisa and John as their daughter. When I checked the newspaper account for a reunion held at my great-grandparents, I discovered that Ellen’s family came to that reunion.

louisa_b

Louisa’s Death Certificate

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