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In the late 1950’s through the early 1980’s, my grandmother’s paternal side gathered together each fall for the annual Wilt Reunion.  I knew names of these relatives but not really who they were or how they fit into the family.  As a young child (and then a young teen), I felt somehow on the “outside” of this family for I saw them once a year. 

Sometimes my grandmother’s first cousins would travel from Indiana to Ohio to visit her and sometimes my mom and I would accompany my grandparents to Indiana to visit them.  That was the extent of my interaction with my Wilt Cousins and extended family.

Going through the photographs my grandfather took to document the Wilt side of the family, has enabled me to actually put names to faces.  Even though there are an awful lot of pictures that don’t have labels, my grandfather was very good at labeling reunion pictures.

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Ina (Wilt) Wisehart Family

First Row Left to Right: Ward’s son, dau-in-law, Richard Wisehart’s son, Ward Wisehart’s daughter (nurse)

2nd Row L-R: Ward’s son, Mrs. Ward Wisehart, Ward (Ina’s son), Ina (Wilt) Wisehart, Richard Wisehart, Richard’s wife

The above was how the photo was labeled by my grandfather.  I’ve since found the names of these folks.  In the 1st Row: (I think this is) John E. Wisehart, his wife, Wava June Wicker, Ricky Joe Wisehart, the nurse is either Nancy or Janet Wisehart.  In the 2nd Row: not sure of the other son’s name, Ruth West Wisehart, Ward Wisehart, Ina Wilt Wisehart, Richard Wisehart, and Norma Gilmore Wisehart. 

Ina Wilt Wisehart is the daughter of Charles and Margaret (Fadely) Wilt.  Charles is the youngest brother of my grandmother’s father, Joseph N. Wilt, which would make Ina and my grandmother, Vesta, first cousins. 

Ina was the oldest child of Charles and Margaret.  She was born on November 2, 1896 (2 years older than my grandmother) probably in Henry County, Indiana.  She married George Wisehart on December 12, 1914 in Henry County.  (Their marriage record was found in Book 1, Vol. 4 of the Index to Henry County Marriage Records on page 392.)  The couple had 4 children: Ward (married Ruth Louise West), Mary Margaret (married Fred Borror), Linda Lee (married Joseph Daffron), and John Richard (married Norma Gilmore).  George died on May 13, 1959 and Ina died on November 23, 1967.

Mary and Fred Borror along with their ten year old daughter, Mary Lou, all perished in a car accident on May 29, 1952 (source: Freda Pierce, cousin to Mary Wisehart Borror).

Linda Lee (Wisehart) Daffron died at the age of 58 at a hospital in Richmond, Indiana. 

lindadaffronobit

Ward Wisehart passed away on February 26, 2000.  John Richard Wisehart is the last surviving child of Ina and George Wisehart. 

I’ve often wondered why the Wilt Reunions ended?  Did life get too busy for people to gather together?  After all the “first cousins” died, did their children decide it was too much trouble?  Were there a smattering of family gatherings that only included the immediate families of the first cousins? 

The last Wilt Reunion I attended was in September 1983.  It was held in Dayton at my brother’s home, and I was 6 1/2 months pregnant with my second child.  It would be the last time I saw many of my Wilt relations.

When you gather with family – be it immediate or extended – for a reunion, holiday, birthday, or even funeral – and photos are taken, please make sure to document the event and those in the picture.  That includes listing how each of the people in the photo is related.  Are they all first cousins?  Who is their common ancestor?  Are there in-laws in the picture?   Make sure to list who they belong with.  Are there non-related god-parents or close friends in the photo?  Make sure they are listed out and whose friends they are or why they were considered important enough to be part of the picture.  Write an account of the day especially the five W’s: Who, What, When, Where and Why.  How was the weather?  Did you have to travel?  How? What type of travel experiences did you have?  What activities did you or family members engage in?  What type of stories were told and by whom?  Is there a recording of this event?

Then keep your documentation, photos and recording (DVD) together or list on the documentation (as well as the DVD and photos) where all the necessary elements are.  Someday when your descendents see the photos, the DVD or read your account, they will feel as if they were there and there might not be as many questions as we have about our ancestors’ activities.

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This is an update to my post from July 24, 2008, Elusive Great-Great-Aunt Rachel, where I listed information I knew and what I had found concerning my maternal great-grandmother’s sister, Rachel Blazer.  Rachel had married Maurice (or Morris – depending on the document) Given about 1897 according to the 1910 Census that lists them as married 13 years.

While I was researching one of my brick wall ancestors (Franklin Blazer – Rachel’s father – who I will post about soon!), I ran across the name “Rachel Blazer” in the Chicago Tribune for the June 20, 1897 edition.  Listed under “Marriage Licenses” that were issued the day prior, were the names Maurice Given, age 38, residence listed as Madison, Kansas and Rachel Blazer, age 29, residence listed as Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  Ta-Da!

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This is what I consider Serendipity!  I was looking for something else – albeit Rachel’s father – and discovered more informaton on Elusive Great-Great-Aunt Rachel!

(Source: Chicago Daily Tribune (1872-1963); Chicago, Illinois;  20 Jun 1897)

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As I peruse my family file, I’ve come across some of the names listed in the reunion announcement of the first Amore-Werts reunion held on May 25, 1924 at the home of my great-grandparents, (William) Henry and (Mary Angelina) Annie (Werts) Amore.

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Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Amore – my great-grandparents

Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Baker – Benjamin and (Louisa) Clementine (called Clemmie) Baker.  Clemmie was the daughter of my great-grandparents, my grandfather’s sister.

Mr. and Mrs. Donald Baker – Donald Francis and Emma Isabelle (Endsley) Baker.  He was the oldest son of Benjamin and Clemmie Baker.  Don and Emma’s son with them: Francis Donald.

Clarence W. Amore and family – Clarence was the youngest son of my great-grandparents, my grandfather’s brother. His wife (or soon to be ex-wife) was Nellie Buchanan.  Children: Theodore William and Harold Winifred.

Mr. and Mrs. Foster – Harry and Anna Belle (Baker) Foster.  She was the daughter of Benjamin and Clemmie Baker.

H. Emmerson – I believe this should actually be Emerson W. and Clara Ethel (Baker) Levering.  Clara was the daughter of Benjamin and Clemmie Baker.

Mr. and Mrs. Cephas Amore – Cephas and Ada (Prior) Amore.  He was the half-brother of my great-grandfather.  Children with them included: Ralph C. and Pauline Elizabeth Amore.

Mr. and Mrs. John Reese – John Thomas and Laura A. (Amore) Reese.  Laura was my great-grandfather’s half-sister.  Children with them probably included: Ellis and Edna Reese (possibly also Mary).

Mrs. Dennis Brannon – Nellie (Amore) Brannon, wife of William Denison Brannon.  She was the youngest half-sister of my great-grandfather.

Mrs. William Seater – I believe this should be Gladys Laura (Spragg) Slater (wife of Charles William Slater).  Gladys was the niece of Nellie (Amore), Laura (Amore) and Cephas Amore, daughter of Jennie (Amore) Spragg, and half-niece of my great-grandfather.

Captain R. Amore – Rollo Amore, 5th child of my great-grandparents, younger brother of my grandfather.  Possibly there with his wife, Belle, and children, Beatrice, Florence and Ralph.

Rev. I.H. Amore – Isaiah Henderson (Zade) Amore, oldest son (2nd oldest child) of my great-grandparents and older brother of my grandfather.  Possibly there with his wife, Lulu, and son, Robert.

Miss Marie Buschagen – Marie died around Oct. 23, 2007 as Marie B. Cosier.  Her obituary listing doesn’t show any relationship, however, she is listed as there with Rev. I.H. Amore, so she could be a friend, a parishoner, or relative of his wife.

Mr. and Mrs. Therman Vensil – George Thurman and Cora Etta (Simon) Vinsel.  She was the 2nd cousin of my great-grandmother and daughter of William and Susannah Simon.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Barcroft – Elizabeth Ann (Werts) and Lewis B. Barcroft.  Elizabeth was the first cousin once removed of my great-grandmother.

Mrs. William Simmons – Susannah (Werts) Simon.  Susannah was also the first cousin once removed of my great-grandmother.

Alex Jennings – Alexander Jennings and wife, Sarah Ellen (Simon) (my great-grandmother’s half-sister).

Mr. and Mrs. John Jennings – Son of Alexander and Sarah Jennings, half-nephew of my great-grandmother.

Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Jennings – Son of Alexander and Sarah Jennings, half-nephew of my great-grandmother.

Belford McLain – Belford and Clara Pearl (Jennings) McClain.  She was the daughter of my great-grandmother’s half-sister.

Delbert Stone – Delbert and Emma Odessa (Jennings) Stone.  Emma was the daughter of my great-grandmother’s half-sister.

Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Werts – John Calvin and Myra Eudora (Sprague) Werts.  Calvin was my great-grandmother’s first cousin once removed.

Lloyd Amore – Lloyd and Ella Maria (House) Amore, my grandparents.

Roy Amore – son of my great-grandparents, my grandfather’s brother.

Mrs. John Shuck – Martha Ellen Adams, granddaughter of John and Elizabeth (Werts) Shroyer.  Martha was the 2nd cousin of my great-grandmother.

Mrs. Samuel Powelson – Anna M. Powelson, wife of Samuel A. Powelson who was the grandson of Charles and Susannah Maria (Shroyer) Adams.  Samuel was the 2nd cousin, once removed of my great-grandmother.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Shackelford – Walter and Gertrude Pearl (Amore) Shackelford.  She was my dad’s oldest sister.

Charles Fisher – son of Martha Ellen (Shroyer) Shruck (married names also: Fisher/Wiggins) and George W. Fisher.  He was the 2nd cousin, once removed of my great-grandmother.

I believe it’s very important to decipher as much as you can from any news clippings that mention ancestors or collateral family members in order to ascertain the relationships.  This will also aide in determining the accuracy of the news article.

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According to the Library of Congress site, today (Dec. 1st) marks the 53rd anniversary of the Arrest of Rosa Parks because she refused to relinquish her seat on the bus to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama. Granted, I have never had to deal with the “back of the bus” issue because of my race, but I have faced a different type of bus issue.

In my sophomore year my stop was the last for the bus in the morning. Needless to say, when there are many junior and senior football players riding the same bus and not enough seats to hold three people (what the school district considered acceptable), I found myself being directed by the driver to “find a seat” even though there wasn’t any or sitting on the edge of a seat holding on for dear life every time we turned a corner so I wouldn’t fall out into the aisle. Then as a senior, I drove to school most of the year until one month when I wasn’t able to drive (due to circumstances I won’t go into here). I had to ride the bus for the first time since the middle of my sophomore year. After three days of riding the bus, the driver basically told me that since I wasn’t “included” on the original bus passenger list, there really was no room so I couldn’t ride any more. Basically I was being kicked off the bus because I’d found other ways to get to school for almost two years.

On this day in history Agon debuted by the New York City Ballet.  The composer and choreographer, Igor Stravinsky and George Ballanchine, had fled their homeland of Russia after the Revolution and settled in the U.S.  They, like Rosa Parks, dealt with cultural and safety issues and some form of discrimination.

Are there any persons in your family or ancestry who fled their homeland due to discrimination or a difference of political views?  What about persons of any race who was told to go to the “back of the bus” (or something like that) for reasons unknown?  How did they deal with it?

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Some of my earliest memories involve family reunions – whether they were impromptu gatherings with the local family members on the weekend or planned affairs requiring travel to another city or state.  There were reunions that continued throughout my childhood and reunions that began during my childhood.  Before I came along there had been others.

On the paternal side of the family, what once had started as the Amore-Werts Reunion became the Amore-Baker reunion.  Originally, it was to bring together the families of my Great-Grandfather William Henry Amore and my Great-Grandmother Mary Angelina Werts.  The very first reunion was held May 25, 1924 in Roscoe, Coshocton County, Ohio at their home with about 100 persons attending.  This is the newspaper clipping about the gathering:

Other reunions were held and by the time I began attending (in the ’60s), they had changed to the Amore-Baker reunion.  This merged the Amore family with the Baker family (my grandfather’s sister – the only daughter of Henry and Annie Amore – married a Baker).

These reunions were held at the Grange Hall on the Coshocton Fairgrounds in July each summer.  There was plenty of good food, games (horseshoe, softball, frisbee) and family chat interspersed with the normal “business” part of the reunion – election of the following year’s officers, reading of the business minutes, a treasurer’s report, and planned entertainment.  Up to 80 persons attended these reunions.

My dad’s siblings held a reunion once each summer as well.  The first one was at my Uncle Paul’s home in St. Clare Shores, Michigan in the summer of 1967 attended by all but one of the children of Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore and their families.  Each summer the Descendents of Lloyd and Ella Amore met at one of the sibling’s homes.  The second year we held the reunion at our home outside of Dayton.

(Left to Right: Norman, Gene, Gail and Paul Amore)

My grandmother’s family had the annual Wilt reunion every year.  For many years it was held in New Castle and some times at individual homes.  A newspaper clipping about the 1959 reunion follows:

(Left to Right: Clifford, Vesta, Nellie and Clarence Wilt)

When I was close to adolescence, my grandfather and his two first cousins, Glen O. Blazer and Ada Blazer Black, decided to hold the Johnson-Blazer reunions.  Most of the time these were held in Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio at the home of Glen and Nina Blazer.  Once we hosted the reunion at our home.

(Left to Right: Glen Johnson, Glen and Nina Blazer, Ada Black Blazer)

The descendents of my 2nd great-grandparents – Emanuel Bushong Stern and Nancy Caylor Stern – (Stern Reunion) was held at Beaverton, Michigan in the early in July 1972.  It was held on a descendent’s farm.

Long before I came along, there was also the Caylor reunion for the descendents of Abraham and Susannah (Miller) Caylor.  The only information I have about these reunions is a few pictures with the words “Caylor Reunion” on the back.

My grandfather’s family also held reunions prior to my time.  They ended about 20 years before I was born.  These were the Johnson-Shively reunions.  I have as much information about these as I could hope since I have the actual Reunion Book in my possession.  It includes minutes from each reunion held, those invited, births, deaths and marriages recorded each year, and addresses.

One of my Johnson cousins scanned the photo taken at the first Johnson-Shively reunion and shared it with me.  I don’t know who the photographer was so I would like to thank my cousin, Virginia, for allowing me to have a copy of this.

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Minutes (transcribed) from the Minute Book:

Organization Aug 16 – 1915

Johnson and Shively reunion organized Aug 16, 1915 at the home of J.L. Johnson 99 Indiana Ave. Anderson, Indiana. Several relatives and minds were invited to this home in honor of J.W. Johnson. “J.L. Johnson’s father”. It being his birthday. He being the oldest of the Johnson family now living.

A great number of relatives responded from all over the state and a general good time was enjoyed by all.

At the noon hour a sumptious dinner was served. This being one of the most important events of the day was enjoyed by both young and old to the fullest extent.

Before departing for their several homes it was decided that we meet yearly and the following officers were duly elected

                        President          J Milton Johnson, Lapel, Ind.
                        Secretary          Frank Shively, Anderson

A motion was made and 2nded to meet the next August at Riverside Park, Anderson, Indiana.

Business being concluded all departed for their homes thinking it a day well spent.

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In July 2002, the 1st “Cousins” reunion was held for the Descendents of Glen Roy Johnson and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson – my grandparents.  It was held at my cousin’s home outside of Dayton, Ohio and attended by all but two of the cousins and their families.

Other gatherings that we generally don’t consider “reunions” are when we are in Ohio or Missouri to visit.  This past summer most of the family gathered at my in-laws’ home to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary.  The last time most of my husband’s side of the family was together were either at funerals or the 50th Anniversary celebration of his parents.  In Ohio, most of my cousins gather together for a pot-luck meal so we can all visit.

 

News Clippings:

Amore-Wertz Reunion: Coshocton Tribune, 550 Main St., P.O. Box 10, Coshocton, OH 43812; May 5, 1927

Amore Family Has Reunion: Xenia Daily Gazette, 30 South Detroit Street, Xenia, OH 45385; August 22, 1968

Wilt Reunion: Anderson Daily Bulletin, 1133 Jackson St.; Anderson, IN 46016; September 8, 1959

Johnson-Shively Reunion: Unknown newspaper; clipping emailed from a cousin.

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There’s a running joke in my family that my dad’s side of the family are either teetotalers or they drink like a fish.  Apparently a bottle of pimentio extract caused quite a stir back in 1927.

 

I guess that not even this was allowed during Prohibition! 

Background: Stanley Amore was my great-grandfather’s nephew (1st cousin to my grandfather).  He was born in January 1880 to George Washington Amore and Catheirne Burden.  Stanley was a restauranteur, the oldest child of the family, never married, and died on September 30, 1929 at the age 49 from Bright’s Disease.  He was interred at Plainfield Cemetery in Coshocton County, Ohio.

News Clipping Source: The Coshocton Tribune and Times Age; Coshocton, Ohio; Vol. XVIII, No. 137; Front Page; Tuesday evening, January 18, 1927

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Jasia, at Creative Gene has posted the Carnival of Genealogy, 57th Edition on the theme: I Read it in the News!  I haven’t counted the number of submissions but there are quite a few!  I think there are a few who have submitted a post for the first time on a CoG! 

So scoot on over there and “read all about it”!  Try to leave comments on the ones you read!

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