Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Clawson’

Postwatchletters

A couple of months ago, I pulled out some letters from my genealogy archives to read. Apparently, I missed putting one of them back and found it on the table about a week later. It was written by Dorothy Welch (my second cousin once removed) to her aunt (my great-grandmother) Martha Stern Wilt Clawson.

July 19, 1922
113 E. Ave 58
Los Angeles, Calif.
Dear Aunt Martha,
I received your letter and was certainly glad to hear from you.
Some Muncie people by the name of Cites came out here the other day to visit her brother
who is a friend of ours. They brought word to us from my grand daddy Welch.
I am awfully sorry to hear that Nellie is sick again. I wish she could come out to Los Angeles
if she has to come “west.”
I haven’t heard from Uncle Ralph since March either. I’ve wrote several letters to see what
was the matter but I never got a answer.
I bet Vesta’s children are cute I certainly would like to see them.
Leonore is studying her spelling now so she will pass in her grades next term.
What grade is Clifford in at school?
Well I must close this time with love,
Dorothy

The first thing that stood out for me was the date of the letter – 1922. My mother always said that she didn’t meet her grandmother until she was an adult so I assumed that Grandma Clawson had moved west before my mom was born – the fall of 1921. I really think she meant that she didn’t remember her because my mom and her family moved to the Dayton, Ohio area in 1922.  I looked up Grandma Clawson’s address on Google and the street scene shows a parking lot now at 31 W 12th Street in Anderson, Indiana. There’s a church nearby so I wonder if the house was torn down since 1922. It would have been interesting if it had still been standing.

The “grand daddy Welch” that Dorothy mentions would be Americas C. Welch. A.C. Welch married Sarah C Buzzard in 1875 in Huntington, Indiana (according to the database: “Indiana Marriages, 1811-1959″ index on FamilySearch.org). A.C. and Sarah were the parents of Dorothy’s father, George Welch.

Nellie was my grandmother’s younger sister. She was 20 years old at the time of this letter and had been diagnosed with asthma. I had been told by my mother that due to her illness, it was necessary for her to move to the western United States.  She ended up moving to the Oregon/Washington area and lived most of her adult life in Washington.

The “Uncle Ralph” that Dorothy is referring to is her mother’s brother, Ralph Clawson, and my grandmother’s cousin. He was enumerated in the 1920 Census as living in Watertown, Massachusetts in the George C Shattuck household. I know Ralph had gone in the Navy  and he would have been about 24 years old in 1922 when Dorothy was trying to reach him. In June 1923 Ralph married Olive Sundberg in Chicago, Illinois.

Vesta would be my maternal grandmother (Vesta C Johnson nee Wilt). She and my grandfather had already bore three children, my Uncle Glen R Johnson, Jr., my aunt Genevieve V Johnson, and my mom Mary H Johnson.

Leonore was Dorothy’s younger sister. At the time of this letter, Dorothy was age 16. Leonore was probably close to nine.

Clifford, my grandmother’s youngest brother, was born April 20, 1906 making him a little over 16 when Dorothy wrote this letter. The 1940 US Census shows that Clifford only completed the first year of high school (generally 9th grade) – so he was not attending school any longer. If he had remained in school, he would probably have been going into his sophomore year when school began that fall.

I am under the impression that Dorothy wrote this letter as a reply to her Aunt Martha’s correspondence to her. I haven’t run across any other letters written by Dorothy so I don’t think it was a regular occurrence.

I greatly enjoy reading old letters that were sent back and forth from family members. It enables me to glimpse a window into their lives at the time of the letter. I noticed that Dorothy didn’t volunteer very much about herself such as her social activities, friends, work, or suitors.  She also didn’t ask how her grandfather was – as after her grandmother Margaret Ellen passed away, her aunt Martha (Ellen’s sister), married her widower, W. Frank Clawson.

If you have letters or post cards like I do, a good way to understand their deeper message or the lives of the people then, is to do an analysis on them as I did with this letter.

(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

Read Full Post »

martha_stern_obituary

The above obituary was found in a letter of my grandmother’s that she had probably received from one of her siblings as it was for their mother. My best guess is that it was clipped out of the Springfield Times newspaper as it served the Leaburg, Oregon area.

Death Notices
CLAWSON – Martha Jane Clawson, passed away at her home in Leaburg, November 6, 1956, at the age of 84 years.  Born in Clarksville, Indiana, February 9, 1872, and had resided in the Leaburg area for 34 years. She was married in Anderson, Indiana,  December 31, 1910 to William F. Clawson who preceded her in death. She is survived by four sons, Clarence Wilt of Fortville,  Indiana, Jesse Wilt of Indianapolis, Indiana, John and Clifford Wlt, both of Leaburg; two daughters, Vesta Johnson of Dayton, Ohio, and Nellie Lilly of Lee’s Camp, Oregon; nine grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren. Funeral service will be held at Buell Chapel on Saturday, November 10, 1956, at 10 a.m., with Rev. C.R. Alsen officiating. Interment at Greenwood Cemetery.

clawson stone

Headstone for William F and
Martha J Clawson
Greenwood Cemetery, Leaburg, Oregon
(Photo by Glen R Johnson, original & digital
owned & in possession of Wendy Littrell,
Address for Private Use)

Read Full Post »

(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 12 – Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

clawsonstore

W.F. Clawson store in Anderson, Indiana

My maternal grandmother, Vesta Wilt, helped out in the store owned by her step-father, William Frank Clawson, prior to her marriage.  The Clawson’s store was located in Anderson, Indiana. That is about the only job outside of the home she ever had. Vesta was better known for being an excellent homemaker and making so many of her family and friends feel welcome in the homes she shared with her husband, my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson. He always held a position of importance in the military so my grandmother was always prepared to entertain other officers.

My paternal grandmother, Ella (House) Amore, worked in the Coshocton Glove factory. I don’t know if it was before she was married or after she was married with children.

mom45

Mary Amore using her knitting machine

Mom spent more time working outside of the home than she did as a full time homemaker. She worked as a bookkeeper, a seamstress, a grant writer, a secretary, and in accounting.  She didn’t complete her working “life” until 2003 – at the age of 81. With only a high school education, Mom was very fortunate to obtain some of the positions that she had. As a small child, I was lucky that she was a stay at home mom for awhile. When she did re-enter the workforce, it was as a seamstress for a drapery manufacturer. Then a few years later, she went to work for Apple Manufacturing in downtown Dayton. They worked on contracts for the U.S. Army making cargo covers among other items. It was heavy, dirty work and she didn’t get much more than what the law allowed for minimum wage. Very rarely did she have to miss work due to illness because if she had, she would not have gotten paid. She didn’t have much in common with the people she worked with. Yet she was there for almost 10 years before the government contracts stopped and the plant closed its doors. She painstakingly sent out feelers and resumes and stayed employed. Not only was she a professional seamstress out in the workforce, but Mom was a professional home seamstress. She was very good and for awhile when I was in elementary and middle school, she had regular clients who came to our home. She mainly did alterations but ocassionally would sew clothes – even our neighbor’s wedding dress. She had a knitting machine (see picture above) and took classes on how to be an instructor. Dad and I would drive her to other lady’s homes so she could teach others how to use the machine. Now that knitting machine is mine.

LMM146

Mom as a Senior Aide & Grant Writer at the Fairborn Senior Center – mid 1990s

(All photos – original and digital owned by Wendy Littrell, Address for Private Use)

Read Full Post »

Many (many!) years ago during one of my visits to my hometown, my mom pulled out a couple of small boxes of photos and told me I could take them. She and I went through them, picture by picture, in order for her to tell me who, what, when, where, etc. – because NO ONE WROTE IT DOWN! So I brought the boxes home and as the case may be – I acquired more small boxes of photos as the years progressed. After my brother passed away, his son gave me a lot of photos and memorabilia because he didn’t want it (due to an estrangement at the time of my brother’s death). Then, after my mother passed away three years ago, I ended up with what she still had.

Through the years I have scanned this photo and that. Written about this photo or that. I’ve scanned documents and letters and taken digital photos of “stuff”. In order to really see what I have, all of the papers, photos, documents, and ephemera need to be filed and cataloged. I started with just one small box of photos the other day. What I didn’t already have a digital copy of, I made one. What I had, was tagged with the who, what, when, and where (or as much as I knew!).

For the next several Thursday’s (and other days for other blog posts), I will be writing about items that were in a box. The first item is a picture of George Welch.

The caption on the front of the photo reads:

George went on a fishing trip last Sunday. There was 17 went they caught 43 fish which weighed about 600 lbs. 

This is a photo postcard and on the back it reads:

We took some pictures of the baby if they are any good we will send you some. Good Bye Your Children.

When I first read all of that, I had to figure out who George was. The postcard is addressed to Mr. F Clawson.  That would be Frank Clawson – my great-grandmother’s (Martha Stern Wilt) second husband. (He had previously been married to Martha’s sister, Margaret Ellen Stern. After Ellen died and after Martha and her husband, Joe Wilt (my great-grandfather), divorced, Frank married Martha. Frank and Ellen’s daughter, Nancy Jane Clawson, married George Welch in Anderson, Indiana on November 29, 1905 (Source – Title: Marion County, Index to Marriage Record 1866 – 1870 Inclusive Vol, Original Record Located: County Clerk’s Office Ind; Book: 165). The couple ended up in California with two daughters – Dorothy Ellen and Lenore.

What strikes me about the photo is that George is pretty dressed up – at least to our contemporary way of thinking – to go fishing. He sure is a well dressed, handsome young man!  George was born on March 24, 1885 in Plainfield, Indiana (Title: Marion County, Index to Marriage Record 1866 – 1870 Inclusive Vol, Original Record Located: County Clerk’s Office Ind; Book: 165). 

Below is a photo of Nancy as a young girl with her parents, Frank and Ellen Clawson.

Nancy would be by first cousin twice removed. (Our common ancestor would be her grandparents – Emanuel and Nancy Stern – they were my 2nd great-grandparents.)  Nancy and my maternal grandmother – Vesta Wilt Johnson – were first cousins because their mothers were sisters.

So stay tuned for the next segment of Items from a Box! I never know what I’m going to find!

 

 

Read Full Post »

I wish I could just add a photo and keep it wordless – unfortunately, I can’t!  This photo was taken on July 30, 1916 at the occasion of William Frank Clawson’s 58th birthday!  “Frank” was my maternal great-grandmother’s 2nd husband.  Standing left to right: John Stern, Frank Clawson, George Fouch. Seated left to right: Mary Stern, Martha Clawson (my great-grandmother), Mollie Fouch.

John Stern was Martha’s older brother who was married to Mary Ann Betts.  Mollie (Mary) Fouch was Frank’s sister who was married to George Fouch.  I am pretty sure this photo was taken in Anderson, Indiana, where the Clawson’s lived.

Read Full Post »

Are you in it? Are your parents in it? Who is in it that you are looking for?

As we get closer and closer to the release of the 1940 US Census, I am compiling a list of those in my family who are in it.

  • My dad – he was already in the Army Air Corps.
  • My mom – she had just turned 18 prior to the census; she was married and living in Greene County, Ohio.
  • My brother – he was a newborn.
  • My paternal grandparents: Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore. They were living in Coshocton County, Ohio.
  • My maternal grandparents: Glen and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson. I believe they were living in Greene County, Ohio.
  • My maternal great-grandmother – Martha (Stern) Clawson. She was living in Lane County, Oregon.
  • My maternal great-grandfather – Joseph N. Wilt – and his second wife – Anna (Park) Wilt. They were probably living in Scott County, Indiana.
  • My paternal great-grandmother – Mary Angelina (Werts) Amore. She was living in Coshocton, Ohio – probably with my grandparents, Lloyd and Ella.

Also, I should be able to find aunts and uncles and collateral relatives.

So who are you hoping to find?

Read Full Post »

It is with wonder and thanks that I am able to see photos of the houses that my family and ancesters have resided through time.  As I locate addresses, I look them up on Google Maps in order to see what type of terrain they may have lived amongst.  Here is the “Parade of Homes”.

clawsonstoreAt left is the home my grandmother, Vesta Wilt, spent most of her late childhood and teen-age years living in.  It also contained the store run by her step-father, W. Frank Clawson.  It was located on Arrow Avenue in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  By the early 1920s, Martha and her youngest two children (Nellie and Clifford) moved to Leaburg, Lane County, Oregon.  Their home sat off of the clawson_house_oregonMcKenzie Highway.  My grandmother didn’t visit her mother “out west” until the early 1940s.  My mom didn’t even meet her grandmother until the late 1940s – after she’d married and had two children.  My Grandma Clawson lived in this home until her death on November 6, 1956 (several years before I was born.)

jljohnson_homeThis large home on Indiana Avenue in Anderson, Indiana was my grandfather’s home for many years.  Glen Johnson is seen as a child with his parents, Katie (Blazer) and John Lafayette Johnson.  After my grandparents were married, they spent their early married years living here.  This is where my grandmother spent long hours and days waiting on letters from Glen when he was in basic training for the Signal Corps in the early months of 1918.  This is where their oldest son spent his first years while his father was in France serving his country in WWI.johnsonhome_devonshire

Glen and Vesta lived in many different locations – Fairfield, Greene County, Ohio (now Fairborn), Washington D.C., Wiesbaden, Germany, Kettering, Ohio and Dayton, Ohio.  This is one of the homes they lived in during the late 1950s.  It is located on Devonshire in Dayton, Ohio.

Henry & Annie Amore's house in Roscoe
Henry & Annie Amore’s house in Roscoe
Cobbler Shop in Roscoe
Cobbler Shop in Roscoe

 

 

My great-grandparents, William Henry and Mary Angelina (Werts) Amore lived in this house (above left) on Center Street in Roscoe, Coshocton County, Ohio.  Above right is the shed that Henry used as his Cobbler shop.  He was a shoemaker by trade.  This was also the scene of the very first Amore-Werts reunion in May 1924. 

roscoehardware
My grandparents, Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore, resided above Roscoe Hardware Store in the early years of their marriage.  lloyd-amore-houseTheir first few children were born in the apartment on the upper floor.  They also lived in these homes – one in Coshocton and one in West Lafayette, Coschocton County.westlafayettehouse One of the homes they lived in on South 7th Street was built in 1900.  It was a two story, 1259 sq. ft. home with a full basement, two bedrooms and one bath with a detached garage.
amorehouseMy parents lived here when they were stationed in Japan in the early 1950s.  They had also resided in Milwaukee; Great Falls, Montana; Cincinnati and Columbus.  When amore-house-tyndallthey left Japan, they resided at Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Florida.  They lived in this house (right) not quite a year.  My dad retired from the Air Force and they moved to what would become a suburban town outside of Dayton, Ohio.  It was in this home (below) that I grew up.
my-house

By going to the county’s tax assessor’s web site, I was able to find out the particulars of this home.  The three bedroom, 2 bath, single family residential home was built in 1958.  It has a fireplace in the living room and one in the finished basement.  Heating is by oil and it has central air.  An inground swimming pool was installed in 1967 and improved again in 1977 (after my mother and I moved out).  The person who owns the home now bought it seven years ago.  They are the fifth owner since June 1989.  I believe there was also one other owner prior to that and after my mom.  Contrary to what the Residential information states, the house does have an attic.  It’s not one to walk around in, however that is where all of our Christmas decorations were stored through the year.  It also states it has gas – which it didn’t – unless something changed since 1977.  It is on city water although it does have a sump pump and most of my growing up years, we had a well (the water was much better!).

I am still trying to figure out how to determine where to find addresses that have changed over the years in order to get more information on some of the other homes of my grandparents and great-grandparents.  When I was a young girl, our house number changed – but I’m not sure where to find out that information (any tips?). 

If you know the address and the county of the home, some of the county websites or tax assessor/auditor sites have quite a bit of detailed information on the home.  There will be informaton on taxes, square footage, the current owner, number of rooms, bedrooms and baths, and perhaps a current photo.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

One of the earliest divorces I found – one that would also impact my life – was that of my great-grandparents.  Joseph Napolean Wilt and Martha Jane Stern were married in Delaware County, Indiana on September 10, 1890.  Six children were born to this family – one son was either stillborn or died shortly thereafter.  My grandmother, Vesta, was the fifth child (the fourth who lived) and first daughter.  By the time she was ten – in 1908 – her parents had separated.  I am unsure when the divorce actually took place but it was before December 1909.  Martha had to send at least one of her sons, to her husband’s sister’s home for awhile as she didn’t have the income or money to support all of her children.  On September 19, 1908 she appeared in Judge J.H. Leffler’s Delaware County Court to appeal for child support from her estranged husband.  The judge granted her support for her three youngest children, Vesta, and her sister, Nellie, and brother, Clifford.  The judge signed a bench warrant for the arrest of Joe Wilt for non-support of children under the age of 14.  Family stories indicate that Joe really never did much to support his children and drifted from one place to another and one job to another.  What is known is that my grandmother and her siblings went for a long time before ever seeing their father again.

Martha married her sister’s widower, William Frank Clawson, on December 31, 1909.  Frank and (Margaret) Ellen Stern had six children – four dying as infants.  Between Frank and Martha, they raised their combined families together.  My grandmother used to call her step-siblings, “double-cousins”, which was a misnomer.  They were first cousins who ended up becoming step-siblings due to Frank and Martha’s marriage. 

Joe went on to marry Anna Park on July 3, 1912 in Clark County, Indiana.  They spent most of their married life in Lexington, Scott County, Indiana as indicated by the 1920 and 1930 censuses.  I have not found either Joe or Martha in any of the 1910 censuses of Indiana.  Joe and Anna had one son, Albert, born in 1917.  My grandmother did meet her half-brother once but he died in 1933 at the age of 16.  Anna died about 1942.  Joe went on to marry one last time to a lady named Susie (as referenced in his obituary). 

When Joe Wilt died in early January 1944 he was alone.  Susie had been staying in Kentucky and it was thought that Joe died from a heart attack.  Even though he hadn’t had contact with his children for quite sometime, Vesta and possibly her brother Clarence (who also lived in Indiana) and other brother, Jesse (living in Ohio), were able to attend the funeral. 

Many years later after my parents divorced, my grandmother was like a kindred spirit as she told me that she had gone through the same thing when her parents split up.  She had experienced many of the same thoughts and emotions that I had.  Witnessing first hand all the triumphs over the stigma of divorce that she had accomplished, I knew that my future would be okay.  Without ever knowing my great-grandparents, their marriage and divorce, and the affect that had on their daughter, made a profound impact on my own life.

Picture 1: Martha and Joe Wilt, sons: John, Jesse (baby), Clarence
Picture 2: Frank and Martha Clawson
Picture 3: Joe and Anna Wilt

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers