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There were several deaths that occurred within my extended and distant family in 2010.  People I knew and loved really well and others that I had never met but had been important to one of my parents.

Daniel J. Dalton
Danny was my cousin by marriage. I was not quite four when he and my first cousin married and honored me by having me serve as their flower girl.  Most of my life, Danny always made me feel as if we were blood relatives. He was so kind and gentle – that was just who he was.  Before their own child was born, he and my cousin would have me over for the weekend.  My cousin lost the love of her life, their daughter lost her devoted dad, the whole family lost a cherished family member and friend, and the grandkids lost their beloved Poppy on June 27, 2010.

Marie E. (Amore) Quirk
My Aunt Marie (whom I’ve posted about before) turned 101 on May 21.  Four months later she passed away – on September 3.  She was my dad’s older sister and the third child and second girl born to my grandparents.  Marie was born in Roscoe, Coshocton County, Ohio and after high school she went to the Salvation Army College in New York.  Marie married and had a daughter.  Many years later she married again.  Her entire life was devoted to her family, the Salvation Army and the Lord.  As a child, I always looked forward to seeing Aunt Marie – whether it was at a reunion, a visit to our house, or when we visited her in Philadelphia.  She entertained the little ones with puppet shows.  The last time I saw her, I was about 10 but as an adult when I began my journey into family history, she was the first person I re-connected with and who sent me quite a bit of information.  For a short time she would call and talk to me or use her computer class to email me.  I truly treasured such a special woman. 

Norma I. (Henderson) Shackelford
Norma was my cousin by marriage.  She married my first cousin’s son.  I hadn’t seen her since I was about 7 or 8 but when my cousin (her husband) and I began corresponding about 10 years ago, he would always keep me in the loop as to what she was up to.  After my Aunt Marie passed away, I was doing a google search for their address and ran across Norma’s obituary.  I was very saddened to hear of her death.

Evelyn Joan (Korns) Amore
Joan was the wife of my first cousin once removed.  I only knew her through email correspondence.  She passed away on December 27 and left behind five children and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Loretta Jean (Jennings) Ruble
She was my 2nd cousin once removed and someone I had never met. She was born in Coshocton. She married her husband, Dale, in Kentucky in 1947 and died on May 18.

May they all be remembered by their closest friends, family members and loved ones.

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Last fall while I was looking at and for headstone photos and entries on Find A Grave, I decided to put in a request for photos of my great-grandparents’ graves in Pendleton, Indiana. A very kind lady answered my request immediately. Not only did she take photos of the graves of Melissa (Goul) and Frank Blazer but several of Melissa Goul’s family members. She also went to the library and dug up some information to send to me.

A Pendleton newspaper account from October 1873 mentioned that my 2nd g-grandfather, John Blazer (father of the Franklin Blazer from above), died on August 27, 1873 being between 69 and 70 years old. Remarks by family members that were overheard by John’s brother, Samuel Blazer, caused him to approach the coroner, G.W. Maynard, with his suspicions that John was poisoned. The newspaper did not reveal the first name of the Blazer who Samuel accused. That accusation led the coroner to request an exhumation of John’s remains. After which the contents of the stomach were sent away for testing. At some point later, another Pendleton newspaper account mentioned that no poison had been found. The officials did have a problem though – who was going to pay the $350 for the doctor’s bill?

Analysis: The information giving the name of Samuel as the brother of John Blazer was one more piece of corroboration that I had been researching the “correct” Blazer family.

Another Pendleton newspaper article dated September 25, 1903 reported that Franklin’s brother, George Blazer, committed suicide by ingesting poison.  (Note: the article has misspelled the surname as “Blazier” – however, even my maternal grandfather, whose mother’s maiden name was Blazer, often spelled her relatives’ names with an “i”.)  This article gave several pertinent pieces of information:

  • George’s residence: 610 West 12th Street in Pendleton, Indiana.
  • Past occupation: Drayman.
  • Character: he had taken to drinking “hard” and become despondent.
  • He was married and had “several” children.

Apparently, as reported, George had purchased 10 cents’ worth of carbolic acid from a drug store after he had gone to the meat market for steaks.  It was also mentioned that he had threatened suicide a number of times due to his despondency.  On the day of the suicide, he and his son had an argument while his wife went to cook the steaks.  It was during the disagreement that he took out the bottle and “threw the acid down his throat before he could be prevented.”  The dr. was called right away but George could not be saved.

Documented information about George:

  • George is 5 years old, living in his parents’ household (John and Mary Ann Blazer) in the 1850 US Census.  They are residing in Fall Creek, Madison County, Indiana.  The record shows that George attended school within the year.
  • In the 1860 US Census he is found at age 14 living in his parents’ household (John and Mary A. Blazer) in Fall Creek Twp, Madison County, Indiana and had been in school within the past year.
  • The 1870 US Census shows G.W. Blazer living in Anderson Twp, Madison County, Indiana.  He is age 26, a Farmer, lists a value of real estate as $1200 but nothing for personal estate, born in Indiana, and a male citizen age 21 years or over.  Living in the household are wife Amanda, daughters E.J. and M.M., son J.W., and three other people (M. Judd, A.M. Judd, and Jas Webb).
  • Two headstones in Grovelawn Cemetery in Madison County, Indiana list sons of G.W. and Amanda Blazer.  One is for John W. Blazer who died on December 24, 1874 age 4 years, 10 months, 6 days.  The other is for James Albert Blazer who died on June 3, 1876.
  • The family is still residing in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana for the 1880 US Census.  George W. Blazer is 35 and married.  His listed occupation is Teamster.  Also in the household is wife, Amanda, daughters Estella and Margaret, and a boarder, William Caton. 
  • In the 1900 US Census, George Blazer continues to reside in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  He is 55 years old and lists his birth as Sep 1844 in Indiana.  He has been married 37 years.  His occupation is Day Laborer but he has been unemployed for 2 months.  His wife Amanda lists her birth as March 1845, age 55, mother of 4 with only one surviving.  Also in their household is their grandson, Willie, age 15 born June 1884 in Indiana.  He is also a day laborer but had been unemployed for 3 months.
  • His headstone is located in Grovelawn Cemetery in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana.

A Pendleton newspaper (handwritten on the copy was 7-30-97) lists the account of the suicide of John Blazer.  He was the oldest son of Franklin and Melissa, born on September 17, 1859.  He married Sarah Manis on January 2, 1897 in Madison County, Indiana.  The newspaper account states that his wife sent a telegram from Knighstown, Indiana – where they resided – to a family named “Lawson” that “Johnny shot and killed himself” that morning.  The short article concludes with the information that he was “well known.  He was an erratic fellow” and had “considerable trouble in court.”

Documented evidence for John Blazer:

  • He was listed in the 1870 US Census living in his mother’s household (who was a widow by then), in Fall Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana at age 11.  He was listed as born in Indiana.
  • At age 21 he is still living in Melissa’s household in the 1880 US Census in Stony Creek Township, Madison County, Indiana with his birth listed as Indiana.  His occupation is a farmer.
  • The index to the Marriage Record of Madison County for the years 1880-1920 lists the marriage of John F. Blazier (notice the “i” in the surname again) to Sarah E. Manis as January 2, 1897 on page 352 of book 6.
  • His headstone is located in Grovelawn Cemetery in Pendleton, Madison County, Indiana.

Observation: John and Sarah were married not quite 7 months when he committed suicide.  No children were born of this union.

It is very sad that two members of this family chose to end their lives rather than face whatever caused them such turmoil and despair and a third member was thought to have been poisoned by another family member.  I often wonder what circumstances surrounded this branch of the Blazer family that created such suspicions and desperation.

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(Continued from The Box)

After I had opened the box, unwrapped the tissue paper to find my mom’s baby sister’s bonnet and removed the tissue paper, I saw a calendar at the bottom of the box.

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Carefully I lifted out the Calendar from 1927 and slowly flipped the pages.  When I found the month of June, there were notes on the page in my grandmother’s handwriting.

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June 9: Baby born – 10 a.m. hospital – 3# 4 – Lois Evelyn

June 13: 2#s 5

June 16: I came home – left baby

June 25: Fabitis

Week of June 26: Baby gaining back

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July 9: 3-4 1/2

July 15: I came home

July 16: Baby home – 3# 6

July 23: 3# 12 1/2

July 30: Same

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August 1: 3# 12 1/2 oz

August 6: 4 – 3

August 13:  4 – 7

August 20: 4 – 12 1/2

August 27: 4 – 7

August 30: 4 – 5

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September 3: 4 – 7

September 10: 4 – 8

September 12: cow’s milk

September 15: 4 – 13

September 17: 4 – 7

September 19: 4 – 5

September 22: SMA, 4 – 4

September 28: Back to hospital at 9 pm

September 30: Died at 5 pm

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October 2: We buried our dear baby 3 months, 3 weeks

October 18: At Hospital

October 20:  Operated for appendicitis & perineal op

October 22: Real ill

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Lois Evelyn Johnson’s Death Certificate

Birth: June 9, 1927
Death: Sept 30, 1927 at Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio
Normal residence was in Fairfield (now part of Fairborn), Greene County, Ohio
Female, White, Single
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio
Age at Death: 3 months, 4 days (this is incorrect just based on dates)
Father: Glenn (spelling incorrect) Johnson, born Anderson, Indiana
Mother: Vesta Wilt, born Noblesville, Indiana
Informant: Glen R. Johnson, Fairfield, Ohio
Death occurred at 6 pm
Cause of Death: 7 mo. premature birth; summer diarrhea, malnutrition
Place of Burial: Fairfield Cemetery, Oct 3rd 1927

It appears – based on calendar notes – that my grandmother was very vigilant about checking Lois’ weight and even changing what type of nutrition she was receiving.  Lois probably started out being breast-fed and then when she failed to gain enough, was switched to cow’s milk.  She did appear to gain some weight but then started to taper off again.  My grandmother then switched her to SMA Formula but that didn’t seem to help.  I believe the X’s at certain dates of Lois’ life probably indicated either the beginning of diarrhea or a dr. appointment. 

Talking to my mom a year ago, I discovered that Lois had been able to go home from the hospital.  I was always under the impression that she had to remain there.  Mom had told me that her baby sister had been put next to a heat source in order to keep her body temperature up. 

Lois Evelyn didn’t remain at Fairfield Cemetery.  Years later a family had lost their children in a fire (or some other calamity) and a call went out through the community for burial plots or money to help bury the children.  My grandparents gave up their plots and decided to remove their baby daughter to the cemetery they had chosen would be their final resting place.  Mom had told me several times the gruesome tale of how my grandmother had wanted to see her baby daughter one more time after she was disinterred and asked that her casket be opened.  Apparently she was pretty well preserved until the air touched her remains.  Lois was then interred – permanently – at Glen Haven Memorial Gardens in New Carlisle, Ohio.  Almost 40 years after she died, her parents joined her in eternal rest (in 1984 and 1985).  Now, though unfortunate, most of the family is together – lying close together in a very peaceful setting: Lois’ oldest brother and her next to oldest sister (my mother).  My aunt, the oldest daughter, is buried several miles away in the community’s Catholic cemetery.

Medical technology has come such a long way since 1927.  If Lois Evelyn had been born within the last 10-15 years, she would probably be well cared for and received the right nutrition.  Her gastric distress was probably due to her prematurity and she may have been placed on a feeding tube or receive IV nutrients. 

My grandmother spoke of Lois Evelyn often.  She never stopped mourning her last born child.  She had shown me one picture of the little one lying on a blanket.  I’ve not seen that photo again.  The picture I do have, I will not post.  It is her final picture – in her casket at her funeral.  A banner reading “Our Baby” is draped above her on the lid.  She was very, very tiny.  And for all these years, she’s been an angel.

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Rest in Peace, Lois Evelyn

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I had intended to write a series of posts on Wading Into the Unknown (Death, Dying and the Legal System) – however, I’m changing my focus a little bit. Much of what I had thought about writing was too personal.  Therefore, I’ll dispense with that and give some things that I’ve learned as I dealt with my mother’s health crisis, death and all that stuff that comes afterwards.

  1. Make sure your loved one (parent, in-laws, grandparents, spouse) has a LEGAL will.  Not a form book they have filled out.  Not something they’ve written.  Not something they’ve videotaped.  They need to see an attorney and have one drawn up!  And if you haven’t done this yet – let your fingers do the walking TODAY!
  2. Do NOT under any circumstances make the beneficiaries of your life insurance policies – your estate!  This complicates things like you would not believe!  Make sure your loved one has listed their spouse, surviving children or grandchildren, just SOMEONE!
  3. And if you really want to make sure your loved one’s estate (or your’s) stays out of probate – make sure all property (real estate, property, cars, etc.) is Transferred On Death.  Bank accounts should be Paid On Death.  If not – the whole world can find out how much you (or your loved one) was worth at death.  Probate records are open to the public.
  4. Have your loved one make a list of items in their home along with who they are to go to.  Do not under any circumstances write something like “if they don’t want it, sell it.”  (If you do #1 this will not happen – however, if you don’t want Brother A to get the antique toy truck and you want it to go to your grandson – you better put it in writing.)
  5. And for this – I’m talking directly to you – start cleaning out all that “stuff” you’ve been keeping.  Do you use it?  Have you used it recently (like the last 6 months – 1 year)?  Does it still have a use?  Does anyone want it?  Each time something comes in – something must go out.
  6. Keep items that go together – together!  It is very frustrating to clean out one room and either trash an object or send to charity only to find several days later in another room a part that went with Object #1! 
  7. If you do #1 – have an attorney draw up a legal will – make sure that you (or your loved one) makes it clear who the executor (or executrix – if it’s a woman) is and that they do not have to post a bond.
  8. Review and update your will as situations change – you sell your home, you add or subtract insurance policies, etc.
  9. Keep ALL important documents – insurance policy numbers, safe deposit box information, bank account information in a safe location – at least all in one location – along with where the actual policies are. Do not put one thing here, the other in a another closet, etc.  Make it very clear if a policy is still in force or if that annuity is still active.
  10. Ask – or write down – final wishes.  Just because you’ve mentioned it (or heard it from loved ones) in passing, doesn’t mean it will be remembered or executed.  Where exactly will the final resting place be? 

Yes, these are difficult things to do or talk about.  Some people are afraid if they bring it up to their parents, it will appear as if they are greedy or fishing for how much money or possessions they will receive.  Alleviate that concern by letting your loved one know that you don’t need to know that information – just that it’s done.  Explain the ramifications if these items above aren’t taken care of.

  1. The estate will go to Probate
  2. The person who they expect to execute the estate probably will not be appointed unless they happen to live right there. (Some states will not allow an out-of-state resident to execute the estate).
  3. All tangible and intangible possessions and property will be appraised and sold in order to pay off debts, the attorney, the administrator, and then dispersed to the family – the way the law of the state requires.
  4. Arguments can ensue over who should get the china, the linens, the silver, or even that dusty old statue that has sat on top of the buffet forever.

I hope some of these suggestions have helped – or at least begin a conversation.

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Over the last several months, I’ve found myself in a similar position as that of my ancestors prior to me.  The reality that a loved one’s life will be ending.  Of course we all know that death will be the final outcome for all of us and for all of those we love, and when it is an expected death, we generally have the knowledge we can say our good-byes and have one last visit.  The expectation is still very difficult to face as we begin to second guess the doctors’ treatments, the guilt of not being there more often, or for not having more control over everything.

Guilt usually plays a larger part than we like to think it does.  Should I have called more?  Should I have tried to visit more often?  Should I have made sure all the final arrangements were made?  Should I have made sure all the legalities were addressed?  How long do the questions continue?  For what length of time should I dwell on the negative?

Not wanting to seem unfeeling or cold or that it didn’t matter, I had to put the guilt aside almost immediately after my mother’s death.  I chose to live 900 miles away.  I did call every day.  I couldn’t have taken a more active role in her health care unless I had lived closer.  Now, the legal stuff – well that’s another question altogether.

Thanks to my sister (especially), my mother was able to die at home – just where she wanted to be.  She did not linger on for days and days – something she truly did not want.  She had her family at her side – obviously what she wanted.  And she wasn’t in any pain and was very peaceful – something she had hoped.

Knowing death is imminent and being there when it happens, is two very different things.  However, we were able to rejoice that she was no longer suffering; no longer fighting to hang on to life where the quality had decreased; no longer frightened of death.  As Christians, we know she is with our Lord and Savior, and is now one of our many Guardian Angels who has gone on before us.

I have extended my sympathies to others who have lost a parent.  I have dealt with the loss of a sibling.  Yet, until the loss of a parent happens to you, there is no amount of empathy you can have – because you have not felt that pain or loss.  It has been almost two months since my mother passed away.  I miss talking to her each day.  I want to tell her about my daughter’s new home, the heat we are experiencing, or how ridiculous I’m discovering the legal system can be – but I can’t do that in person anymore.  I really am okay – even though some have told me that I’m not okay.  I know where Mom has gone, and I know she is with me each day.  I know she’s in a much better place.  Will I miss her for the rest of my life?  Of course I will.  But being okay is what she would have wanted for her family.

I owe my mother thanks for the courage I have found in the face of her death.  Due to the strength she had modeled for me amidst the storms life had thrown at her over her lifetime, I found my own strength to prepare for and move forward at the time of this crisis.

Coming: The Journey (Part 2)

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Sneak Peak

As most of you have learned, I recently returned home after being away for over a month.  I had gone to Ohio for a week over Easter while my mother was in the hospital and returned the end of April just before she passed away.  I spent most of May cleaning out her home and trying to make sense of what she had kept for so many years.

I wrote many months ago about some of the treasures I had come across early in my genealogy quest – letters my grandparents wrote to each other, old photos, and more.  And I incorrectly assumed there wouldn’t be much more to add – boy was I wrong!

Not only did I find more old photos, but I found my grandparents’ framed marriage certificate that had hung on their bedroom wall most of my growing up years, as well as marriage certificates of my great-grandparents!  It will take me quite a while to go through all the documents I discovered not to mention the hours of scanning that will be involved.

First, I must clean out my own clutter.  I’ve made a head start on that – but have much more to do before I feel that I’ve accomplished the goals I’ve set for myself.  And due to that reason, I’ll be slow to post some of my exciting finds.

I also want to write a multi-part post about my recent experiences as I navigated the whole death, dying, saying good-bye, final preparations, and the Ohio legal system.  Stay tuned – and thanks for sticking around!

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Born on March 5th:

  1. Mercy WEBSTER - 1781 – Connecticut. Daughter of John Webster and Elizabeth House.  3rd Cousin 5 times removed.
  2. Susannah ROUDEBUSH – 1793 – York, Pennsylvania.  Daughter of Jacob Roudebush and Anna Rickstacker.  4th Gr-Grandmother.
  3. Peter B. BUSHONG – 1836 – Logan County, Ohio.  Son of John Bushong Jr. and Rachel Van Vooris.  3rd Cousin 5 times removed.  Samuel Colt manufactures the 1st pistol, a 34 Caliber “Texas” model.
  4. Cyrus Nathan NICHOLSON – 1862.  Son of Perry Nicholson and Dinah Coddington.  5th Cousin 3 times removed.  Union troops under the command of Brig. General Wright occupy Fernandida, Florida.
  5. William Lloyd AMORE – 1882 – Coshocton County, Ohio.  Son of William Henry Amore and Mary Angelina Werts.  Paternal Grandfather.
  6. Henry PETERSON – 1886 – Henry County, Ohio.  Son of Elias Peterson and Harriett Mary House.  4th Cousin once removed.
  7. Viola WILSON – 1887 – Thomas County, Kansas.  Daughter of Charles Bennet Wilson and Clarissa Nicholson.  6th Cousin twice removed.
  8. Marjorie Alice SOWERS – 1922 – Hamilton County, Indiana.  Daughter of Frank Sowers and Effie Wiles.  Wife of 4th Cousin once removed.  Berlin shows the premiere of “Nosferatu”.

Died on March 5th:

  1. John Flavel HOUSE – 1869 – Hartford County, Connecticut. Born May 1798.  Son of Matthew House and Lois Hubbard.  1st cousin 5 times removed.
  2. John S. RUEBUSH – 1914.  Born Oct. 1844. Son of George Ruebush and Mary Catherine Moyers. 3rd Cousin 4 times removed.
  3. Mary Jane WERTS – 1917 – Lucas County, Iowa.  Born Mar. 1835.  Daughter of George Peter Werts and Margaret Maple. 2nd Great-grandaunt.  Victor Records released first jazz recording on that label.
  4. Virginia “Jennie” MAPHIS – 1933 – Shenandoah County, Virginia. Born June 1845.  Daughter of  Joseph and Mariah Maphis. Wife of 2nd Cousin 5 times removed.   The Nazi party in Germany wins the majority in Parliament.
  5. Frances Elaine HUFFMAN - 1943.  Born Aug. 1909.  Daughter of William Emmet Huffman and Elizabeth Catherine Link.  5th Cousin twice removed.  Royal Air Force bombs Essen, Germany and there are anti-fascist strikes in Italy.
  6. George Harold STERN – 1950 – Washington.  Born Nov. 1911.  Son of George Earl Stern and Susie Irene Woodworth.  2nd Cousin once removed.
  7. Anna Elizabeth BUSHONG – 1966.  Born Apr. 1880.  Daughter of Andrew Jackson Bushong and Amanda Fultz.  4th Cousin 3 times removed.  The United States performs a nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site.

Married on March 5th:

  1. Zenus NICHOLSON and Mary FISHER – 1838.  Zenus – son of Jonathan Loveland Nicholson and Elizabeth Swingle.  4th Cousin 4 times removed.
  2. Samuel W. FELLER and Martha Ann BUSHONG – 1857.  Martha – daughter of Henry M. Bushong and Mary Ann Wendel.  2nd Cousin 5 times removed.

**Historic events from Scope Systems Anyday in History.

Boston Massacre: In 1770 British sentries who were guarding the Boston Customs House shot into a crowd and killed three people and injured eight. 
(Source: Library of Congress – Today in History)

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When I set out on the journey to discover family origins, I was thrilled by some of the information I found.  My paternal grandmother had a sister?  No one ever mentioned her before.  Of course Gramma Amore had already passed away before I was born so there wasn’t any reason for me to ask if she had siblings.  Not only did I learn that she had seven siblings but she had three half-siblings born of her father’s first marriage.

As I researched my grandmother’s parents and brothers and sisters, I learned that her older sister, Julia, had been named after my grandmother’s grandmother – Julia Ann Lewis House.  And so it had been with her oldest brother – named after his grandfather – Florus Allen House.

So what became of Julia, I wondered.  My first clue about her came from my aunt.  She sent me some copies of Julia’s high school graduation program with a note that

Her name was on the program twice so she must have been smart.  She died young in childbirth.  I have never found out if the baby survived, but never hearing about it, I presume he didn’t . . . .  I guess she was dead before I was born because I never remember seeing her.

I found Julia’s marriage information listed on page 375 of the Coshocton County Marriages, 1811-1930; compiled from marriage records, Probate Court, Coshocton County, Ohio by Miriam C. Hunter, and published by the Coshocton Public Library in 1967.

percy_julia_tuttle_marriage

Percy J. Tuttle and Julia A. House were married on Christmas Day in 1906.  Further searching led me to a newspaper article about their wedding.  From the Coshocton Daily, printed on December 26, 1906:

House-Tuttle Wedding.
Twenty-five friends and relatives were gathered at the home of James W. House on East Main street on Christmas night to witness the marriage of Miss Julia A., daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James E. House, and Mr. Percy Tuttle of Cleveland, Ohio. The ceremony was performed by Elder B. S. House of the Adventists church at 8 o’clock, the wedding couple being attended by Miss Carrie Leach and Mr Herman Irons, marched to the strains if Mendelssohn’s wedding march played by Miss Inez Waite and took their places under a beautiful arch. After the ceremony a sumptious supper was served. The bride was tastefully dressed in white silk draped in chiffon and the groom in the customary black. This evening Mr. and Mrs. Tuttle leave on the W. & L. E. for Cleveland for a few days visit with the groom’s parents. They then go to Mt. Vernon to take charge as manager and matron of the Mt. Vernon Hospital and Sanitarium.  Many beautiful wedding presents were received as the gifts of friends. Those present were Mr. and Mrs. James E. House, Mr. and Mrs. Allen Conger, Mr. and Mrs. Gray, Mr. and Mrs. John W. House, Mr. and Mrs. Sylvester Randles, Mrs. Bertha Rogensparger, Messrs. Floris House, Lester House of this city, Mr. and Mrs. Loyd Amore of Roscoe, Mr. and Mrs. B. L. House of Trinway, and Mr. and Mrs. R. T. Ragsdale, manager and matron of the Newark Sanitarium; Misses Carrie Leach, Inez Waite, Gloria Franklin, Mr. Herman Irons also of the Newark Sanitarium and Miss Grace Kline of the Mt. Vernon Hospital and Sanitarium.

A few things popped out at me as I read that article.  One – Julia wore a dress that seemed to be the equivalent of modern wedding attire as did her groom.  That told me that either her mother, Frances, was able to procure material and sew the dress or it was purchased and probably at a price not many people paid for wedding clothes then.    My great-grandfather had filed for a pension on his Civil War service as he had become infirm and wasn’t able to work or farm.  Had the family been very frugal in their living that they were able to afford material or the dress?  Had the dress been a hand me down from a previous relative? Or had Julia, herself, scrimped and saved in order to buy such a luxurious dress?

The other item that jumped out at me was it appeared that Julia had some sort of training in the medical profession since she and her new husband had been hired to run the Mt. Vernon Hospital and Sanitarium which was a tuberculosis hospital at the time.  Again I wondered where the money had come from for her to have had training in this field.  Or did she really have formal training or a series of “first aide” classes that qualified her?

More research led me to articles on her death.  The following is from page 3 of the November 28th, 1907 edition of the Coshocton Weekly Times, Coshocton, Ohio.

Mrs. Julia Tuttle Dies At Defiance
The family of James House, living in the eastern part of the city received a message at two o’clock this afternoon from Defiance conveying the sad news that their daughter, Mrs. Julia Tuttle had just died in that city as the result of child birth. Mrs. Tuttle was formerly a trained nurse in this city and was conducting a sanitarium at Defiance. She was about 27 years of age. The brothers and sisters of the deceased left for Defiance at once to attend the funeral.

And on the same day, this was published in the Coshocton Age, Coshocton, Ohio:

Sad Death at Defiance
Coshocton relatives received the sad news Saturday of the death of Mrs. Julia House Tuttle at her late home in Defiance. Mrs. Tuttle was just past 27 years of age and was born in this county; she was graduated from the Roscoe high school and after that took a nurses’ training in hospitals in Cleveland and Newark. She was married last Christmas day to Mr. P.J. Tuttle and their only child died a few days ago after having lived but a few hours. Mrs. Tuttle’s death was caused by blood poisoning.
She is survived by her husband, her parents, Mr. and Mrs. James E. House of North Eleventh street, the following brothers and sisters, John, James W., Floris, Mrs. Ella Amore, Lester and the following half-brothers and sisters Mrs. Lucinda Conger Mrs. Bell Ruby and E.F. House all living in this county. She was also a cousin of Elder House of the Seventh Day Adventists church.
The arrangements for the funeral have not been made.

Those articles answered my question on her training.  Julia had taken nurses’ training in Cleveland – which is probably how she met her husband, Percy.  Their child – neither article mentioned if it was a son or daughter – had died soon after birth.  Julia, herself, had died as a result of the complications of child birth and had blood poisoning.  That information leads me to wonder if she perhaps was Rh Negative and her child was Rh Positive.  Or did she acquire an infection while in labor or giving birth that resulted in her untimely death.  Was the infection passed on to the baby or was this a premature birth?  All questions that may be forever unanswered. 

I didn’t find anything about her funeral but I do know that she is buried at Prairie Chapel in Coshocton County.  She shares a plot with her younger brother, Charles, who died in 1896 at the age of 12, and her parents who died years after her.  No mention of her child is on her tombstone.

julia-house-tuttle-side-of-stone

And a close up of her inscription.

juliatuttleinscription

So what became of Percy, I wondered.  Did he remarry?  Have other children?  In the 1920 Census, he and his wife, Adeline, were living at 12317 Osceola Ave. in Cleveland, Ohio.  There weren’t any children listed as living with them.  Percy was a nurse in Private Practice. Then I found his death certificate that recorded his death as March 26, 1932 at the age of 51 years, 10 months, 6 days of interstitial acute nephritis brought on by uremia.  He was listed as a Graduate Nurse who was self-employed. 

pjtuttle

Did Percy ever set out to become a Medical Doctor?  Or did he choose to be a nurse when such things as male nurses weren’t something you saw all the time?  Was he the equivalent of the modern day Nurse Practitioner?  How much education had he received?  How long had he and Adeline been married?  Had they borne children?  Did he ever get over the death of his first wife or that of his first born child?

Many questions will go unanswered but I feel as if I’ve learned more about my grand-aunt, Julia Ann House.

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Many times when we find an obituary of an ancestor or a member of a collateral family, we skim over the details without really taking it apart.  I will list some obituaries that I have found or that I have copies of and analyze them part by part.

ONE:

Funeral Services for John Lafe Johnson – Full name was John Lafayette Johnson, his nieces and nephews called him Uncle Lafe as there were many in the family named “John”.  The inclusion and shortening of his middle name was to make sure that extended family knew precisely that this was their family member.

age 78 – Age is given so if there is another member of the community with a similar name, this information would be enough to differentiate them.

former resident of Anderson – He had lived in Anderson most of his life and was well known in that town, however he had not lived in that location for about 9 years.  This information shows he still had family ties in that locale.

who died Sunday – Day of the week instead of the actual date.

at the home of a son, Glen Johnson, of Fairfield, O. – where the death took place.  By saying “a” son, this seems to indicate that John had more than one son - which he did - however, the oldest, Letis, had been deceased for many years.  This also gives the name of the son and where he lived.

will be held today at 2 p.m. in the Bob Waltz funeral home with the Rev. James H. Welsh, pastor of the East Lynn Christian Church in charge. – Day, time and location of funeral services.  Provides information on what type of officiant will be handling the service.  By naming a minister of a particular church, this is one way to deduct that the deceased had some affiliation either with the Pastor, that particular church, or that denomination.

Burial will be in Maplewood Cemetery. - Location of burial.  No city is listed indicating that it is in the same city as the newspaper location (Anderson, Indiana).

The body will arrive at the funeral home this morning. – Indicates death took place in another location and the deceased will be transported to the funeral home this same morning.

Questions I have after reading this one include:

  • How many children did John Johnson have?
  • Who were his survivors and how are they related?
  • What was his wife’s name?
  • Was she still alive or had she died?
  • Why was John at his son’s home?
  • Why was that particular minister in charge of the funeral?
  • Was he a member of the Christian Church in Anderson, Indiana?
  • What was the exact date of death?
  • Had John been ill?
  • Was his death sudden?
  • Was he a native of Anderson or had he been born somewhere else?
  • Who were his parents?
  • What occupation(s) had he held in his life?

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

TWO:

This clipping is very similar to ONE except for a four things.  First: It states in bold headlines that “Johnson Funeral To Be Wednesday”.  This suggests that the obituary ran at least a day or two prior to the funeral as opposed to ONE, which suggests the funeral is that same day.  Second: Throughout the clipping, it also states Wednesday as the day of the funeral.  This answers the question – what day of the week the funeral will be held. Third: this obituary states “East Maplewood Cemetery” instead of just Maplewood.  This details the exact cemetery (as there is a West and East).  Fourth: Adding on to the last sentence it states, “to lie in state until the hour of the funeral.”  Now it is learned that the body not only will be transported to the funeral home, but there will be a time when visitors may pay their respects to the deceased and family until time for the funeral.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

THREE:

I also have the original typewritten copy that my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, prepared for the obituary.  It reads:

JOHN LAFAYETTE JOHNSON, son of James W. and Amanda Johnson (nee Mullis) was born March 2, 1861 in Rush County, Indiana. His early boyhood was spent in and around Rushville and Kokomo, Indiana. While a very young man he settled in Madison County, near Anderson, Indiana. On July 4, 1883 he was married to Katie J. Blazer. To this union were born two sons, Letus W. and Glen R. In 1910 a foster daughter, Eva, came to bless the home. Letus, the older son, passed away in 1915. Shortly after coming to Anderson, Indiana, in 1889, to make their home they became identified with the Central Christian church and continued as active members until leaving there in March, 1930, due to illness of Mrs. Johnson, to make their home with their son Glen and family at Fairfield, Ohio. On May 20, 1930, Mrs. Johnson passed away and Mr. Johnson continued Living with his son until his death on May 28, 1939. In 1889 he entered the employ of American Steel and Wire Company at Anderson. In 1904 he entered business for himself as a fruit and vegetable peddler. After taking up his residence in Fairfield, he continued to sell fruit and vegetables during the spring and summer month, until the fall of 1938. Since January this year he had been in failing health, but did not become seriously ill until last Friday and died at 10:30 A.M., Sunday, May 28th, at the age of 78 years, 2 months, and 26 days. He leaves to mourn his passing his son Glen R. and daughter Mrs. Eva Skinner of Fortville, Indiana, and 4 grandchildren.

Extra details given include:

  • Parents names, including maiden name of his mother
  • Date and place of birth
  • Locales of his youth
  • Date and to whom he was married
  • Names of his children, including details about one son being deceased and what year and that his daughter was a “foster” daughter and the date she came to live with the family.
  • Year that he settled with his family in the town of Anderson.
  • Church he joined and was affiliated with.
  • Reason he and his wife left Anderson to move to Ohio with their son.
  • Date of his wife’s death.
  • His continuation to live with his son after his wife’s death.
  • Date of his death.
  • Year of his employment, company name, and location.
  • His own business venture and the date.
  • Continuation of his own business after moving to his son’s and the date he retired.
  • How long he had been ill.
  • Exact age at death.
  • Those family members who survive him.

If this obituary had been printed in full, I would also have these questions:

  • Is a funeral to take place?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Who will be in charge?
  • Where will he be buried?

As a genealogist, I long to find obituaries written in the form that my grandfather typed for his father.  There is a wealth of information.  More than ONE or TWOTHREE records a more accurate timeline of my great-grandfather’s life.  Many questions asked of the first two clippings are answered in the typewritten obituary.

When you discover an obituary, disect it to see if it gives you the answers to pertinent questions.  Sometimes I’ve been lucky to find not one or even two but three different obituaries for the same person.  Then I need to disect each one to retrieve details that are exactly alike and then see what is left.  More often than not, one or two items are conflicting.  Possibly a survivor’s name is listed wrong or in my great-grandfather’s case, the middle name is shortened in the newspaper clippings but his full legal name is used in the typewritten obituary.  There will always be unanswered questions, but being able to pick out each piece of information will give us a better understanding of our ancestors.

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