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Posts Tagged ‘Wilt’

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.

**************

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.

**************************

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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Can I get in on this at this late hour?  Just today I scanned some more photos that I’ll be cleaning up & cropping to post to Find A Grave

My grandmother, Vesta (Wilt) Johnson and her brother, Clarence Wilt, at the grave of their father, Joseph Napolean Wilt, in Bethel* Cemetery near Lexington, Scott County, Indiana.  Joe died in January 1944.  When he died it had been many years since my grandmother had seen him.  My mother remembers standing “on the side of a hill” during the burial and the ground frozen solid.  This picture was taken by my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, in 1959.

Taken three years later, four of Joe’s six children, gathered at the gravesite.  One son, Jesse, had passed away in 1959 and the second oldest, John, did not travel from Oregon to Indiana.

The headstone also lists Joe’s second wife, Anna Park, and their son, Albert. 

Joseph Napolean Wilt – born January 21, 1868 died January 9, 1944
Anna Park Wilt – born April 12, 1879 d. 1941
Albert Wilt – born 1917 d. September 1933

*Other information lists the cemetery as Beswick.

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As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this blog and my regular genealogy website (All My Branches) has been instrumental in the “finding” of long lost and unknown relatives.  I attribute my good fortune to several things.

  1. The use of great keywords
  2. Submitting my sites to search engines
  3. Submitting information on key family names via message boards and queries on a variety of genealogy related sites
  4. Posting enough information about ancestors that will aid others who are searching for specific family names

Not too long into my research, I ran across a post on a message board by an Amore relative whose name was familiar to me.  Turns out, he was the son of my first cousin!  We emailed constantly and shared a wealth of information with each other.  When his father had to travel to my part of the country many months later, we were able to meet.  I hadn’t seen him since I was very little.  He also got to spend time with my sister, who he had known quite well when they were both younger.  I mailed letters to many with that last name who were living in Coshocton, and soon I was also in contact with others from my Amore branch.  Several others also found me through the website.

On my Johnson line, I had posted a query on a message board about my great-grandfather’s half brother and his children’s names.  Quite awhile later, the grand-daughter of that half-brother, contacted me after seeing her mom’s and two aunt’s names.  Since that time, we have exchanged pictures of our shared ancestors and family.  She even sent me copies of letters my grandparents had written to her mom.  Between her queries and my website we brought several more Johnson family members into touch with each other.

I have also heard from relatives I never knew existed: a daughter of an uncle; a daughter of a great-aunt; a grand-daughter of my gr-great aunt’s son; just to name a few.  I’ve also heard from those I’ve been searching for – maybe not by name, but by relation (case in point: Rachel Blazer Given’s descendents). 

In almost all of my closest family lines (Amore, Johnson, House, Wilt, Stern, Blazer, Goul, Werts) – there has been at least one distant “cousin” (sometimes closer) that has found me via the blog or website.  Sometimes I’ve heard from relatives that share a common ancestor through the Caylor, Roudebush, Hollister, Loveland, or Risley line.

So as you post information on your blog or set up your genealogy website, make sure you:

  • submit it to several search engines
  • use good keywords
  • post information to message boards or queries – not only Surname – but location and even ethnic or religious boards
  • list Surnames so they are easily found

When contacted by other researchers, sharing is wonderful – but until you know enough about who you are giving information to, make sure you privatize your gedcom files.  Also, make sure when you receive information from others (as is the case when surfing the web), take with a grain of salt any information that’s posted unless there are sources and accurate citations.

And if you happen to stumble across long lost relatives or those waiting to be found, enjoy the experience!

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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.

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The theme for the 52nd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is AGEAs family historians, we take time to carefully mark the birthdates of our forebearers. We print out family tree charts including this all-important data. We make it a point to note at what age family members have married, had children and passed away.  Take some time to look over the data that you have collected on members of your family tree, and share a story of age with us for the upcoming edition of the carnival. Do you have a member of the family who went to work to support the family while still of a tender age? Someone who accomplished something that was typically done by others beyond his or her years? A couple who married young? A couple with disparate ages? A family member who accomplished something of note at an advanced age? How about family members that lived many years, outlasting many of their relatives and friends? With the understanding that “age is often a state of mind”, share your family story about someone whose story stands out because of their age, either young or old.

I found myself thinking “what am I going to post about?”  How about some statistics concerning age within my family tree?

Marriages:

  • My parents were married when they were both 22.
  • Glen Johnson and Vesta Wilt (maternal grandparents): 18 [1916]
  • Lloyd Amore and Ella House (paternal grandparents): 21 & 20 [1903]
  • John L. Johnson and Katie J. Blazer (maternal g-grandparents): 22 & 18 [1883]
  • Joseph Wilt and Martha Stern (maternal g-grandparents): 22 & 18 [1890]
  • Henry Amore and Annie Werts (paternal g-grandparents): 20 & 17 [1872]
  • James House and Frances Ogan (paternal g-grandparents): 24 & 26 [1873]
  • James W. Johnson and Amanda Mullis (maternal g-g-grandparents): 24 & 19 [1852]
  • Frank Blazer and Malissa Goul (mat. g-g-grandparents): abt. 22 & abt. 26 [abt. 1858]
  • Isreal Wilt and Christena Nash (mat. g-g-grandparents): 29 & 20 [1857]
  • Emmanuel Stern and Nancy Caylor (mat. g-g-grandparents): 22 & 16 [1857]
  • William Amore and Charlotte Imons (pat. g-g-grandparents): 20 & 22 [1851]
  • William Werts and Louisa Bookless (pat. g-g-grandparents): 22 & 18 [1852]
  • Florus House and Julia Lewis (pat. g-g-grandparents): 25 & 23 [abt. 1838]

I didn’t go as far back as I could, but I thought that information would give a sampling.  A few things I noticed: most of the time they were married at or before age 20 or in their early 20s.  Only in two cases are the wives older than their husbands by at least a year or more.  There isn’t too many years difference between a husband and wife.  Even though the time spans over 100 years, there isn’t many changes in how old/young the couple was upon marriage.

AVERAGE AGE AT DEATH

  • Grandparents: 76 3/4 years old
  • Great-grandparents: 77.5 years old
  • Great-Great-Grandparents: 57 years old

There is a span of average age at death of almost 20 years between my g-g-grandparents’ generation and my g-grandparents’ generation.  There were several who died at a young age: Charlotte Imons died at the age of 34; William Washington Werts died at 27; Christena Nash died at 39; Franklin Blazer died at 33; Amanda Mullis died at 35. 

Then I looked at my dad’s line and discovered another interesting fact.  My Grandpa Amore’s brothers lived long lives.  Isaiah (Zade) Amore: 100;

Roy Amore: 95; Rollo Amore: 87; Herbert Amore: 93; Clarence Amore: 80.  His sister, Clemmie Amore, died at the age of 82.  Only my grandfather, Lloyd, died before the age of 80, when he was 72.  My dad’s siblings also have lived long lives: Gertrude: 98; Paul: 91; Norman: 86; Bervil: 81.  My aunt is still living and she is 99.  Only my Uncle Gail died in his 70s from cancer. 

What that tells me is that especially on my paternal side – longevity is more than likely in the genes as opposed to the environment.  For the Amore’s grew up close to coal mines and many of them lived a pretty hard life. 

All in all – age is only what we make of it.  Whether we marry young or in our maturity; have our first child young or as an older, more patient parent.  If we live very long lives, are we making the most out of our time or just passing through?

(Photos: Top – Henry and Annie Amore; Center Right: Emmanuel and Nancy Stern)

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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

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