Archive for the ‘geography’ Category


(Links to previous installments at bottom of post.)

Our second day (first full day) in Anderson, Indiana began after breakfast by finding the homes where my great-grandparents (John and Katie Johnson) and my grandmother (Vesta Wilt Johnson) resided. Needless to say, the homes were either gone or it wouldn’t have been a good idea for me to step out of my car and start taking photos of houses so I dispensed with that idea. I did take a photo of the church where the Johnson’s attended and where my grandfather, Glen R Johnson, was baptized. After attending this church on Easter Sunday 1916, he met the woman he would marry – my grandmother, Vesta Wilt.


Central Christian Church, Anderson, Indiana

It was almost time for the library to open so we waited in the parking lot for awhile. My grandson was already grumbling about spending more time in a library. Unlike, the one in Coshocton, the genealogy room was upstairs and open. There was no door that shut behind us as we entered. It was also very large. Since I had promised that we wouldn’t be there more than two hours, I hurriedly began looking through books. I used my Kindle to photograph information. In hindsight, had I known that I would find a wealth of information there, I would have spent more time at the Indiana Public Library and less at the Coshocton Library. Lesson learned!

Once we left the library, we headed toward Pendleton and Falls Park. It was a beautiful day for hiking the trail, seeing the falls, and enjoying nature. We didn’t park in the main lot but at a smaller lot on the opposite side of the park. The first thing that drew my attention was the beautiful Monarch Butterfly garden.


While walking through the woods, we noticed that there were signs indicating our location which helps to not get lost! We crossed some bridges over Prairie Creek and came upon the CSX railroad bridge. The year “1910” was marked on it!


While we explored, we saw groups of people who were walking/jogging the trails and those who were setting up cameras for photos. We came out of the woods in to the main area of the park and saw many people enjoying the day. There was even a bride having photos taken. I saw some geese but couldn’t get a very close picture. The falls were beautiful!


We went back to the car the same way we had come. By then we were hot. We got back on the road and stopped for a sweet treat at Good’s Candy Shop about 2:30. Not only did they have several varieties of popcorn and candy but also hand-dipped ice cream – which is what we both chose. After we finished, we headed back to Maple Grove Cemetery. I was still looking for the graves of my great-great-grandfather’s sister – Elizabeth Blazer – and her husband – Coleman Hawkins (please go back and read “Mingling of Families and Murder” to get an insight about these relationships!) This time, when we entered the cemetery, there was a sign “No Pokemon Game Play Allowed in Cemetery.” Needless to say, there were at least 2-3 golf carts filled with college students driving around and stopping. Two cemetery security vehicles followed them and seemed to run them out of the area. A few times, security followed me until they figured out that I really was looking for gravestones! Our 30+ minutes driving around was fruitless. I decided that I just wasn’t going to find the Hawkins family or any other Blazers that day.


We drove way out in the country to Henry County where my Nash ancestors were buried. Lebanon Baptist Cemetery isn’t very big and the graves were easily found.


The photo above shows the stone of Alexander and Elsie (Minesinger) Nash. They were the parents of Christena Nash who married Israel Wilt. Christena and Israel are the parents my great-grandfather, Joseph N Wilt, and great-great-grandparents of my grandmother, Vesta C (Wilt) Johnson. That makes Alexander and Elsie my three times great-grandparents. Alexander’s inscription is on one side of the stone. To read Elsie’s inscription, I had to move some vines out of the way. A tree has grown up right in front of their stone (where “Nash” is inscribed at bottom) and is dislodging the stone from the ground.


Close to Alexander and Elsie Nash rests the headstone of Christeana Minesinger – mother of Elsie (two photos above left). There is a stone leaning on Christeana’s but I wasn’t able to tell whose it was. The photo (third from left) above indicates how close her stone is to her daughter and son-in-law. The far right photo are graves of Nash children. Unfortunately, they were very hard to read. Before leaving, I told Christeana and Alexander and Elsie that I was very glad that I could visit their final resting place and thanked them for their lives.Without them, I wouldn’t be here. My grandson snapped a photo and labeled it “Nana talks to dead people.” Yes, yes I do!

It was time to head back to Anderson. That evening we ate dinner across the road from our hotel at Steak-n-Shake close to 7 p.m. By the time we were finished eating, it was time to head back to our room and settle in for the night. I was looking forward to a fun-filled and emotional Sunday. I would be meeting a cousin for the very first time!

Next – A Day with Lynn!

To catch up on this series please go to: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six, and Part Seven.

(All photos copyright Wendy Littrell, address for private use)

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(Links to previous installments are at the bottom of this article.) The morning of July 15 found us leaving Coshocton before 6 a.m. headed south west. I wanted to get to Anderson, Indiana before the afternoon but planned a stop before leaving Ohio. My four times great-grandparents, Adam Goul and Elizabeth (Lutz) Goul, settled in Champaign county by 1817. They were buried at Treacles Creek Cemetery in Goshen township off of South Parkview Road. By the time we arrived at the cemetery, my grandson had gone back to asleep. The only parking was off the shoulder of the road so I woke him just enough to tell him I was going into the cemetery. Luckily, the photos I have seen of the headstones gave me an indication as to the area I should look.


I found them pretty quickly and took some photos. As I had done in many of the other cemeteries, I talked to them for a few moments before heading back to the car. We drove on toward Anderson, Indiana.

My mom, her older two siblings, and my grandfather had all been born in Anderson. When my mom was just a few years old, the family moved to present day Fairborn, Ohio. Ancestors on my grandmother’s side had lived in Henry county – very close to Madison county so I hoped that I could also visit where they were buried.

When we arrived in Anderson, I realized too late that the hotel sat off the road to the right of the highway, and I was in the left lane. Having lived in the Dallas area for so long, I was used to driving a bit and going around the block to my destination. That is not so in Anderson! I drove a very long way and kept thinking that surely this road will intersect with the highway again – nope, it went right over it without an exit to the highway! Even with that bit of trouble, we arrived at the hotel about 11 a.m. I knew check-in wasn’t until 3 p.m. but I had hoped that they (like the hotel in Coshocton) might let us check in early. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. I was told that it “might” be ready by 2. The first thing we did was find a place to eat – Pizza Hut. Then we drove out to Maplewood Cemetery near the college in Anderson. My grandfather’s parents and siblings are buried there – along with many of my grandfather’s cousins.

With the size of the cemetery, I stopped at the office. I explained to the lady that we were from out of state, and I had hoped to see some of my family member’s graves during the short time I was in town, but I needed to know exactly where they were buried or I would never find them. Her comment: “We really don’t do that.” Before I could pick my jaw up off of the floor, she sighed and asked me “just how many people are we talking about?” Well I knew that anything over 4 was just going to shut her down so I gave my great-grandmother’s name as I knew that some of the others were buried right next to her. The lady made the look up on the computer, retrieved a book from an inner room, and marked down her plot on a map she gave me. I also got the location for my grandfather’s foster sister, Eva’s grave. I thanked her profusely, and then we left the office to follow the map.


Top Left to Right: Letis W Johnson, Mary A Johnson, Eva L (Johnson) Skinner (my great-uncle & great-aunts)
Bottom: John L Johnson and Katie J (Blazer) Johnson – my great-grandparents

As we were driving through the cemetery looking for other graves, we saw a father and his son crisscrossing many of the roads. I stopped to ask if they were playing “Pokemon Go” – sure enough, they were but had also been visiting his parents’ graves. We thought it was humorous because many of the college students were also wandering through campus and nearby streets playing the game. Needless to say, even though one of the gravestones I was looking for was rather large and next to the road, we never found it. We did stop at the Veterans area and take pictures.


Finally, we were able to check in at the hotel. I saw several families staying there – so that always makes me feel better about safety. I had booked this place on the advice of my cousin – who I would finally get to meet in person on July 17.

Realizing just how difficult it was obtaining grave location information at Maplewood, I contacted the other cemetery – Grove Lawn – in Pendleton (a few miles down the road). I reached the Town Hall so I explained the reason for my call and was passed off to another woman. She was very helpful and told me she would call me back and email me a map once she had the graves located. It wasn’t too long when she called to apologize that the area I needed to search was the older section and those records had burned in a fire long ago. She told me to check my email for her advice along with the map.

My grandson and I headed off to Pendleton and passed Fall Creek park. I turned into one of the small lanes of the cemetery and stopped. Based on what the lady at the Town Hall told me, I suggested that my grandson head off to the section on his side of the car to start looking for gravestones. As I stepped a few feet back and looked down, there they were! As I believed on Tuesday in Coshocton, it appeared the ancestors wanted to be found!

Left side – top: Franklin Blazer & bottom: Melissa (Goul) Blazer
Right side: John & Martha Goul (Melissa’s parents)

Over a bit from Franklin and Melissa’s graves were the stones of Franklin’s brother’s family. George and Amanda Blazer are buried near three of their four children: Estella (Blazer) Dilts, John W Blazer, and James Albert Blazer.


Also, close by were two other members of the family – John F Blazer, son of Franklin and Melissa (my great-grandmother Katie’s brother), and Franklin’s father, John Blazer. There is an area without a gravestone next to the elder John Blazer, and I believe my three times great-grandmother, Mary Ann (Nelson) Blazer, is buried there.


Left: John Blazer b 1810 d 1873 / Right: John F Blazer b 1859 d 1897

Further back in the cemetery is where I located Melissa’s parents grave – John and Martha Goul. Then I saw John Goul’s brother’s gravestone. It looks like a carved tree trunk.



Above: Side of headstone for Henry Goul and Bottom: Sarah Shaul Goul

By the time we were finished at Grove Lawn, we headed back to Anderson and the hotel. After a bit of rest and relaxation, the grandson and I went down the street to eat at Cracker Barrel. After supper, the rest of the evening was spent back at the hotel in anticipation of another busy day.

Next: Day Two in Anderson and Vicinity

(Please visit the previous installments for the story up to now! Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, and Part Six.

(All photos copyright Wendy Littrell, address for private use.)

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Map of Coshocton and Roscoe

(Links to the Parts One through Five are at bottom of this post.)

Since my grandson had endured without too much complaint many, many hours stuck in the genealogy room of the Coshocton Public Library the day before, I told him that our last full day in Coshocton would be spent doing something fun. We headed in to Roscoe and before going on the tour, we went up the Hill so I could take photos of my great-parents’ home (William Henry and Mary Amore). My cousin Bill had confirmed on Tuesday that what I was correct on which house had been theirs.


The picture below is the reason I was 98% sure that this was correct.


See that little shed back there? That wasn’t just your ordinary run-of-the-mill-store-stuff-in shed. That was William Henry’s cobbler shop! Below is a cropped photo.


In a letter dated February 9, 2000 my Aunt Marie wrote: “When us kids were younger, we used to go over to Roscoe to visit my grandparents (Pop’s mother and father). Grandpa had a shoe shop in one end of the kitchen and then later he did have a little shop just down on the hill about one half block from their house.”


After I had gotten the photos I wanted, we went on back down Hill Street to where it intersected with Whitewoman Street toward the Historic Roscoe Village Visitor Center. (Whitewoman Street is named after Mary Harris who was living amidst the Native Americans in what would become the Coshocton area in the mid-1700s. You can read about her here.) I stopped mid-way at the photography studio as it hadn’t been opened when we had driven by it before. Portraits in Time Photography offers all types of photos – studio, location, family, individual, and more. They also have many costumes so you can get a photo in old period costume as a keepsake of your visit to Roscoe. I received permission from the photographer (Mary Cameron) to post the photo.


Copyright © Portraits in Time Photography (used with permission)

After we had fun doing that, we went to the Visitor Center to purchase our tickets for the walking self-guided tour. Please note that you can walk along the road in Historic Roscoe Village and enter any of the stores you want, but in order to go inside the historic buildings and have the docents give you the history, you must purchase a ticket.

Roscoe Village sprung up as a canal town in the 1830s and within the Center is a diorama of the Canal and lock system.


As we were looking at other items, we were told that the movie “Ditches of Destiny” was ready for viewing. This is a very brief history of the Canal system and those who worked it. My great-great-grandfather William Amore was a mule driver on the Erie Canal so I was excited to see the film. My grandson told me that he hoped he could stay awake because he thought it would be bo-ring – but he really enjoyed it! I learned exactly what role a mule driver played giving me a better understanding of William. We were informed that there were canal boat rides on the Monticello III but decided not to do that due to the time it would take to walk to where the boat was moored and wanting to make sure we saw everything in Roscoe Village on our last day. The ticket for the canal boat ride is extra. So we finished exploring the Visitor Center. I bought a coffee mug at the gift shop. We saw a Regina Style 25 music box. On the lower level I took a photo of my grandson next to the mural, and a photo of Ohio sandstone. As we left to begin our tour, we saw the Ohio Historical Marker about the Underground Railroad Agents.


There are still some privately owned residences on Whitewoman Street that are beautifully kept. The gardens outside the Visitor Center are lovely and peaceful. We stopped at Roscoe Village Sweets & Treats. They have candy that makes you feel nostalgic for your childhood – whatever era that might be! We stopped in at The Craftman’s House which was owned by Daniel Boyd. It was built in 1825 – the oldest home in Roscoe. Boyd was a weaver and a docent worked on the loom explaining how it worked.


We stopped in at another shop, Canal Cargo just to see what they had. There were candles, a wine cellar, soaps, scarves, and much more. At Dr. Maro Johnson’s office built in 1842, we were treated to a tour guide dressed in period clothing, and who enthusiastically explained some of the surgical/medical techniques the good doctor used in the 1800s. He used both floors of the building.


When we left the doctor’s office, we went next door to his home that was built in the 1830s. We quickly saw a difference between the wealthier doctor’s home and the working class craftman’s home.


A replica of a canal boat is at the end of one side of the street – the Caldersburg Pearl. We saw it on the previous trips down Whitewoman Street but were able to go aboard with our living history tour tickets. I was excited to see it up close and personal as I knew that almost 170 years ago, my great-great-grandfather saw real canal boats up close and personal. We saw the area where the captain’s family would be, the stove to keep the occupants warm, harnesses for the horses, and learned more about what was on a canal boat. I had my grandson take a photo of me on the replica.


We stopped at the River Ridge Leather Shop and watched the owner work on some leather goods. I purchased four leather coasters. Let me tell you – it smelled so good in there! Then we went to the Annin Flagmakers Showroom and saw tons of American flags in all sizes made right there. It is located in the Daniel Carroll house built around 1850-1860 and housed a grocery store at that time.

In the one room Roscoe School, we were given information about what school was like for the children who attended. There were display cases with several items and an 1872 Steinway piano used for music.


The Calderburg Trading Company is located in the only duplex on Whitewoman Street. It was built about 1887 and today – with the wall separating the two “homes” removed, it has two front doors and two staircases. The shop boasts an assortment of women’s clothing, antiques, gifts, jewelry and more! Oh to have a lot of time to shop there!

My grandson was excited to see the Village Smithy because he has been learning how to forge from a local blacksmith.


At the Hay Craft Learning Center, we saw how brooms were made and also saw an 1870s printing press. We received a fresh print and my grandson was able to make his own print on a smaller press. I used to work for a printing company in the early 1980s so I really enjoyed seeing all of the printer’s blocks, type and the presses.


After several hours of learning about the history of the town my ancestors had settled in to live, it was time to head back to the hotel. I had laundry to do so we could pack up. The laundromat was clean and kept cool with large fans. After I posted my location on Facebook, one of my daughter’s commented that it was right next to a cemetery too! Yes, it was close to South Lawn Cemetery where we had gone two days previous! Then it was time for dinner so we went back to Bob Evans next to the hotel. One last time, my grandson chose double chocolate hotcakes to eat. I was really going to miss Coshocton and Roscoe Village. I had crammed in as much genealogy and fun as possible in the four days we were there, but it was time to head to our next destination – my mother’s hometown.

Next: Anderson, Indiana and vicinity

Please go back to Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
and Part Five if you need to catch up!

(All photos copyright Wendy Littrell – except the one by Portraits in Time Photography)



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(You can catch up with Part One, Part Two, and Part Three prior to moving on if you have not read those already.)

I was up bright and early on Tuesday, July 12, ready for an adventure I had spent the previous fifteen years dreaming about! I had contacted my first cousin once removed, Bill, in 2001 (I think!) after I found his post on a message board concerning our shared Amore family. We spent quite a bit of time emailing back and forth as we shared information and documents with each other as well as becoming family. And very soon, I would get to meet Bill and his wonderful wife, Becky, in person! By the time they drove in to the hotel parking lot, I was filled with emotion and overjoyed to be able to hug them and talk to them in person.


Bill navigated while I drove. The first place we ventured was back to Roscoe Cemetery since it was not too far from the hotel. They had been to most of the cemeteries we planned to visit. While Bill had seen my great-grandparents’ grave (William Henry Amore and Mary Angelina Werts), and I had seen a photo of the stone, it took a bit of time to find. Just about the time, we were all splitting up to look for it, I looked out the window of the car and pointed it out!


Our adventure that day took us to (these are in no particular order!) Mount Zion Cemetery, Orange (Richmond) Cemetery, Prairie Chapel Cemetery, Plainfield Cemetery, Coshocton Memory Gardens, and South Lawn Cemetery. At Mt Zion, I saw the stones for my 2nd great-grandparents – William Amore and Charlotte Reed Amore, along with their young sons and infants of William and his third wife, Elizabeth Spencer.

amore-graves-mt-zionAmore sons, Charlotte & William Amore, Oliver Amore

My 2nd great-grandparents on the House side (Florus Allen House and Julia Ann Lewis) are also buried at Mt Zion. Their gravestones were remarkably still easy to read.


Orange Cemetery – also called Richmond Cemetery – located in what used to be called Evansburg – a village in Oxford township (Evansburg does not exist any longer). To get to the cemetery, we had to cross private property. Bill indicated we should stop at the farm house to let the owners know why we were parking on their property. Becky and my grandson stayed in the car while Bill and I made our way up a hill to the cemetery. Although none of our ancestors are buried there, William Amore’s first wife is and her stone is one we hoped to see. Unfortunately, due to erosion and the fragility of the stones, Frances Price’s stone was not there. It may have been one of the many that the person mowing the cemetery had leaned next to the fence. Bill showed me where he remembered it being, and I snapped a photo of that area.


Richmond Cemetery

Coshocton Memory Gardens lies off of Ohio state highway 621 less than 15 minutes from my hotel. That cemetery is very large and mostly unshaded. With the morning sun beating down, the four of us split up in order to look for my Uncle Norman Amore. I knew he had a double stone with his wife and a military marker with flag. Passing by single stones quickly, we all took sections and walked up and down the hill. At one point, I looked up to the heavens and said, “Uncle Norman, where are you?” Just then, Becky called out that she had found him! It was back down the hill again to his stone.


I did not have Plainfield Cemetery on my list because I just hadn’t thought there would be time to go. It wasn’t that far out of the way. When we drove in, I wasn’t sure if we would be able to locate any of the Amore graves. My great-grandfather’s brother, George Washington Amore, and his wife are buried there. Just like what happened at Roscoe Cemetery, we were driving through when it was pointed out that there was an Amore gravestone.


Not only did we find George Washington Amore but his wife Catherine Burden Amore, sons – Jesse and Stanley Amore, his two granddaughters and husbands – Corle and Hayden Roahrig and Kathryn and Chester Williams. When we saw the small stone in front of George’s headstone, our first reading of it was W. Amore. Bill and I thought we’d hit upon someone earlier than William Amore – but upon closer examination, realized it was George’s footstone and it read G W Amore.

Moving on to South Lawn Cemetery, we stopped at the cemetery office first as it is a very large cemetery that is spread out in many sections. We weren’t sure if the office was open but as providence would have it – a very helpful and knowledgable woman was on hand to provide immense help. She took the list of names, looked up each one, and then marked the plot on a map she gave to us. Without her help, we would not have been able to cover that entire cemetery in the short amount of time we had. On the Amore side, we found our Uncle Zade (Isaiah) and his wife Rose, Uncle Rollo and his wife Alice Belle, Uncle Herbert and his wife Fannie (and their son, Ernest).picmonkey-collagesouthlawn

The photo located above at the lower right is the area where my dad’s baby sister, Mae Maxine, is buried. She never received a marker. In the cemetery books, she is listed as “Infant of Lloyd Amore.”

On my grandmother’s House side of the family, we found her half-sister, Lucina Conger (yes, her stone reads Lucinda but her name did not have the “d”), and her husband John Allen Conger. Their stones were a bit difficult to photograph as they are directly behind the stone that marks their plot.


My great-grandfather’s sister, Sarah House Chamberlin along with her husband Benjamin Chamberlin’s stone was found by my grandson. He asked if we were still looking for them and told us where the plot was located.


William Riley House, brother of my great-grandfather, James Emory House, is buried close to his daughter-in-law, Anna Ruby House. Anna’s daughter from her first marriage, Juanita Burch Kah and son-in-law, John I Kah, are buried next to each other. Anna Ruby is the daughter of my grandmother Ella’s half-sister Belle Dora House Ruby. So . . . first cousins ended up getting married (each was their second marriage) and there were no children born.


After lunch we went back to the hotel so Bill and Becky could get their car. We were headed to get gas and then I would follow them to the last cemetery on our list – Prairie Chapel – before they headed out of town toward home. The last time I was at that cemetery, I was a small child. Those who are buried there include my paternal grandparents, Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore, my great-grandparents James Emory and Frances V (Ogan) House, and my grandmother’s siblings and their spouses.



There wasn’t a flag at James House’s grave even though other veterans had flags (similar to my grandfather Glen R Johnson’s grave in Ohio). Recently, I have found the correct organization to contact in order to rectify that in the future. Julia’s and Charles’ inscriptions (my grandma’s older sister and younger brother) are on the other side of the stone in the above picture. Julia died a year after she and Percy J Tuttle were married and during childbirth. Charles died at the age of 12 in a farming accident.


Grandma Ella’s youngest brother, Alva Lester ‘Doc’ House and his wife are also buried there. Lester died at the age of 81. His second wife, Pearl, died at the age of 51 by her own hand.


My great-uncle John House and his wife, Lulu Peer House – their stone is below.


My grandmother’s older brother, Florus A House and his wife, Emma (Stacer) House’s stone (below). Their infant son, Welby, is also buried there.


All too soon (it seemed), the day had flown by and Bill and Becky had to return to their home. We hugged goodbye and then left in different directions. After my grandson and I relaxed a bit at the hotel, it was time to figure out what we were going to have for supper. We decided to head to the local Pizza Hut. I had to take a photo of the license plate on the wall – “Birthplace of Aviation”!!!!


Next – fun at the museum.

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This is a continuation of Part One so please go to that if you haven’t read it yet.

July 9 – I woke early in order to go to Glen Haven Memorial Gardens in New Carlisle, Ohio. I wanted to visit the graves of my mom, maternal grandparents, uncle and aunts. Before I did anything, I posted birthday greetings for my son on Facebook. As I looked at my list, I decided to go visit my dad’s grave one more time. The ground had been put back, and it appeared as if it hadn’t even been touched. The sun was out and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. I spent time talking to Dad before saying goodbye and heading east on Route 40 (National Road) toward Glen Haven.


I was a bit disappointed that my grandfather, Glen R Johnson, did not have a flag placed at his grave but many others did. Since he is buried in the Veteran’s section, I would think there would be a high probability that his would not be overlooked. Only my mother’s grave had flowers as my sister and I make sure we order a silk arrangement every spring. It was a shame that the others did not have flowers. (Photo above: upper left clockwise – “J” – the Johnson plot, my uncle and aunt Glen R Johnson and Mary Van Tuyl Johnson, my mother Mary H Johnson Amore, my grandparents Glen R Johnson and Vesta Wilt Johnson, my aunt Lois Evelyn Johnson, and the four gravestones.) I spent quite a bit of time there talking to Mom and my grandparents. Then I took my leave and headed toward Fairborn in Greene County close to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. My grandparents raised their family in what used to be Fairfield until the town merged with neighbor Osborn to become present day Fairborn. I wanted to take a picture of the home where my mom spent her youth. Unfortunately, not only was the street torn up and barriers marked “No Thru Traffic” were in place (which I disregarded!) but the trees in the front yard of the house made it impossible to take a good photograph. With a police vehicle at one end of the street and too many cars in the driveway, I didn’t think it would be proper to stop the car, get out and try to get a good camera shot so I just turned around and left. This – below – is what the home looked like many years ago.


After returning from my morning journey, my cousin and I hit the local supermarket. I wanted to purchase items that can only be found in the Dayton area – Mikesell’s potato chips, Esther Price candy, and also some Buckeye candy. Think I bought enough chips? (As of today, we’ve eaten all but two bags!)


After our grocery run, my grandson and I bid goodbye to my cousin and went over to her mother’s (my first cousin) for the remainder of our Dayton visit. I enjoy our conversations. She and her late husband had been very sweet to me when I was a child, and I was flower girl for their wedding. The food she fixed for our supper was delicious.

July 10 – my grandson and I left before 10 a.m. to visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force just off of Springfield Street in Dayton. The museum is very special to me as the Caquot Balloon hanging in the Early Years Gallery is similar to the balloon my grandfather worked with in the Signal Corps during WWI. He and several other balloonists and those of the Royal Air Force helped to locate the balloon for display in the museum. He had also donated some artifacts. Another family history fact: when the museum moved from the Base located off of Broad Street in Fairborn to its present day location, my dad was in charge of the logistics of moving all of the equipment/aircraft/etc. Fun fact: I’ve visited the museum more since I moved away from Ohio than I ever did as a kid!


Following our full day at the Air Force museum, we traveled back toward my hometown and stopped one last time at Ritter’s for frozen custard before heading over to my other cousin’s house for a visit. The evening back at our hostess’ home was spent catching up on laundry and more conversation. We tried to cram in as much as we could in our chat. For all too soon, it would be time to hit the road in the morning for the next leg of our trip – one I was very much looking forward to be headed!

Next – my dad’s hometown!

(All photos – digital scans and originals in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use.)

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July started off with a bang! Just like many families around the nation, we went to a local park to watch the fireworks display on the Fourth of July. We are also fortunate to live amidst cornfields and rural areas and can shoot off our own sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and other types of fireworks. For me the holiday was full of mixed emotions since I knew that just two days later, I would be on my way to Ohio to have my dad’s ashes interred – and – I would see cousins and begin the genealogy adventure that I’ve been waiting to do.

July 6 – Started very early in the morning as my fifteen year old grandson and I finished loading up the car to begin our trip eastward. As we neared the Mississippi River to cross in to Illinois, the sky was full of gray clouds. We drove through Springfield in the rain which turned to sprinkles close to Decatur. By the time we arrived in Brownsburg, Indiana, the sun was out, and it was time for lunch. We arrived at my cousin’s home located south of Dayton before 4:30 p.m.

Our first evening together since the summer of 2010 was full of laughter and catching up. Her two boys are a year older and a year younger than my grandson so the boys disappeared to play video games in the basement. We had a great dinner and then in the late evening, she told me that we needed to go to Bill’s Donuts. Wait a minute – a donut shop – at night? Let me just say that every town across the United States needs one of these places that are open 24 hours! It appeared to be the local hangout for not only teens but families. Picture the very best ice cream shop you’ve visited – but instead of ice cream, it’s donuts! We left there with a baker’s dozen of a variety of sweet treats for breakfast (some of them were still left at breakfast the next morning too!). On second thought, it’s probably not a good idea for one of those to be close to where I live!

July 7 – I used the Keurig coffee maker for the very first time and then headed to the cemetery in order to sign all the necessary documents pertaining to my father’s ashes and the interment. With some heartache, I left the ashes with the cemetery office in order for them to have everything ready for the next morning. After having them in my possession for six months, it felt odd that he wasn’t coming back to the house with me.

For lunch, the boys thought my grandson and I needed to see what all the hype was over Rapid Fire Pizza – so off we went. I love pizza – and I especially love pizza that I can create just for me! Think Subway – but pizza! I absolutely loved this restaurant and this is another place I believe all towns should have (well, on second thought . . . – see my response about Bill’s Donuts in above paragraph!)

That evening was our cousin get-together at Marion’s Pizza (more pizza!!!). We were missing a few but did have a very enjoyable time. Luckily, even though some left after eating, I was able to spend some time chatting with my three first cousins (children of my mom’s sister). This time, I was the one who asked the questions. I wanted to know more about my aunt – as their mom – instead of my mom’s sister. They shared some stories that made me see Aunt Genevieve in a whole new light! I didn’t realize that she pulled pranks and had a wicked sense of humor!


My 3 first cousins and myself

marions-pizza-7-july-2016-family-gathering-judy-karen-wendy-ann-marie2 My first cousin and 2 first cousins once removed

July 8 – cousins all met at the house where I was staying and followed each other to Royal Oak Memorial Gardens in Brookville, Ohio. When we arrived, I noticed that the gentleman who was handling the arrangements had set up a nice table to hold the container of ashes. They had even placed a flag next to my father’s headstone since he was a veteran. It was a wonderful gesture, and I was very touched. My dad didn’t want a memorial service so I knew that our time was going to be brief. A few of us recounted a couple of stories about my dad, I read the obituary I had written, and then we drank a toast. My dad’s drink of choice was vodka and lemon-lime so some of us (adults) either got a small amount of vodka or both vodka and sprite and the three boys got the soda. We raised our glasses (dixie cups!) and said good-bye. I think my dad would have approved.


When we left the cemetery, we headed back to the Dayton area to have lunch at Frisch’s (Big Boy). I can’t begin to tell you how much I was looking forward to this lunch because my favorite sandwich is the Swiss Miss – a hamburger pattie on a rye bun with swiss cheese and tartar sauce. Can not get this sandwich anyplace else except Frisch’s!

My cousins, grandson, and myself at Frisch’s Big Boy

After lunch, my grandson and I took off to drive by important places of my childhood. I had a list of addresses and with the help of a loaned GPS, I knew there wouldn’t be any problem finding them. We stopped by my childhood home in Beavercreek, the townhome where my mother spent the last 32 years of her life, two houses my maternal grandparents had lived, and my three schools.


My childhood home – left (1960s) and right (July 2016)


One of my grandparents’ homes in Dayton (left – 1950s & right – July 2016)


My mom’s former townhome


My grandparents’ house in Kettering, Ohio.


My elementary, junior high (now a middle school), and high school

When I pulled through the parking lot of my high school (which is now the “back” of the school even though it faces the road), I was pointing out windows of the classes I had been in and what the new parts of the school were when a man came to the car and asked if he could help with anything. As soon as I told him I was a graduate and showing my grandson where I went to school, he had me park so he could give us the nickel tour since so much of it has changed.


The picture above is of the auditorium from the stage. When I was in high school, we couldn’t perform any theatrical productions there because we did not have such a marvelous stage or auditorium. We had to travel down the road a bit to the elementary school. I’m a tad bit jealous that not only is the stage wonderful but the dressing rooms are pretty nice as well (sure beats getting in costume and make-up in the girls restroom!) Before we left, I had to take a picture of my grandson with our school’s mascot – Bucky Beaver.


From there we headed to our favorite frozen custard stand just down the road from my high school – Ritter’s Frozen Custard. When my mom was living, and we would visit her, this is where we all liked to come on warm summer evenings. We’d all order our frozen treats and sit on the stone benches at the tables. Good memories.


Next – the rest of our adventures in Dayton before heading to the second leg of our journey.

(All photos, digital scans are property of Wendy Littrell; address for private use.)

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state genealogy chart

I happen to be Facebook friends with many geneabloggers so when Judy G. Russell (the Legal Genealogist) posted her chart last night, I knew that there would be many others who would do the same. Judy was inspired by J. Paul Hawthorne (with whom I’m not familiar). By morning, I’ve counted no less than five from those I do know.

I had already decided last night that I would do one for myself – boring though it may be – and use it as a blog post. So this is what I created (see above). Pretty repetitive!

The top half signifies my paternal branch and the lower my mom’s. William Amore – my paternal 2nd great-grandfather was born in New York. My dad’s maternal great-grandfather, Florus Allen House, hailed from Connecticut. See the two Virginia blocks on the far right top half? Those are for Evan Ogan and Susanna Fritter Ogan – the couple who raised my great-grandmother, Frances V. Ogan House. I don’t have a biological component to add there but I didn’t want to leave those two spots blank because then the chart would look lopsided.

I have a 2nd great-grandmother who was born in North Carolina – Amanda Evaline Mullis (wife of James Wilson Johnson); a 2nd great-grandfather born in Virginia – Israel Isaac Wilt who married Elsy Nash from Pennsylvania. Other than that – we are all predominantly Ohio or Indiana born!

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