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Recentlly, my husband and I took a short trip within our state. Since moving to Missouri four years ago, we have wanted to explore other areas.

Our first venture had us heading toward Maryville in the northwest corner of the state. My husband spent four of his twelve school years there (8th-11th grades) and hasn’t been back in over 40 years. As we headed west on US 36, we encountered morning fog. He kept telling me that soon the scenery would change. As we crested a hill and looked out toward Stewartsville (west of Cameron), I felt like I’d driven in to a science fiction movie. Not one or two wind turbines but hundreds of them dotted the landscape. Driving near, they loomed large and with the low ceiling touched the clouds.

Missouri Wind Turbines  (Image by David Mark from Pixabay)

My husband eagerly wanted to show me and see for himself the areas in Maryville that were special to him. He pointed me toward the street where one of the houses was located and just behind it cattycorner was the other house. He said other than different paint color and a retaining wall, both looked about the same. From there we headed toward Maryville High School – home of the Spoofhounds. Yes, there is such a mascot! Here is the photo I took of the school sign.

Afterwards, we drove around Northwest Missouri State University where my father-in-law was an Industrial Arts professor in the early 70s. Leaving there, we headed to the Hy-Vee grocery store where my husband had his first job. Since I didn’t get my coffee or caffeine that morning before our trip, I was happy to see a Starbucks inside the store! Chai Tea Latte – yum! Being close to lunch time, we sat in the Pizza Hut parking lot for a while until they opened.

Following lunch, we took the highway south toward St. Joseph and ended up on 71 Business which took us through Savannah. My husband laughed when I told him that I knew someone buried there – my 2nd great-grandmother’s sister, Matilda Reed Imus Beale. And no, we weren’t stopping to explore. That will be another time.

We arrived in St. Joe too early to check in to our motel so we drove straight to the St. Joseph Museums which are in the former clinic used for patients at the mental hospital. Originally it was located in an area of the St. Joseph State Hospital and in the late 1960s, it was moved to the current location. According to Wikipedia, the Glore Psychiatric Museum began when an employee of the Missouri Mental Health System – George Glore – “built life size models of primitive devices formerly used for mental health” to raise awareness (see pic below).

George Glore’s life-size model of a Giant Patient Treadmill
used in the 16th, 17th, or 18th centuries.
Sometimes patients would be inside up to 48 hours. 

Once we paid for admission and received a map, we took the stairs to the third floor. There were many sculptures and paintings as well as other type of artwork made by previous patients as art therapy. Included on this floor were replicas of a music therapy room, an art therapy room, a spiritual therapy room, a patient room, and the psychiatric nursing exhibit of “Ward Quiet” which is in a former surgical room.

Top L-R: Music Therapy Room display and Patient Room display
Middle: Original Chart Desk and Psychiatric Nursing exhibit
Bottom: Spiritual Therapy display and Dexterity/Puzzle area

This large embroidered piece below was created by a patient with the nickname “The Tatterer.” She rarely spoke and was diagnosed as schizophrenic. I stood and solemnly read her words. The sign next to it read in part: “…her sewn words have been described as psychotic; but in 2010 new research found that the patient was very connected to her environment.” (“Silent Voice” description; Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph, Missouri.)

Throughout the museum there were displays and information about electroshock treatments, the history of lobotomies and other types of surgeries, rocking chair therapies, and the history of mental health treatments. A very tall container held empty, flattened cigarette packs that a patient had been hoarding. Another patient had been witnessed sticking a piece of paper into the back of a television set. Upon further investigation, the staff found over 500 notes written on pieces of paper inside the television.


Early type of straight-jacket

This is a Restraint Ring – patients could be restrained to the wall
with a chain if they were considered “out of control.” This Ring
was removed from the basement wall in the Center Building in 1980.

The basement held the original morgue and autopsy rooms as well as information about treatment and education for youth. These two cars were painted by youth patients and entered in a contest.

At one time, patients worked the land as a farm which brought in money to the hospital but then was thought that since the patients were working for so long, it was equal to slavery so the farm work was discontinued. At one time the hospital served over 3,500 people so large scale salad bowls were needed as well as the mixer stand in the photo below in order to mix dough or make other types of batter. This stand was about 5 feet tall.

We asked to tour “the tunnels” before we left. A member of the staff guided us outside and across the sidewalk to an adjoining building. The entryway looked as if it was having work done and an area was used as storage. She  led us toward an open door. I kept walking but all I saw was a long, very dark tunnel. I backed up until she was able to turn the lights on. Both sides of the walls were covered with murals and paintings.

Patients had been led down there for art therapy. She told us to turn the lights out when we left. There were quite a few murals that – on a better surface and with better light – looked amazing. All I kept thinking was that I hoped the gated door halfway down the tunnel wouldn’t slam shut on us leaving us on the other side! I am not easily spooked but in that tunnel, I was a bit creeped out! We let her know when we were done.

The other smaller museums within those walls included the Black Archives Museum – highlighting St. Joseph African American experiences; the interactive Doll Museum; the Harry L. George Native American Collection which includes a large collection of artifacts from the late 1800s to early 1900s; and the WWI Saint Joseph: Reflections on Community and Conflict. There are also exhibits of the Folklore of Mary Alicia Owen and the Missouri Music Hall of Fame which includes Sheryl Crow and Chuck Berry.

The doll museum (which is one room) had a wall of Barbie dolls! I enjoyed looking at all the international Barbies.

Below is a display in the Native American area..

The display below has artifacts and information about the history of St. Joseph – especially about its founder, Joseph Robidoux IV. He had established a trading post in the Blacksnake Hills – now St. Joe.

Once finished at the Glore Psychiatric Museum, we went on to the motel and checked in. I cleaned up and then we went to eat at Bandanas Barbecue just down the road. One of my genealogy friends, Susan Petersen, always stops there on her way to Missouri from Nebraska so we had to try it. The food was excellent.

After relaxing at the motel after dinner for awhile, we drove on down to the Museum Hill Historic District. There are some beautiful churches and buildings. We parked behind a very large building in the Methodist Church parking lot.

The original location for the Francis Street First United Methodist Church was at 7th and Francis Streets and was built about 1857. Construction on the current building at 12th and Francis Streets began toward the late 1890’s-early 1900’s. We thought it was beautiful and wished we could look at the interior.

The building we parked behind had a dome at the top. As we walked to the front of it, my husband pointed out the words above it – First Church of Christ, Scientist. After doing some research later, I found that it was built in 1899 and has one of the largest pipe organs in the country. The congregation of the Christian Science church disbanded in the 1990s at that location, and it is now a wedding venue called The Dome.

In front of The Dome was a building that appeared to have been a church at one time. Now it is a Yoga Studio.


Across from the parking lot was the First Baptist Church and further down the block was Calvary Chapel.

Up on the hill was this large house with many steps going up to it.

Looking out toward St. Joseph, we saw a very long and huge structure that sat in the middle of Civic Center Park. The inscription over it said that it was given to the citizens of St. Joseph for Civic Use. Doing some research, we found that it was the City Hall built in 1926-1927. Another building I would have liked to see the inside.

We had a good first day in the city and were looking forward to the next.

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I used #2018bestnine to compile a collage of my top nine photos from Instagram for 2018. The top nine are ranked according to how many “hearts” (likes) were given on each picture. In case some of my followers aren’t on that social media platform, I thought I’d also post the compilation here as many of them are genealogy related – as well as my captions for each one.

Beginning at the top row, left to right and working my way down:

  1. Lois Evelyn Johnson, born on June 9, 1927, was my mom’s baby sister. She was premature and couldn’t seem to gain weight according to a calendar diary my grandmother kept. Lois Evelyn died on September 30, 1927. She was first buried in a cemetery in Fairborn, Ohio (then Fairfield), but a family lost several members due to a fire and wasn’t able to afford cemetery plots. My grandparents donated their plots and had the baby re-interned at Glen Haven Memorial Gardens outside New Carlisle, Ohio. This is Lois Evelyn’s heart-shaped grave marker. Lying in the family plot are my grandparents, Aunt & Uncle, and my mom. Most of the family together in rest.
  2. Genealogy Photo a Day for May 2 is “Happy Face” – a pic of my mom Mary (left) with her older sister Genevieve taken about 1956. Yesterday, May 1, was 9th anniversary of mom’s passing. Today May 2 marks 60 years of my aunt’s passing.
  3. Today the Genealogy Photo a Day is Letters. I have boxes & boxes of letters dating back to 1916. This letter was written by my maternal grandmother when my grandparents were stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany in the early 50s.
  4. Chariton County Missouri museum has Laura Ingalls Little House on the Prairie info in display case
  5. My husband and I were married in the office of our local Justice of the Peace in May 1988. Almost a year later, on the first Saturday of April, we had a church wedding (a reaffirmation). The date happened to fall on April Fools Day!
  6. Today the Genealogy Photo a Day theme is “Starts With T”so I chose a photo that depicts Trip of a Lifetime! My mom was thrilled to travel to Israel in the 90s. Here she is riding a camel! I am glad Mom was able to do this.
  7. This item hung on my grandparents’ wall in all of their homes for as long as I could remember. I was probably almost a teen when I made it known to my grandmother that I sure would like to have that item. Every time I saw it, I asked my grandmother to wind it for me (it plays music). At some point before my grandmother’s death, she put my name on the back of that plaque. I also think I ended up with it because I was the “baby” (by 14 years) of the grandchildren and most of the other granddaughter’s (there are 5 of us and 3 grandsons) received items like crystal stemware, jewelry, and silver. They bought the item in Garmisch (in Bavaria), and I have the letter written to my mother that detailed their trip to Garmisch and the purchase of that piece!
  8. Today’s theme for Genealogy Photo a Day is “Friends” so I chose this pic taken in the fall of 1966 in Seattle. I’m in red in front of my mom & dad. With us is Derald & Marilyn Manning and their 2 children (their daughter took the picture). We were at the top of the Space Needle. Mom & Dad met the Mannings over 10 years earlier when the men were in the US Army Air Corps/US Air Force stationed in Japan. The couples spent many evenings together playing cards, eating dinner, enjoying parties, and being close friends. I know they exchanged Christmas cards for awhile before finally losing touch by the mid 70s due to distance and my parents’ divorce.
  9. This is my Great-great-grandmother Melissa Goul. Her daughter Katie was the mother of my maternal grandfather. Melissa had a tragic life. Born in Ohio in Oct 1832, she found herself pregnant with her first cousin’s baby at the age of 18. The cousin (& his wife) moved to Missouri while Melissa’s parents moved her to Indiana. Melissa ended up marrying Franklin Blazer and had 5 more kids. Frank was killed by lightning in 1869 at the age of 33. Melissa then ran the farm by herself. She died on March 7, 1907 but had pre-planned her funeral as she didn’t want to be buried in the winter. Her funeral was held three months later on June 9. According to newspaper accounts, her body was very well preserved, and she looked as if she was just recently deceased at the time of her open casket funeral.

Are you on Instagram? Do you participate in the #genealogyphotoaday challenge?

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In honor of Father’s Day, I created a collage of my male ancestors – just as I did for the The Women Who Came Before Me on Mother’s Day.

Beginning at the top, left to right:
Joseph Napolean Wilt b. 21 Jan 1868 in Henry county, Indiana and d. 9 Jan 1944 in Nabb, Indiana. Great-grandfather
Israel Wilt b. 20 June 1823 in Timberville, Virginia and d. 9 Sep 1919 in Middletown, Indiana. 2nd Great-grandfather
Emanuel Bushong Stern b. 7 Oct 1834 in Montgomery county, Ohio and d. 10 Sep 1911 in Yale, Nebraska. 2nd Great-grandfather
Peter Stern b. 10 Feb 1810 in Washington, Pennsylvania and d. 12 Nov 1887 in Clarksville, Indiana. 3rd Great-grandfather
James Wilson Johnson b. 16 Aug 1829 in Byrd, Ohio and d. 31 Oct 1917 in Anderson, Indiana. 2nd Great-grandfther
James Emory House b. 2 May 1842 in West Lafayette, Ohio and d. 1 Oct 1924 in Coshocton, Ohio. Great-grandfather
William Amore b. 6 Feb 1828 in Albany county, New York and d. 10 Feb 1896 in Franklin, Ohio. 2nd Great-grandfather
George Peter Werts b. Oct 1801 in Virginia and d. 29 July 1866 in Muskingum county, Ohio. 3rd Great-grandfather
John Lafayette Johnson b. 2 Mar 1861 in Rush county, Indiana and d. 28 May 1939 in Greene county, Ohio. Great-grandfather
William Henry Amore b. 10 Mar 1852 in West Lafayette, Ohio and d. 14 Jul 1934 in Coshocton, Ohio. Great-grandfather
Glen Roy Johnson b. 21 Nov 1898 in Anderson, Indiana and d. 18 Jan 1985 in Beavercreek, Ohio. Grandfather
Lloyd William Amore b. 5 Mar 1882 in Lafayette, Ohio and d. 25 Feb 1955 in Coshocton, Ohio. Grandfather
Eugene James Amore b. 4 Apr 1921 in Coshocton, Ohio and d. 3 Dec 2015 in Fanning Springs, Florida. Dad

 

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In honor of Mother’s Day, I created a collage of all of the women who are my direct ancestors. After I was finished, I marveled that I had so many photos to use!

Beginning at the top, left to right:
Margaret Bushong b. 24 Jan 1814 in Ohio and d. 1 Jun 1888 in Hamilton county, Indiana. 3rd great-grandmother
Mary Angeline Werts b. 15 Feb 1855 in Coshocton county, Ohio and d. 5 Dec 1941 in Roscoe, Coshocton county, Ohio. Great-grandmother
Frances Virginia Ogan b. 29 Nov 1846 in Guernsey county, Ohio and d. 18 Feb 1915 in Coshocton, Ohio. Great-grandmother
Margaret Catherine Maple b. 22 Dec 1808 in Coshocton, Ohio and d. 13 May 1851 in Muskingum county, Ohio. 3rd great-grandmother
Nancy Caylor b. 10 May 1840 in Indiana and d. 21 Dec 1900 in Noblesville, Indiana. Great-Great-grandmother
Melissa Goul b. 17 Oct 1832 in Champaign county, Ohio and d. 7 Mar 1907 in Madison county, Indiana. Great-Great-grandmother
Ella Maria House b. 22 Jun 1882 in Coshocton county, Ohio and d. 3 Jul 1946 in Coshocton, Ohio. Grandmother
Louisa Bookless b. 13 Apr 1834 in Muskingum county, Ohio and d. 26 Jul 1912 in Coshocton, Ohio. Great-Great-grandmother
Martha Jane Stern b. 9 Feb 1872 in Clarksville, Indiana and d. 6 Nov 1956 in Leaburg, Oregon. Great-grandmother
Katie J Blazer b. 27 Sep 1864 in Madison county, Indiana and d. 20 May 1930 in Fairfield (now Fairborn), Ohio. Great-grandmother
Vesta Christena Wilt b. 7 May 1898 in Noblesville, Indiana and d. 19 Jan 1984 in Dayton, Ohio. Grandmother
Mary Helen Johnson b. 21 Sep 1921 in Anderson, Indiana and d. 1 May 2009 in Beavercreek, Ohio. Mother
Me!

 

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My maternal grandmother, Vesta Christena (Wilt) Johnson, was the middle child (and oldest daughter) out of six children born to her parents Martha Jane Stern and Joseph Napolean Wilt. She had three older brothers – Clarence, Jesse, and John, and two younger siblings – Nellie and Clifford. My great-grandparents divorced before my grandmother was ten. Martha went on to marry her late sister’s widower, William Frank Clawson. They did not have any children together; however, Joseph married Anna Park and they had a son named Albert – my grandmother’s younger half-brother.

It was apparent throughout the letters my grandmother wrote to her siblings as adults that none of them spent any time with their father or his new family following the divorce. I’m not sure if my grandmother ever met Albert, but she did have a picture of him at about 16 years of age. There was also a picture taken later of a tombstone shared by Joseph and Anna as well as Albert who died in 1933. The birth year listed 1917.

As new records were added to online databases, I discovered that Albert’s age was listed as 5 years old in the 1920 census and as age 15 in the 1930 census. At least a two year discrepancy according to his tombstone. Then I discovered his birth certificate showing that Albert was born on October 21, 1914! That meant that someone made a big error on his birth year listed on the tombstone.

Then I discovered Albert’s death certificate. Joe was the informant listed on his son’s death certificate and listed August 1, 1914 as the date of birth. There was an inquest to find cause of death. And that is when I read the horrible information. Albert died due to his skull being crushed; struck by a railway train as he was walking along the tracks. No wonder some of the information was off – as a grieving father, Joe may not have been thinking clearly about his son’s birth when his tragic death was fresh on his mind.

How did Albert not know a train was coming? Not paying attention? It happened too fast? Or could he have been deaf and not felt the vibrations in the ground soon enough? I bring up deafness because an earlier collateral relative on the Wilt side – brothers Charles and Absolam Hottinger, “deaf-mutes” according to the Rockingham (Virginia) Daily Record on November 9, 1912, were struck by the Chesapeake Western freight train near Penn Laird. Absolam was killed almost instantly, and Charles had extensive injuries.

I find it quite sad that my grandmother did not have a relationship with her younger brother, and instead of stories and her memories, all we are left with is one close-up photo of him.

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I have a difficult time picking just one photo of an ancestor or relative that is my  favorite. Many of what I consider in the top five include my maternal grandmother, Vesta Christena (Wilt) Johnson. I called her Nana because I believe it was my brother – the oldest of the grandchildren – who gave her that title.

As a child, many people would always comment on my blue eyes and ask me where I got them. My dad and siblings all were blessed with blue eyes so I would say that I got my blue eyes from my dad. There were also others who would tell me that I looked like Nana. I just couldn’t see it. I was a pre-teen or teen, and my grandmother was 63 years older than me. How could anyone tell?

However, in the last ten years or so, as I’ve shared photos of Nana online, many have repeated those assertions – that I did resemble her. Since I am much older now, I do see it. And then back in December, my cousin posted a picture that I had never seen before. It was of my grandparents with my uncle (my cousin’s father) when he was a baby. I cropped the photo to show just my grandmother and compared it to a photo of me about the same age. Well, what do you, my readers think?

This is a post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for Week 2. For more information or to sign up to participate (all free!!), check out Amy Johnson Crow’s post: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

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There are two ponds on the farm – the North Pond and the South Pond. For many of the years that we vacationed here, there were cattle in the vicinity of the North Pond so the family didn’t fish out of that one. The pond and pasture is separated from our backyard by a barbed wire fence.

The photo above is of the South Pond. This is where our nieces and nephews fished as kids as well as our own kids. After some neglect – which was apparent when we moved to the farm two years ago – all that my grandson caught were weeds. My husband spent most of that first summer here cleaning it up and just recently the dam was fixed because of so many muskrat holes that had caused it to leak on the backside.

I took the photo a year ago. It looked serene, and I can picture all the kids there being very quiet as they fished. The farm isn’t my favorite spot on earth without reason! And the pond is just one of those reasons.

(Photo above taken by Wendy Littrell.)

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