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Posts Tagged ‘Carnival of Genealogy’

The topic for this edition of Carnival of Genealogy is:
INDEPENDENT! Do you have a relative who was feisty, spoke their own mind, was a bit of a free spirit? Anyone who most people might consider a “nut” on the family tree but you know they really just followed a “different tune?”

I’ve spent quite a bit of time going through my family files looking for someone who I think fits this description.  There are two people who come to mind immediately – my great-grandmother and my mom – however, I’ve already written posts about them and felt the need to expand my search.  My only challenge is writing about someone who still has living children.  I don’t want to offend anyone nor write something that will give too much information.  With that being said, I hope to not only portray this person in a way that will honor their memory but possibly encourage surviving family to reflect more fondly about this person.

Eva was born to an unwed mother on an interurban car in Fortville, Indiana, on October 2, 1910.  They were taken to St. John’s Hospital where the young mother pleaded with a woman to take her infant daughter and raise her as her own.  The mother wasn’t able to care for her baby and knew that letting her go was in the best interest of the child.  Katie and John Johnson took her in and raised her practically from birth on just as their own child.  They were never able to adopt her but gave her their last name.  She was 12 years younger than their youngest son, Glen, and the daughter that Katie had prayed for. 

Eva was a very strong-willed child – following the beat of her own drummer.  She liked to imitate her favorite screen star - Clara Bow – in dress.  Apparently Eva was unaware that she wasn’t the birth daughter of Katie and John until years later yet perhaps there was something inside of her that made her go “searching” for whatever it was that would give her peace.  Since she was so much younger than Glen it was as if she was an only child without benefit of really strong family bonds a closer-in-age sibling might have yielded her. 

When Eva was a teenager, she married and her son was born in 1929.  After her foster mother, Katie, died, Eva began searching for her birth mother.  As a fairly new mother herself, it is possible that she was searching for that parent-child connection in order to understand her own standing as a mom.  A woman saw a notice printed in a magazine and recognized Katie’s name as the woman she had given her daughter to.  The woman, Clara  Badgly Grennells of Chicago, got in touch with an Indiana newspaper and requested that her appeal to meet Eva be printed. 

There are conflicting stories that Eva did meet her birth mother and learn the name of her biological father.  Another story is that Eva’s birth mother died prior to their meeting but that she did meet her father. 

Eva’s relationship with her husband was not all glamour, champagne and happily-ever-after.  It is reported that she was always searching for something – many times in the arms of someone else.  She and her husband split up and divorced and when Eva was in her early 40s, discovered that she was pregnant.  The specter of what lay ahead of her would surely be weighing on her mind: an older mother, a single mother, a mother of a grown son, a woman who had limited income.  Any number of reasons would have aided her in her decision to give up her daughter – just as she had been given up.  It was only many years later before Eva died, that she would be reunited with her grown daughter.

I wish I could have met this woman – my grandfather’s younger sister – as she lived for many years after his death.  Whenever the family discussed his relatives, we all knew he had a younger sister but I truly think that they had fallen out of touch many years earlier.  It isn’t known who stopped communicating.  Possibly it was a bit of both.  Knowing my grandfather he would have talked and talked until he was blue in the face about “straightening up” and flying right to her.  As independent as she seems, Eva probably decided to do what she’d always done – dance to her own music and “if all you’re going to do is lecture me, I’m not listening anymore.”  Theories that are probably closer to the mark than not. 

It seems rather sad to me that no one contacted her – or knew where to reach her – when my grandfather passed away.  We never sought to visit her when we were in Indiana.  I hope that in her later years, she finally found what she was searching for.  Life is really rather short in the grand scheme of things and family ties – no matter how strained or tenuous – should never be broken.  She left this world almost the same as she entered – alone and unwanted – except by those who truly did wish to be a part of her life – her foster parents and her only daughter.  Rest in peace, Eva.

(For information on Clara Bow go to The Clara Bow Page)

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Please check out the 50th Carnival of Genealogy – Family Pets hosted by Bill West (West in New England).  There are 29 authors and 30 stories about pets we or our ancestors owned.  And when you visit each post, please make sure you leave a comment so that the authors know you visited and how much you enjoyed reading the stories. 

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I’ve just uploaded some photos to previous posts. 

A picture of my mom and aunt sitting in front of the house they grew up in: The Old House

A picture of my mom in her cap and gown: Graduation Past and Present

Update: A picture of Slick climbing a lader and a picture of one of the dogs my mom had as a child: Furry and Feathered Family Members – Carnival of Genealogy

Possibly more later!

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My mom recalls with fondness the two dogs she grew up with.  Queenie was an Airedale Terrier and Jewel was a St. Bernard.  (Photo at left shows my aunt, uncle & mom with Queenie.)  

 

In the 50s after she and my dad were married, they had a bull terrier – Slick.  He was black and white and could climb ladders (below left).  When my dad was transferred to Japan, Slick had to stay with my grandparents.  My sister still has fond memories of Slick.  The picture at right of the two of them out in the snow.  I’m not sure how old he was when he died of heart problems.  Along the way my mom also had a bird (I never knew she liked birds until I was older). 

 

Yes, dogs were the main pets in our family.  Cats – well, not so much.  As a child, I always wanted a cat but mom wasn’t a cat person.  Didn’t like the whole litter box idea nor would she have wanted to let a pet “roam” outside and possibly get hit by a car.  She told me a story about what happened when she was a young girl.  Either she or her sister (or both) took a bunch of kittens and threw them down the outhouse.  Needless to say whoever did the deed, had to retrieve them and clean them up.  I’m sure that soured them more on cats!

 

Before I was born, my parents had a dachshund (Gretchen).  She had two puppies – one we gave to my grandparents (Lisa) and one we kept (Bridget).  Those were my dogs!  When I was about three, my parents had a sitter stay with me one evening.  I remember they put Gretchen in the car and drove away in the dark.  The poor dog had broken her back and for a dachshund, that was a death sentence.  From what I’ve been told, she died quite peacefully at the vet’s office.  It wasn’t long after Gretchen’s death that I began to insist that we needed to get another dachshund – as a playmate for Bridget. 

 

We drove to Marysville, Ohio to a dachshund breeder’s home and picked out a cute little red shorthair puppy.  In keeping with the tradition of naming them with German names, I wanted to call her Gretel.  I joked with my parents that if we got a male, we could name him Hansel.  But we just got the little girl.  Not only were the two dogs friends but they were my playmates.  No matter where I went they were there too.  When I played in my room, they slept under my bed.  When I took a bath, they sat quietly in the corner waiting until I was done.  When we had parties, I’d put a party hat on them!  And those poor dogs allowed me to dress them up in doll baby clothes and wheel them around in my doll buggy!

 

We bred Gretel when she was a couple years old and the result was seven little puppies!  There were five males and two females.  My brother and his family took one of the little girls – Heidi (again keeping with the German naming tradition!)  Here is a shot of the puppies in the whelping bin. 

 

Then Bridget got sick when I was about 9.  She died soon after she got sick.  I don’t think I ever knew what was wrong.  When my mom asked me if I wanted to see her, I said no.  I wanted to remember her as my energetic friend. 

 

Gretel became my confidante.  I could tell her anything and she’d just sit there and absorb everything.  I just knew she understood everything I said because when my grandparents had to stay with me for awhile when my mother was in the hospital, I heard my grandfather get upset because of her barking (she really didn’t bark all that much).  So I told her that when she wanted out to just go to the door and if no one noticed, to give a “quiet” bark.  Then when she wanted in, to bark twice.  I don’t think it was my imagination that from then on, that’s exactly what she did. 

 

When I was in 7th grade, I got up one morning to discover that Gretel was sniffling.  I really wanted Mom to take her to the vet then.  But Mom couldn’t miss work or she wouldn’t get paid.  I think we both talked ourselves into believing she just had a cold.  Since Gretel stayed in our “mudroom” area when we were gone, I left the door open a little as I left for school that morning.  I talked to her and petted her and then I left.  I usually arrived home from school about 30 minutes before my mom did.  When I walked in the door, I immediately called her name.  I heard nothing.  Somehow I knew before I got to her bed that she was gone.  The shock of seeing her lifeless body was more than I could bear.  I called my mom’s work, told them it was an emergency & when Mom got on the phone I exploded in sobs begging her to come home RIGHT NOW.  She said she would, however, knowing she only had five more minutes before her day was over, I’m sure she stuck around for those five minutes.  Nothing would change if she had left right then other than she would have been docked about 15 minutes worth of work time. 

 

After she arrived home, we took poor Gretel to the vet.  She wanted to make sure she hadn’t been poisoned and asked for an autopsy.  Mom said all she saw were dollar signs wondering what she had asked for!  It was concluded that Gretel had contracted bronchial pneumonia and her lungs had filled with fluid.  We had her buried in a pet cemetery in the Dayton area (I don’t even think I know where it is).  Luckily, the autopsy and burial weren’t as expensive as my mom had thought.

 

From that time on, she said no more animals. That it wasn’t fair to them to be alone most of the time – with her at work and me at school.  I think she was also trying to protect her heart and mine from any other pet losses.

 

Intermingled in all that time, my sister and her family had a dog and cat.  When they’d go on vacation, they’d board the dog but asked mom to watch their cat.  Remember the whole “not a cat person” story from above?  Well, I will say that at first Kitty liked Mom more than Mom liked Kitty.  But I think that changed.  Mom finally said she didn’t mind Kitty because she didn’t rub around on her legs or get under her feet.  She was a pretty laid back cat. 

 

As an adult, I’ve had several dogs and cats and birds.  No fish – I’m not a fish person!  The best cat I ever owned was found in a diesel truck yard – covered in black soot.  He wasn’t very old.  The first thing I did was throw him in a bath to get all that soot off of him.  He turned out to be a beautiful gray and white cat.  We called him “T.C.” for Tom Cat.  He quickly learned where he could sit (not on my kitchen counters or table), where he could scratch (on his cat post, not the furniture or carpet), and that he needn’t be afraid of people.  When my oldest daughter was an infant, he would sit at the foot of her infant seat and hiss at anyone who came near to her that he didn’t know.  We soon learned to “introduce” T.C. to people and tell him it was okay that they get near the baby. 

 

We had been in our present home a little over a year; listening to our son wish he had a dog.  His sisters were old enough to run off and play without him and he was still so little he could only go in the backyard – not in the front.  So one weekend the kids and I went to an Adopt-A-Pet event.  There was a little white dog who seemed so excited to see people who were interested in her.  We were told she was at least 2 years old, housebroken and spayed (all not true).  She was part terrier, part poodle – but her fur was shaved close to her body so she wasn’t all fluffy and hot.  After she arrived home with us, she found the kitchen floor and decided she wanted to mop it up for us.  That’s how she got her name – Mopsey.  We determined she was probably at least 6 months old.  But when she started chewing on everything we owned, it was outside for her.  I was working full time and with three kids, there wasn’t any time to housetrain her or anything else.  She had a carpeted dog house and was an outside dog for a long time.  My son had his friend.  He’d sit on the edge of the patio with his arm around her.  After our last child was born, she was very careful not to jump on the baby.  Finally we brought her in to let her have a place on the inside.  She had matured so that she wasn’t chewing on anything and was pretty laid back.  Mopsey was part of our family for quite a long time.  The spring before our son graduated high school, we could tell she was going downhill.  After all she was at least 17 years old.  She went blind and have a seizure every once in a while.  The weekend of graduation, we already had her on medication & a special diet hoping to halt any further damage to her kidneys.  But a few days later – she started seizing constantly.  We all knew it was time.  In the morning, my youngest daughter, grandson and I took her to the vet.  He examined her and told us that we really only had one choice to spare her any further indignity as he didn’t think she was aware of any pain anymore.  I called family to let them know and give them the option of being there at the last moments.  So with soothing words of comfort and love to our beloved Mopsey, we waited for the end. 

 

It took quite a while before we wouldn’t cry anymore every time her name was mentioned or a memory about her was shared.  She had been an important part of our family life and I believe she had waited until she got to see everyone one last time before giving it up. 

 

Almost a year later, our youngest daughter was ready for another friend.  So for her 15th birthday, we found a medium sized mixed breed named Oreo.  She was a year old, housebroken and spayed (all true this time).  She’s been a best friend to my daughter and we often wonder just who gets the bed as Oreo loves to lay her head on pillows and be covered up – just like a person!  She is smart and has similar traits to her human! 

 

Yes, pets have been an extension of not only my immediate family, but of my mom, my sister, and my grandparents.  They have only enhanced our lives and helped us be better people because of their unconditional love for us.

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The 49th Carnival of Genealogy – Swimsuit Addition has now been posted!  I urge everyone to go take a look and read through the stories.  There are wonderful old pictures of people in swim “gear” and some stories to go along with them.  Jasia, the host, even has her pictures put up on a really cool digital scrapbook page.  I spent about an hour this morning reading quite a lot of them and posting comments.  I want to thank everyone who shared their amazing stories, memories and photos with the genealogy world!

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For those who need some sort of validation about anything – now’s your chance to get on the bandwagon!  Jasia at Creative Gene posted that the Carnival of Genealogy is featured on Blog Carnival. I suggest you head over that way to check out what they’re saying! It’s a couple days late to submit for this Carnival but tomorrow all of the submissions will be posted & the new CoG will be announced. Why don’t you join the CoG?

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I was first introduced to the concept of “swimming” when I was just a wee little one.  Here’s a bathing suit, there’s the water, stick your feet in.  Something like that.  As a young child I had various experiences with water.  I had a small, child’s pool that during the summer Mom and Dad filled up with water.  She’d put my hair up in pin curls so it wouldn’t get wet.  My hair was so curly and unmanageable that she’d do anything to keep it from getting wet and frizzy.  There was also hotel swimming pools as Mom and Dad traveled a lot before I started school and we were always staying at hotels with pools.  Then there was the lake in Michigan.  My uncle (Glen Johnson, Jr.) lived in the old Kellogg mansion off Lake Goguac.  Every summer we would visit my aunt and uncle I would want to go “swimming”.  My excitement always faded with those first steps into that lake.  I wasn’t thrilled to feel the sand and muck on my bare feet.  I especially didn’t like it when fish swam by.

 

I was about six when my parents decided to put in a backyard swimming pool.  A genuine pool!  Below ground, 17×36 with a shallow end of 3 feet and a deep end of 8 feet, including a diving board.  Wow!  I remember that it seemed to take forever for them to dig the pool, shape it out, put in the metal frame, line it with a vinyl liner, and get the walkway poured and tiled.  Then an 8 foot chain link fence was erected around the whole thing to which my parents put out a call to family members.  Whoever wanted to swim in the pool needed to come and help finish everything.  We had quite a few family members show up to help!  We put slats in the chain link fence which made it very hard for the neighbors to peer into our pool area.  We had a gate with a lock so no one could help themselves to a swim.  Finally it was finished.  But it wasn’t warm enough yet to try.  Then I came home from school one day in April and my parents asked me if I wanted to swim.  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing!  The water was cold – barely warm enough to stay in for any length of time.

 

That first summer my parents tried to teach me to swim or at least learn how to hold my breath to go under water.  No dice!  No one was going to hold me on my stomach while I tried to perfect the technique of swimming.  It wasn’t until a neighbor boy was over and showed me that he could swim.  No boy was going to show me up!  From that moment on, I swam!  I jumped into the deep end from the diving board and used the side of the pool to learn to dive.  I was in that pool every moment possible!  A couple years later I became part of the “Flying Fish” swim team at the base.  I spent a couple afternoons a week learning new techniques – the butterfly stroke, the breast stroke, swimming backwards, dog paddling, swimming underwater and for my first race I had to use the butterfly stroke.  Swimming was my life and I was good at it!

 

The pool became “the” place for family and friend gatherings.  Sometimes we found out just who our real friends were.  Did they want to visit with us or did they just want to swim in the pool?  My parents hosted family reunions that always involved swimming or being out by the pool.  I stayed so tan that my bronze glow didn’t dim even during the long winter months in Ohio.  As I grew older, I learned how to skim the water for leaves and other stuff, test the pH and chemical levels, and tried to learn how to actually clean and backwash the pool to keep the filter running smoothly.  So it came as a great disappointment when we had to move when I was 15.  The house, the half acre lot, the pool – all of it was becoming way too expensive for my divorced mother to keep up with.  I’m sure she was also thinking of a time down the road when I’d leave home and then there wouldn’t be anyone to help her mow the grass, do the housework, or take care of the pool.  Unfortunately my swimming suffered as well.  Spoiled as I was by having a backyard pool that I didn’t have to share with anyone I didn’t want to share it with, I decline invitations to the community pools.  People there just want to sit, splash and play.  I want to swim and dive.  I don’t want to see other people in their bathing suits (or lack of them).  In a way child hood with its lack of worries and woes, ended when we moved from that house. 

 

Picture 1: Backyard Pool; Picture 2: Dad and I in the pool; Picture 3: Family Reunion – my nephew (in life vest), Aunt Margaret, friend Nancy, and me (chasing beach ball).

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     Most people outside of East Central Ohio probably have never heard of Roscoe Village.  Located in Tuscarawas Township, Coshocton City, Coshocton County, Ohio, it sits off of the Ohio and Erie Canal.  Coshocton County was formed from the Muskingum and Tuscarawas counties in December 1810 and takes its name from the Delaware Indian word meaning “black bear town” (cush-og-wenk) or “union of waters” (“coshoc-gung”)[Source: Wikipedia].  The first canal boat docked at Roscoe Village in 1830 bringing people and goods into this area of Ohio.

     Today Roscoe Village has become a part of living history with guided historical tours and festivals annually to celebrate its significance.

     My great-great-grandfather, William Amore, born in the Albany area of New York in 1828, found his way to Coshocton County by 1848.  His grandson (my great-uncle), Isaiah “Zade” Henderson Amore recounted in a letter to the editor of the Coshocton Tribune in 1971, “Inasmuch as my grandfather, William Amore, was a mule-driver on the Erie Canal prior to 1850 . . .” 

     I believe, though I haven’t any documented proof, that William, wanting to leave New York to find land of his own, migrated toward Ohio via the Erie Canal around the age of 16-18 years old.  Perhaps his own father or both of his parents had died or were facing difficult economic times, and William wanted to strike out on his own.  Upon reaching the state of Ohio, he more than likely traveled down river until he reached Roscoe Village and Coshocton County.  Sometime before 1850 he became a mule driver on the Erie Canal to earn a wage in order to live.  It is known that he married in 1848 to Frances Price who only lived two years more.

     In the 1850 Census William is found living in Oxford Township, Coshocton County, with the Thomas Buck family and gave his occupation as Shoemaker (a trade he would pass down to his oldest son, William Henry Amore).  William married a second time to Charlotte (Reed of Imons – depending on what document is to be believed) who gave him five sons of which three died very young.  With is third wife, Elizabeth Spencer, the family increased by seven more children – three sons also dying as children or infants.  Elizabeth lived many years after William, who passed away on February 9, 1896.  He had spent his life as a mule driver and then shoemaker.

     William’s oldest son, William Henry (or “Henry” as he was known), also took up the cobbler trade.  He and his wife, Mary Angelina Werts (“Annie”) lived in Roscoe for many years.  His granddaughter reflected, “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.” 

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

     Cobbler Shop & Henry Amore Home

     The first family reunion was held at William and Annie’s home in Roscoe on May 25, 1924.  Subsequent reunions were held at the Grange Hall at the Coshocton County Fairgrounds.

Henry’s son, Lloyd William Amore, the fourth of seven children, and his wife, Ella Marie (House), lived above the Roscoe General Store in the early 1900s shortly after they were married.  In one of those rooms some of my aunts and uncles were born! 

    

Roscoe General Store

     My paternal side has a long and endearing connection to Roscoe Village and Coshocton County, Ohio.  I was fortunate to feel some of that connection as a child when we would visit relatives who lived there or attend one of the many family reunions.  I wish that today as an adult who has discovered so much more than I thought I could about my family history, that I could visit that historic town again.  To stand on the banks of the canals and rivers and picture William Amore driving the mule.  To sit on the porch of Henry and Annie’s home in Roscoe and picture the 100+ family members gathered together over 80 years ago at the first reunion.  To visit the Roscoe General Store and hear in my mind the cries of the newborn babies – my father’s older siblings.  To visit Coshocton High School where my dad graduated and to visit the graves of ancestors I never got a chance to meet.  Those opportunities are waiting for me – just as my ancestors are waiting through their wills, graves, birth records and more, for me to find them. 

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Tomorrow’s CoG

Stay tuned and come back tomorrow when I make my post to be added to the Carnival of Genealogy managed by http://creativegene.blogspot.com .  The post will be about a place an ancestor lived.  What will I post about?  Rush County, Indiana?  Madison County, Indiana?  Hartford, Conn?  Coshocton, Ohio?  Or some other location?  You’ll just have to stay tuned!  And are you contributing something?  I’d like to challenge readers to go to Creative Gene and read what the submissions should be and then write up your own post and contribute them to the CoG this week.  And if you are unable to do that on such short notice, please read as many of them as you can and then send comments to those you do read.

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