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(I started this blogging prompt late in the month so will try to catch up!)
Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist has listed blogging prompts for each day of March to celebrate Women’s History Month. The blog prompt for March 4: “Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.”

I am lucky enough to have original my maternal grandparents’ original marriage records as well as her parents (Joseph N Wilt and Martha J Stern) and my great-grandparents’ (Emanuel B Stern and Nancy Caylor). I don’t have wedding pictures of either of those couples, but I do have a wedding picture of my maternal grandfather’s parents (Katie J Blazer and John L Johnson).

katie_john_wedding

John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J Blazer – married on Wednesday, July 4, 1883
Katie was not quite 19 years old.

I have digital copies of marriage records via FamilySearch for John L Johnson’s parents (my 2nd great-grandparents), James Wilson Johnson and Amanda Eveline Mullis, and for Amanda’s parents – John Mullis and Darlett Stanley (married in Wilkes county, North Carolina) on February 22, 1811. Recently, I found the marriage license and certificate (digital copy) for my great-grandfather, Joseph N Wilt, and his second wife, Anna Park. On the line that asked if he had been married before, he listed “no.” When I saw that, I exclaimed “Liar!” at my computer screen (he had walked out on my great-grandmother, Martha, and 6 kids under 14 years old). Perhaps, he didn’t know if the divorce had ever been finalized (it had) and didn’t want to have to legally be bound to getting that information.

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After two+ days of labor and delirium, Mary gave birth to her first born child (no, this isn’t THAT story!). The baby boy weighed over 10 lbs and came into the world on January 2, 1940.  His mother was just a mere eighteen – still a child herself. He was the first grandchild for his maternal grandparents who doted on him and cared for him when his mother was working.  In fact, he met his great-grandmother in Oregon before his mother had met the woman!

When he was five and a half, he found himself an older brother to his newborn baby sister.  The family lived in a state far away from the grandparents he loved dearlyjim picture new camera. He made friends with the neighboring family’s children.  As a young teen, he found himself – along with his mother and sister – on a sjim&sandykelso001hip headed to Japan to join the family patriarch who had been stationed there with the United States Army Air Corps (the forerunner to the U.S. Air Force). He made friends, participated in the Boy Scouts, learned to be a photographer, and tried to be a dutiful son and big brother.  Since they were so far from family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins – they sent many letters back to the States.  After a few years, they went back to their home state of Ohio, but then once again found themselves back in Japan again. He graduated from the American High School and joined the Air Force. Unfortunately, due to his eyesight and other physical issues, he was discharged before too long.

In February 1961, he married a woman that he met at work.  Soon after they were married, he heard that he was going to be a big brother again!  He and his wife took the new little sister under their wing, and she spent many weekends with them. As his baby sister grew, he found himself in a role that he never expected – being torn between being her big brother and confidante and a father-figure when their father moved away. At the same time, he was enjoying new fatherhood for he and his wife had just adopted their own little boy.

He had found his niche working for a printing company in Dayton and assumed he would be there until retirement. He and his wife had finally found a home they were fixing up and happy with that wasn’t that far away from both of their mom’s. He was an officer with the local Fraternal Order of Eagles and enjoyed the friendships and community service he found within the organization.

There were a series of losses – his beloved maternal grandmother and then grandfather and close friends.  After his son graduated high school, hardship struck when the printing company closed the doors. Dayton was experiencing a major downturn in the jobs market and he had a very hard time finding a job right away so he went to work for a cousin. He and his family moved to another home and proceeded.  Every so often he would find he and his mom on the outs – he avoided confrontation like the plague, and she sought it out.

thanksgiving98_3He found a new love in a far off state.  For a short time, he was remarkably happy. Then his health began to deterioriate. The worst part was that no one could tell him exactly why or what to do about it. By the time the doctors had discovered the pancreatic cancer, it was much too late. He only had a short time left. Too short of time for he and his mother to reconcile – although she tried to tell him while he was comatose. His two sisters were also grief-stricken but tried to remain strong for their mother – who should not have had to see her son succumb to his illness.  Far too soon and far too young, he passed away on the last day of August before the world fell apart and terrorists held the world hostage in horror.

He was survived by his wife, his mother, his father and step-mother, his three sisters and their husbands, his son, many nieces, nephews, cousins, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and friends.

Today, he should be turning 73, and I should be able to call him on the phone and say, “Happy Birthday, Jim! I love you!”

 (Photos: Mary and Jim, 1940; Jim and Sandy Kelso – 1945, photographer: Gene Amore; Jim at Christmas in Japan, photographer: Jim Amore; Gene and Jim Amore, Thanksgiving 1998 in Arkansas, photographer: Wendy Littrell.  All photos – originals and digital images held in possession of Wendy Littrell, Address for Private Use)

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This picture is of my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, with our two dachshunds (Bridget and Gretel) in his lap. this picture was taken in 1971.  Every holiday or family get-together, he would sit in this chair (or whatever chair was in this spot) and hold the dogs.  Many times they would all nap together in the chair. Whenever I remember the holidays as I was growing up, this scene comes to mind!

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George and Jo Littrell

(original photo in possession of Wendy Littrell, Address for private use)

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Marie and Gertrude Amore

sisters, talking

my paternal aunts

Coshocton, Ohio

(original and digital photo owned by Wendy Littrell)

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In my previous post from last Thursday, Treasure Chest Thursday – Items from a Box (Part 1), I wrote about a picture I found in one of the many small boxes of photos and ephemera I have. Today, I’m pulling out one of my grandmother’s grade cards!

Vesta Wilt was born on May 7, 1898 in Noblesville, Hamilton County, Indiana. By the time she was in 7th grade in 1911, her parents had divorced. Her mother and her aunt’s widower had married and were living in Anderson in Madison County, Indiana. She attended Anderson Public Schools and the principal was Eva DeBruler. When she started school in September of 1911, she was in “B” Class of grade 7. In the second semester, she was in “A” Class of grade 7 and by the end of the school year, she was promoted to the “B” Class of grade 8. Her mother signed “M. Clawson” for each month of the two terms of the school year except for the last – May.

My grandmother received A’s, B+’s, and B’s  in all of her subjects (Conduct, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Arithmetic, Language, Geography, Sewing, and History). Grammar was crossed out and Sewing was written in. She took one month of Music during her first term, and she only missed one day during the first month of school.

Stay tuned for more Items from a Box!

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Many (many!) years ago during one of my visits to my hometown, my mom pulled out a couple of small boxes of photos and told me I could take them. She and I went through them, picture by picture, in order for her to tell me who, what, when, where, etc. – because NO ONE WROTE IT DOWN! So I brought the boxes home and as the case may be – I acquired more small boxes of photos as the years progressed. After my brother passed away, his son gave me a lot of photos and memorabilia because he didn’t want it (due to an estrangement at the time of my brother’s death). Then, after my mother passed away three years ago, I ended up with what she still had.

Through the years I have scanned this photo and that. Written about this photo or that. I’ve scanned documents and letters and taken digital photos of “stuff”. In order to really see what I have, all of the papers, photos, documents, and ephemera need to be filed and cataloged. I started with just one small box of photos the other day. What I didn’t already have a digital copy of, I made one. What I had, was tagged with the who, what, when, and where (or as much as I knew!).

For the next several Thursday’s (and other days for other blog posts), I will be writing about items that were in a box. The first item is a picture of George Welch.

The caption on the front of the photo reads:

George went on a fishing trip last Sunday. There was 17 went they caught 43 fish which weighed about 600 lbs. 

This is a photo postcard and on the back it reads:

We took some pictures of the baby if they are any good we will send you some. Good Bye Your Children.

When I first read all of that, I had to figure out who George was. The postcard is addressed to Mr. F Clawson.  That would be Frank Clawson – my great-grandmother’s (Martha Stern Wilt) second husband. (He had previously been married to Martha’s sister, Margaret Ellen Stern. After Ellen died and after Martha and her husband, Joe Wilt (my great-grandfather), divorced, Frank married Martha. Frank and Ellen’s daughter, Nancy Jane Clawson, married George Welch in Anderson, Indiana on November 29, 1905 (Source – Title: Marion County, Index to Marriage Record 1866 – 1870 Inclusive Vol, Original Record Located: County Clerk’s Office Ind; Book: 165). The couple ended up in California with two daughters – Dorothy Ellen and Lenore.

What strikes me about the photo is that George is pretty dressed up – at least to our contemporary way of thinking – to go fishing. He sure is a well dressed, handsome young man!  George was born on March 24, 1885 in Plainfield, Indiana (Title: Marion County, Index to Marriage Record 1866 – 1870 Inclusive Vol, Original Record Located: County Clerk’s Office Ind; Book: 165). 

Below is a photo of Nancy as a young girl with her parents, Frank and Ellen Clawson.

Nancy would be by first cousin twice removed. (Our common ancestor would be her grandparents – Emanuel and Nancy Stern – they were my 2nd great-grandparents.)  Nancy and my maternal grandmother – Vesta Wilt Johnson – were first cousins because their mothers were sisters.

So stay tuned for the next segment of Items from a Box! I never know what I’m going to find!

 

 

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