Thursday, November 30, 2017

Things and Other Things that Are Coming Up with Love

What we work on, in our genealogical research, is discovering what the lives and loves of our ancestors were like in whatever small way we can, without a big book of family stories to read from. Filling in those blanks has brought me great pleasure this past three years. I've taken trips of exploration, interviewed distant relatives, researched parts of family I never knew I had, and met with others in my own far-flung family who share my interests in-person from time-to-time (shout out to my cousin in Clarksville!)

This past several months have been most busy. Hopefully making memories that won't be quite as hard to unearth for future generations.  I am blessed to be the mother of three children, all brought into my life and heart through adoption. They are all well-adjusted and amazing kids and I couldn't be more proud of them and their accomplishments thus far in life. They are all grown now and settling into adult lives of their own making. My oldest is married and has a two-year-old child of his own. To see him with her would warm the coldest of hearts. You can read a little bit about my youngest two's start in life here. They are doing far beyond early predictions. All three are the greatest joy of my life.

Recently, I've been trying to put together pieces of the family trees of all three of them. Fortunately, two will share the same information or it might have gotten a little crazy. In discussing doing the work on this with them, they, who have generally shown little or no interest in their biological families, are indeed most interesting in hearing about the people who came in generations before.

What I've discovered thus far is compelling and fascinating. The two stories are about as different as they could be from one another as it relates to the path of immigration, but each story is very rich. And, both stories end up in the north-central Midwest.

I don't have the resources with their research I've had with my own biological family. I can't ask a cousin to ask a cousin if I can come up and talk to them. Most of their relatives don't even know they exist. It could be a bit shocking to make those calls! They all had open adoptions, so talking to at least one birth parent is not a problem, but, what we find out from that adventure, we have yet to discover. It's one I'm looking forward to doing what I am able to do and providing it to my children to help them in their own quest for self-identity.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Catholics: O'Connors of Black Hawk County

The O'Connors are the paternal line of my first cousin's husband. Unlike most of our Protestant, atheist/agnostic crew, this family and the ones it married into were all Catholic and settled in primarily Catholic Gilbertville, IA area, Washburn, and Waterloo, which all had heavy Catholic presence.

John J. O'Connor was reportedly from Tipperary, County Cork, Ireland, according to a great-great grandson. He was born on 07 Jun 1813. He married Bridget Carlin (many variations in various records), who was born on 24 Jun 1823 in Ireland. Bridget and John were married 08 Jan 1844 in Friendsville, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. They settled in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, where they had their first three children, Thomas, John Jr., and Peter between 1844 and 1849.  By 1852, they were in Illinois, where Mary was born. They are reported to be in Black Hawk County later in 1852 and their next child was born in Black Hawk County in 1854 with six more to follow through 1874.

The O'Connor family quickly became well-known in the region and had grain, lumber, and grocery interests as a family. They belong to St Mary's Catholic Church in Gilbertville.

John died on 13 Dec 1897 in Cedar Township, Black Hawk County, Iowa and was buried in Poyner Township. Bridget lasted five more years. Both had been early and productive pioneers of the area.

Mrs John (Listed as Richard) O'Connor Passed Away at Home There This Morning
Washburn, Jan 2 - Special to Reporter: Mrs John (listed as Richard) O'Connor, one of the oldest ladies in this part, of the county, died at her home in this place this morning at 3 o'clock. Old age was the primary cause of death, the woman having reached the fourth year beyond the four score mark, although also had been a constant sufferer for more than one year from hemorrhage of the lungs. Her illness  from this was very severe at times, and her death had been expected for several months.
Mrs John O'Connor leaves a large family of children They are: Peter, Westgate, Iowa; John, Raymond, Ia; James, Sumner, Ia; Richards, Jr., Washburn, Ia, who is engaged in buying grain at that place; Victor, Boyd, Iowa; Mrs Michael Nugent, Washburn, Ia; Mrs Frank Youngblut, Washburn; Mrs O'Connor had made her home with her daughter, Mrs Nugent, at this place, since the death of her husband which occurred five years ago. The familly has resided in this community for many years and are known by a large number of people. Deceased was a member of St Mary's Catholic church at Gilbertville, and the funeral will be held in that church, but the full arrangements have not yet been made.
Semi Weekly Reporter
Tuesday, January 3, 1905, Waterloo, Iowa

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Catholics: Youngblut, Simmerl, Hottua, & More

Diekirch and Esch-Sur-Alzette
My first cousin is married to a fella' quite different from the rest of our Protestant or atheist/agnostic family. His family on all sides came from completely Catholic roots. Additionally, his forefathers came from Ireland and surprisingly, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a small country in Western Europe abutting Belgium, Germany, and France.  Today, I want to talk a little about the Hottua's and Simmerls, of Luxembourg.

Oberfeulen, Diekirch, Luxembourg is a village of about 300 souls in the commune of Feulen and Canton of Diekrich.  This village was a rural, agricultural one. ANGELA HOTTUA was the daughter of Petrus Hottua (the name was Hothoi until this generation) and Catherine Glesener and was born in on 16 Feb 1806. Petrus and his family were blacksmiths.

She married Theodore Simmerl on 14 Feb 1827 in Oberfeulen. Theodore was born on 26 Sep 1797 in Oberfuelen and  was the son of Joseph Simmerl JR and Marie-Jeanne Gilson.

Theodore was a teacher from 1825 to 1830. In 1848, he took up being a "white painter," which was a painter who painted house facades with white chalk, a common practice of the era. Theodore died in 1855 after he and Angela had 12 children.

Daughter Susan, born 02 Apr 1831 in Oberfeulen, had a child out of wedlock of an unknown father at age 25, according to church records, was baptized and born on 30 Dec 1856, and listed as "Filia naturalis," meaning she was illegitimate.  In the 1852 and 1855 censuses she is listed as maid in the Jean Manderscheid household in Oberfeulen.  We can only guess who the father might have been.
Susan, and her unmarried brother, Peter, went to America, arriving in May 1857 in New York. They moved on to Luxemburg, Liberty Township, Dubuque County from there. They had left Susan's daughter Barbara with grandmother Angela in Luxembourg (along with her three sisters).

Liberty Township was first settled between 1838-1851 by English, Irish, Luxembourg, and German immigrants. By the mid-1850s, about 60 families requested a Catholic church, and the first frame structure was built in 1861 and dedicated in 1865.
Susan Simmerl & Frank Youngblut
After six months, Susan married recent immigrant Frank Jungblut/Youngblut in Dec 1857.  The couple began farming outside Gilbertville, in Black Hawk County and would have 9 children of their own; seven of whom survived to adulthood. They retired to Gilbertville in their old age.

Frank, too, hailed from Luxembourg, having been born in Aspelt, Esch-Sur-Alzett, near France.  In Luxembourg, he had been a farm worker. He emigrated in 1852 through New Orleans, making his way up the Mississippi River until he arrived in Dubuque County and then on to Black Hawk County. He worked as a farm hand in Black Hawk County for a few years until he could purchase his own land at a whopping $9 per acre. He took part in the community and was an active Catholic. According to records, he aided in building the slabs of the first Catholic Church in Gilbertville, Immaculate Conception.

Peter Simmerl sent for mother Angela and niece Barbara, and they settled Granville, Sioux County, Iowa.  Angela died in 1897, after living some time with son Peter. Barbara married in 1876 to Henry Bunkers, and they lived in Granville during their lifetimes and raised 11 children.

Frank died on 11 May 1892 in Gilbertville. Susan survived an additional 15 years, having lived with daughter Anna Youngblut Wendling in Independence and then with son John.
Mrs Youngblut died at the home of her son John in Fox township Sunday evening at 6:00 o'clock, after a lingering illness of several months. Deceased has lived here for many years on the farm now occupied by her son Frank H, having come here with her husband in the forties. Her husband preceded her in death about 15 years ago. Mrs Youngblut lived in Washburn several years and until last winter when she started to visit with her daughter, Mrs J Wendling, near Independence, where she became sick, but was removed at her request to the home of her son John some time ago. She will be buried tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10:00 o'clock in the Catholic cemetery here. She leaves seven children to mourn her death - John of Fox township, FH of Cedar township, Josephine of Indiana, Anna near Independence, and Mary at Marion, Sophie at Washburn and Susie, Boyd, Iowa all of whom are married.
Semi Weekly Reporter Friday, May 25, 1906, Waterloo, Iowa

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

SIDEROAD: Peter Mesch

Peter Mesch & Katie Heber
FERDINAND MESCH > PETER MESCH m (1) Catherine "Katie" Heber (2) Lavina Theresa Alexander

Peter Mesch was the oldest child of Ferdinand Mesch and Margaret Duehr, born in Feb 1874 in Dubuque County, Iowa. There were a total of 13 children of this union.

Peter was a good looking fella'. He married Catherine "Katie" Heber on 21 Sep 1897 in Dubuque County. In 1900, they were living with her mother and several of her siblings on their farm near Balltown. He was doing farm labor there and by then had had their first two children: Elizabeth and Nicholas. In 1902, Margaret came along and in 1904, they had an infant daughter who died shortly after birth.

On 20 Feb 1905, Katie died after a terrible accident the previous week, where she had taken a fall. She left her husband and three children to mourn her. She was only 32 years old.

Peter married relatively quickly, the following year on 30 Oct 1906 to Lavina Theresa Alexander, who was born 06 Aug 1878 in Washington Mills, Dubuque County. They began their family in 1907 and would ultimately have eight children. Peter moved to Delaware County near Manchester and farmed on a rented property.

Lavina also died young.  On 24 Jul 1931, she died in Milo Township of stomach cancer. She had suffered for some 18 months prior to her death.

Peter lived until 18 Sep 1962 and died in Manchester. Eight of his 12 children survived him.

Besides the infant who died in 1904, three other children predeceased him. On 26 Apr 1926, his daughter Margaret, who had married Walter Salzsiedler, on 16 Apr 1925 in Campbell County, South Dakota, died just a year after her marriage in Mound City, South Dakota, with no children.

Daughter Mary Mabel, only 13 years old, died at the Dittmer hospital on 18 Apr 1928. She had a tumor on her spleen that was inoperable.

And, in 1920, Peter and Lavina lost their infant daughter Martha Luella.

Caption on photo reads: Top Row: Joseph Mesch, Catherine (Kate), Albert, John, Rachel
and Nicholas. Bottom row: Peter, Mary, Catherine Arend

Saturday, November 18, 2017

SIDEROAD: Ferdinand Mesch

My uncle Roger married Ardella Jean Mesch. Jean, as she was known, passed away in 2012. I've always been interested in her family which was a large, sprawling German Catholic family whose patriarch, Ferdinand Mesch, settled in America in 1871. Every time I think about writing about him, I keep going back to the research of Elgene Schmidt Mesch, wife of Alvin Mesch, Ferdinand's grandson. Elgene has since passed away and this document is widely shared on Ancestry, so I'm going to reprint it here, unless I hear any objections. This will serve as the basis for Mesch stories to come.

FERDINAND MESCH m Mary Margaret Duehr > PETER MESCH m (1) Catherine "Katie Heber" (2) Lavina Theresa Alexander > (2) JOSEPH R MESCH m Wilma Irene Helmrich > ARDELLA JEAN MESCH m Roger Linsey

by Elgene Schmidt Mesch

During the early 1860's, most of Central Europe was in turmoil. The economy was very weak, jobs were scarce, people were suffering everywhere. Prussia, Austria, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany were all fighting over boundary lines, land, and control of certain provinces. The local populations in the border territories lived in poverty and in constant fear of war and disputes. Young men were being conscripted and forced to serve in their national armies.

One of those young men was Ferdinand Moesch (born Nov. 1845). He lived with his parents, Mary Theresa and Wilhelm Moesch, in the city of Baden-Baden, near the French border in Taubien Province in southwest Prussia (Germany). At age 17, Ferdinand was the oldest among several siblings and, like other young men his age, probably worried about being drafted into the Prussian army.

The unworldly Ferdinand was likely confused and frightened and, perhaps, unhappy with his current lot in life. He probably daydreamed about America. Ferdinand would have undoubtedly seen the posters being hung and handbills being distributed throughout Europe, telling of limitless opportunities and freedom in America. Settlers were needed to homestead America's vast Midwest. It was the "Land of Opportunity," in contrast to Europe. Eventually, he determined to go to America. Being enterprising and bold, he may have quietly planned his escape to America and told no one around him about his dream.

Two stories have emerged from among his descendants about the events which led to Ferdinand's departure for America. One story has Ferdinand already conscripted and serving in the Prussia Army, which he deserted through a daring escape to America. In the other version, he ignored the army's notice of conscription and planned his escape to flee prosecution for draft evasion.

  Ferdinand may not have had the $15 to $20 passenger fare to cross the ocean. Even if he had the money, he would have been considered either a draft dodger or army deserter, and authorities watched the loading docks for those kinds of passengers. He knew he would have to steal aboard a ship as a stowaway. Exactly how he accomplished this feat isn't known. He certainly would have had to discard, disguise or hide his uniform. He was somehow able to secretly slip aboard a ship headed for America and hide among the cargo in the lower levels of the ship. Stowaways were not uncommon in those days. Many times, even if spotted by a ship's crewman after leaving port, they were often ignored or sometimes given menial tasks to do to earn food during the voyage.

Emigrating to America was an arduous test of human endurance. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean was still done by sailing vessel, which, depending on the winds, could take from one to three months. Third-class passengers were confined to the lower decks, which lacked fresh air and were over-crowded and unsanitary. Passengers had to provide their own food for the trip and shared communal stoves. Estimating how much food would be necessary was difficult and, on long voyages, hunger became a problem for many. Illness and disease could spread quickly.

Upon arrival in New York, all passengers would off-board and be herded into the Customs Office and Receiving Center, where their names would be recorded and they would be detained until sponsoring relatives or friends would come for them. In the chaos, noise, and confusion of the Customs Office, Immigration Officers recorded the name of each new arrival. Spelling errors regularly occurred, as officials, misunder-standing word pronunciations of the various European languages, would simply write the names like they sounded; possibly accounting for the several different spellings of Mesch (Moesch, Maesch, etc.).

In the Receiving Centers where they were detained, the new arrivals were able to buy milk and bread, wash in free hot water, and sleep on benches or the floor. They always had to be on-guard for thieves and pick-pockets or shysters attempting to dupe them of what little money or few possessions they had.

How long he was detained and who sponsored him are unknown, but once released from the Receiving Center, Ferdinand immediately set about locating the Peter Duehr family, who had been neighbors back in Baden-Baden. Peter and Caroline (Masen) Duehr had arrived in America a short time earlier, with their four small children, the oldest of whom was seven-year-old Margaret. The Duehr family had made their way to Iowa and settled at Balltown. Ferdinand followed them and found work with various farmers in the area.

During the next ten years, Ferdinand watched Margaret grow to become a capable, hard-working young woman. They married Oct. 21, 1873, at Sherill, Iowa, not far from Balltown, and began farming and raising a family in the area. Over the next fourteen years, Margaret gave birth to ten children.

In 1887, Ferdinand moved his family to Buncombe, near Zwingle, Iowa, where their son, Adolph, was born. Four years later they purchased a farm at nearby Sylvia. Ferdinand and Margaret had three more children here, and this farm was known as the Mesch Farm for the next 56 years.

As the Catholic population grew in the area around Sylvia, John J. Keane, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, granted permission for construction of a new church honoring the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which would be located less than one mile from the Mesch Farm. During 1895 and 1896, Ferdinand and his neighbors provided the necessary materials, donated their time, talents and energy, and worked together to build their new church, which was completed for a total of $750.00. The first Mass was celebrated Christmas Day, 1896, in their new church, which was still without pews. Margaret's younger brother, Albert Duehr, a parishioner, made the pews by hand during the next few months. The following summer, the parish held a week-long fund-raising celebration and even hired the Ruesso Orchestra out of Chicago. The congregation raised enough money to pay the entire remaining debt for the new church.

In addition to farming, Ferdinand traveled throughout the area with his breeding stallion, servicing the mares of many farmers. He was an outgoing man and, often during his travels, would stop at a country store or saloon along the way to enjoy refreshments and a gabfest with the locals. Ferdinand's refreshment of choice was likely an alcoholic beverage, and his frequent social stops contributed to his ongoing problem with alcohol. Ferdinand often arrived home after dark and, sometimes, quite inebriated. However, the horses needed only minimum guidance to find their way home, and one of his eight sons could always be counted on to open the gate for him and to unharness, feed and water the horses, and check them in the barn. Whatever his shortcomings, a silver lining to Ferdinand's enjoyment of alcohol was its impact on at least one of his sons. After observing his fathers' behavior, Adolph, at the young age of 10 or 12, vowed he would never drink alcohol. He kept his vow throughout his life.

Ferdinand and Margaret prospered on their farm during the next ten years. Four of their children married during that time. Their sons remained to help on the farm, except one. At age 17 or 18, Ferdinand, Jr., left home to seek his fortune in the West; he was never heard from again. Occasional rumors were heard. One had him joining the Texas Rangers in the early 1900's, another said he was living in Montana. Several years ago, a cousin of mine who is also interested in genealogy told me about her conversation with an elderly woman from Balltown who was related to or had known the Mesches. The woman remembered one of Ferdinand's boys had wanted to be a priest or monk and may have left home to join a monastery. Nonetheless, unlike his siblings who returned to visit mother and brothers and sisters, he never came back. Ferdinand, Jr.'s whereabouts have never been verified.
As time went on and no word arrived from his son, Ferdinand's mind must have often flashed on his own abrupt and wordless departure from his family and place of birth. Ferdinand had no known contact with his parents or siblings after he arrived in the United States. His status as a deserter from the army or draft evader may have forced his severing contact with them.

Suddenly, after suffering a short illness, Ferdinand died on Jan. 18, 1905. The kind, hard-working Margaret now had to raise her nine remaining children by herself. Daily chores included carrying water from a nearby spring for not only drinking and cooking, but also for canning, washing clothes and bodies, cleaning the house, watering livestock, etc. Years later, a well was drilled nearer to the house. Each summer, the Mesch family grew, harvested, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables. Potatoes were planted and cultivated, dug after the first frost, and then stored in a root cellar to be used during winter.

Margaret experienced the joys and sorrows of raising children. She endured the trials of living with an alcoholic husband and then losing him when her youngest child was just seven years old. She also carried the heartache of a child leaving home and never seeing him again.

Margaret managed the farm and the activities of her children on her own for seventeen years. Then, in January 1922, she sold the farm to her son, Adolph, and his wife Elizabeth (Zeiser). Margaret moved to Dubuque and lived on Lincoln Avenue with an unmarried daughter, Katherine. Margaret died on Oct. 21, 1929, at age 73. She was laid to rest with Ferdinand in the Assumption Church cemetery at Sylvia.

Adolph and Elizabeth raised their six children and lived on the family farm for nearly a quarter century. They endured the loss of one of their children, Vincent, who died at two years of age on Feb. 21, 1921, and was buried in the church cemetery at Sylvia.
Ferdinand arrived 10 Oct 1871 on the Columbus.
*The couple had at least 14 children

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

SIDEROAD: Lewis Lichty, Servant of the People of Waterloo

This is a continuation of information related to the renown Lichty family of Waterloo, Iowa. My 2GAunt Mary Madora "Dora" Smith married Benjamin Franklin Lichty.

Lewis Lichty, son of Jacob Lichty (brother of Abram through whom BF Lichty is related) and Catherine Hunter, was the second of nine children. He was born 29 Feb 1828 in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Lewis came to Waterloo when it was a village, still not even spread to the east bank of the Cedar River. That was in the early 1860s. He married his wife Henrietta C "Etta" Bennett in 1862 at Winchester, West Virginia. According to family accounts, the couple had difficulty leaving West Virginia due to the Civil War, but eventually reached Somerset County, where they resided for many years. She died in 1873 in Waterloo after giving birth to three children, a son and two daughters. Lewis spent the next 37 years a widower, but maintained a home for his children until his daughters married, then he moved in with his son Harry.

His early years in Waterloo found him practicing law. His brother, who later moved to Michigan and died before Lewis, was a practicing physician in Waterloo for several years. In 1868, the Waterloo municipal organization was established and Lewis was named its first solicitor. The next year, he was named Clerk and he served in that role until 1873. In 1873, he was elected Waterloo's second mayor and remained so until 1876. In 1874, he was also trustee of the Fourth Ward, and in 1878, was chosen at the regular election for trustee. He served as mayor again from 1882-1884.

Once Waterloo established their own independent school district in 1866, Lewis served as its first vice president, and later spent 30 years as the secretary.

In 1878, he was one of those responsible for the creation of the Waterloo Building & Loan Association and served as its first secretary. He was active in its management until 1898, having to give up the more difficult duties of secretary to serve as president.

Active in the community, he participated in Masonic work until his death. He was a charter member of Lodge No 25. He died, after a lifetime of service, on 06 Feb 1911.

His son, Harry, would pick up his mantle, serving as president of the Library Board, referee in probate for Black Hawk County from 1933 until 1945. He was a past president of the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club. He was member of the Elks Club, director of the Waterloo Building and Loan Association, and a director of the Waterloo Dairy Cattle Congress.

Harry graduated from the University of Iowa in 1891 with a BA. He was born 29 Dec 1869 in Waterloo. He married Annie M Buren at Princeton, Mo. on 07 June 1893. Lichty owned and managed the Waterloo Concrete Co, which became the Construction Machinery Co, and was sold. He also was one of those responsible for the platting of the Highland Addition in Waterloo and was associated with the Sedgwick-Lichty Abstract Co. He died of a heart ailment on 26 May 1946.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

SIDEROAD: Gabriel Bickley Lichty, MD, Abortionist

I'm always interested in learning about the families my family married into. A case in point is Mary Madora "Dora" Smith Lichty, who married Benjamin Franklin Lichty of Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

The Lichty family hailed from Switzerland in the early 1700s. The Lichty's settled in Somerset County, Pennsylvania and many remained there even as factions of the family broke off and moved to Iowa.

Joseph Jacob Lichty (1758-1847)  was also born in Switzerland. He married Frances Veronica Forney (1773-1844). They would both remain in Somerset County. Several of their 14 children moved to Black Hawk County and would become scions of the city of Waterloo, taking leadership roles, as captains of industry, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and farmers with vast amounts of property. They were incredibly industrious, to say the least, and very integral to the history of Waterloo.

Abram had a son, Elias, who was the father of "my" Lichty (B.F. Lichty). Abram died in Black Hawk County in 1882, his wife Elizabeth Meyers, having died in Somerset County in 1864.

Abram's brother, Jacob, had nine children. Included in that batch of kids was Lewis Lichty, former early mayor of Waterloo. I'll cover him in a different post. Others moved on to Creston, Iowa, where they too, would be movers and shakers in the community.

Abram's brother, Daniel, married Sarah Cobaugh. They in turn had three children, including George Cobaugh Lichty, who then with wife Sarah Casebeer had nine children, one of whom was Allen George. Allen and his wife, Josie Bickley, daughter of Dr. G G Bickley (talk about a bunch of doctors in that bunch - the family was very prominent), had three kids and the baby was Gabriel Bickley Lichty, the subject of this post.

I'm always interested in people who are given all of life's advantages and through dumb luck, bad decisions, or any combination of both, end up losing it all. G. Bickley Lichty is a case in point. There would be no redemption for Bickley, who seemed to keep making the same mistakes.

Bickley was born on 07 Mar 1903 in Black Hawk County. He was a stellar student and was named class valedictorian of his Class of 1920 of West High School in Waterloo. The athletic Bickley, who was a excellent pole vaulter, would graduate and go on to the University of Iowa, where he would receive a bachelor of science degree.  From there, he went on to the University of Minnesota Medical School and the took an internship in Madison, Wisconsin at the Wisconsin General Hospital.

The only blip on the radar had occurred when he was 18 and had purportedly been driving on the wrong side of the road at a high rate of speed in his father's car, when it struck 18-year-old Alfred Miller on his motorcycle, destroying the motorcycle and severely injuring Alfred. Allen and Bickley were sued for $10,000 by Miller and his mother. The outcome of that suit is not known.

Things were all set up for him and upon his return to Waterloo, he joined the practice of his uncle,
second generation doctor GG Bickely, Jr., in January of 1928.  The Bickley practice was well-established. Bickley Lichty enjoyed some renown and was often called upon to testify on medical matters in the courts.

Finally established, Bickley married Miss Hilda Faye Ellis, daughter of Mr & Mrs WN Ellis of 1210 7th St West in Clarksville, Iowa on Friday, August 30, 1929.

His career hummed along, but his health was precarious. Bickley was diabetic and his eyesight began to fail. In 1948, his second wife, Pearl F Metcalf, whom he's married in 1939, divorced him. In 1949, the dark turn of events began that would shape the remainder of Bickley's life.

On November 17, 1949, Bickley was arrested for "attempting to produce an abortion." The County Attorney, Blair Wood, made it his business to pursue the matter to its conclusion. When four witnesses disappeared, he spent plenty of man-hours tracking his witnesses down and placing two of them in custody as material witnesses, of the other two, one was hunted to ground in Washington DC and one in Chicago. Though the case was delayed twice, it was finally adjudicated with a surprise change of plea to guilty. Bickley acknowledged he had performed countless abortions in the past. Despite Bickley's growing blindness and health issues related to diabetes, the judge gave him the maximum, a five-year sentence and $1,000 fine.

Bickley was out of jail on appeal and then entered the Iowa State Penitentiary at Fort Madison in
June of 1950. He would serve 13 months before he was released on parole. He was by now nearly completely blind and no longer had his medical license. The authorities were still watching him.

On January 3, 1954, a married couple from Wisconsin entered the home of Dr. Lichty and upon their departure, they were grabbed and interrogated by authorities who then, with search warrant, entered Lichty's home and arrested him, confiscating the $500 the couple had paid him for an abortion and the doctor's medical instruments. Later, the wife was put into a local hospital and the husband was held by police as a material witness. Authorities found that Dr Lichty was using the kitchen table for procedures and we can surmise this was not the only illegal surgical procedure he'd done.

He again pleaded guilty and was out on appeal under bond when he died in a Waterloo hospital from complications of diabetes and pneumonia. He was in a diabetic coma for several days prior to his death. Had he survived, he most likely would have begun serving his second 5-year term in prison and had to pay, this time, a $500 fine. His body was cremated in Cedar Rapids and a small service was held.

HONOR STUDENTS AT WEST HIGH SELECTED BY FACULTY TODAY,Waterloo Evening Courier; Wednesday, April 28, 1920, Waterloo, Iowa
$10,00 BALM ASKED FOR BOY IN AUTO SUIT, Waterloo Evening Courier;Thursday, April 27, 1922, Waterloo, Iowa
Dr G BICKLEY LICHTY, Waterloo Evening Courier; Friday, January 13, 1928, Waterloo, Iowa
Friday, March 9, 1928, Waterloo, Iowa
Thursday, July 26, 1928, Waterloo, Iowa
Saturday, August 31, 1929, Waterloo, Iowa
WATERLOO MAN IS ARRESTED ON ABORTION COUNT, Mason City Globe Gazette; Thursday, November 17, 1949, Mason City, Iowa
LICHTY ARRAIGNMENT POSTPONED TO FEB 1, Waterloo Daily Courier; Tuesday, December 20, 1949, Waterloo, Iowa
PLEADS INNOCENT TO CHARGE OF ABORTION, Fairfield Daily Ledger; Wednesday, February 1, 1950, Fairfield, Iowa
Monday, March 27, 1950, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
WATERLOO DOCTOR ON TRIAL IN MAY, Mason City Globe Gazette; Monday, April 17, 1950, Mason City, Iowa
DOCTOR GETS FIVE YEARS FOR ABORTION, Ottumwa Daily Courier; Thursday, April 27, 1950, Ottumwa, Iowa
STARTS FIVE YEAR TERM, Mount Pleasant Mt Pleasant News; Monday, June 5, 1950, Mount Pleasant, Iowa
DR LICHTY IS PAROLED FROM FT MADISON, Waterloo Daily Courier; Monday, July 23, 1951, Waterloo, Iowa
LICHTY HELD ON ABORTION CHARGE, Waterloo Daily Courier; Monday, January 4, 1954, Waterloo, Iowa
GABRIEL LICHTY, FORMER WATERLOO DOCTOR, DIES, Cedar Rapids Gazette; Sunday, April 25, 1954, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
PNEUMONIA FATAL TO DR LICHTY, Waterloo Daily Courier; Sunday, April 25, 1954, Waterloo, Iowa
NOTICE OF APPOINTMENT OF ADMINISTRATORS, Waterloo Daily Courier; Wednesday, May 19, 1954, Waterloo, Iowa

Monday, November 6, 2017

Orle Smull & Ruth Cagley, Part II

View Part I here.
Ruth & Orle and ? possibly Clara?

The Smull's three children were the apple of their parent's eye. Norma Eileen, who was born on 18 Jun 1922 in Plainfield, went to Wartburg College and got a degree in teaching. One of her first assignments was as home economics teacher in Rolfe in fall of 1943. Her next assignment was as home ec teacher in Dike, Iowa. She spent two years teaching there before she resigned due to her upcoming marriage. While visiting her aunt Opal Smull Lowery in California, Norma met Harold Leon "Jeff" Yarbrough, a native of Graham, Texas whose family had made the long trek to California via Arizona years before (think, according to Norma's daughter, "the family out of Grapes of Wrath.")

Harold was in service, but when he returned, he went to Plainfield and they married on 28 Oct 1946 in Plainfield. The Yarbrough's would have two children. Norma's mother died 16 Jul 1996 and Norma followed on 30 Nov 1996. Harold lived only a short while until 13 Apr 1997.

Son Robert Edward Smull was born 23 Apr 1927 in Plainfield. His mother, like many mothers of sons who left for World War II, watched him leave for war with trepidation: "Bob graduated and joined the army, leaving a few nights before the graduation exercises. His first train ride, on the Great Western to Ft Leavenworth where he first went. I stood on the platform and wondered if I'd ever see my only son again. It was World War II and he was to be trained to go to Japan, but the war ended before he finished his training, so he was sent to Germany in the "Army of Occupation." He served two hitches."

"Norma took music lessons of Hazel Boyd for some time. I also wanted Bob to learn to play the
Norma's husband Harold Yarbrough
piano, so I arranged for him to take of Hazel also. I was to pay her by doing sewing, as well as simpler things. The thing that really got to me was a black print dress for her mother, with button holes an inch apart all the way up the front. Remember, I was making the buttonholes by hand. Well, Bob didn't do anyting in the lessons so I had him stop and finally I had the bill paid off. I decided right then, "never again."

He was stationed at Ft Snelling, Minnesota and was then sent to Camp Chanks, New York, waiting for overseas assignment. He arrived in Bremen, Germany in the devastated post-war country, at the port command and wrote to his parents that "cigarettes are $20 a pack and that food of any kind is priceless." He then was assigned to Vegesach, Germany as a clerk at battalion headquarters before being promoted to corporal. Again, he moved to Bremen and then to Berlin by mid-1946. In late 1946, he landed at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey.

He was found in winter of 1948 with Plainfield friend Klaydon Sult spending the aforesaid winter in Corpus Christi, Texas.

In 1951, Bob married Margaret Adele Stevens and they quickly had four children. Living in Nevada, Iowa, Bob worked for the Iowa Electric Light & Power Co. of Cedar Rapids when he was killed in a tragic work accident and died instantly on 23 Feb 1960 in Collins, Story County.

Orle died at the relatively young age of 69 on 18 Aug 1963 in Plainfield.

The third child, a daughter, is still living. She went to school to become a nurse through school at Allen Memorial Hospital. She and her husband, who died in 2017, had four children.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Orle Smull and Ruth Cagley, Part I


Orle Jay Smull was the eldest of Franklin Sylvester Smull and Clara Orcutt. He was born 27 Dec 1893 in Bellevue, Jackson County, Iowa, during one of Frank's times away from Plainfield. Two sisters and a brother would follow Orle.
Plainfield 1912 Baseball
Top Row: Earl Holmes, Orle Smull, Lawrence Smith, 4?, 
Ferrel Jenibric(?); Bottom Row: Clio Holmes, 
KennethThompson, Nathan Chester, John Burke, Gayland Mellinger
Orle enjoyed a typical Iowa upbringing full of work and enough play to make things interesting. He was very interested in sports, especially football, but played baseball in Nashua (at least in 1912). At least two family names are on this team - Lawrence Smith and Nathan Chester.

During World War I, Orle joined the cavalry. On August 1, 1917, he departed from Plainfield to Waterloo, where he would then go on to Jefferson Barracks in St Louis. He was assigned to the 328th Auxiliary Remount Depot, Quartermaster Corps, at Camp Bowie in Arlington Heights, Texas. Camp Bowie was built in 1917 to accommodate training for the 36th Infantry Division.
Orle (left) and three fellow cavalry members at Camp Bowie, 1917
"Camp Bowie's greatest average monthly strength was recorded in October 1917 as 30,901. On April 11, 1918, the Thirty-sixth went on parade in the city for the first time. The four-hour event drew crowds estimated at 225,000, making it possibly the biggest parade in Fort Worth's history. For about five months after the departure of the Thirty-sixth for France in July 1918, the camp functioned as an infantry replacement and training facility, with monthly population ranging from 4,164 to 10,527. A 
total of more than 100,000 men trained at the camp. Greble's retirement in September 1918 began a fairly rapid turnover of commandants that did not end until the camp ceased operation (ed note: 1919)."1

It doesn't appear as though Orle made it any further than Camp Bowie, and was discharged in March of 1919. Two years later, he would marry into the Cagley family, taking Ruth Vivian Cagley, granddaughter of pioneer Jacob Cagley and Martha Cuffel Cagley, daughter of Frederick Elmore Cagley and Miriam Ellena "Ena" Ingersoll Cagley, as his bride on 11 Nov 1921 in Oelwein, Fayette County, Iowa.

Their young life was chronicled by Ruth in a personal family memoir and I will excerpt a couple of bits from that, provided by Ruth's granddaughter.
"Orle J Smull and I were married in Oelwein, Ia Nov 11, 1921 at the Baptist Parsonage. That was a very cold year. We had had several snow storms and traveling was difficult for snow plows were not used then. Guess, one might say that our honeymoon was the ride from there to Waverly and there on to Plainfield, by train. We stayed with my folks for a month and by that time, our little house was finished. We had two rooms - one downstairs and one upstairs with a folding stairs so as not to be in our way. All the furniture we had was given us, a drop leaf table and a set of 4 chairs that had been Orle's Grandmother's, an old 2-burner kerosene stove to cook on in the summer, and a 2-hole laundry stove in the winter. It also served as a heater and I had a second-hand rocker. For the bedroom upstairs, a bed, dresser, and cedar chest that I had bought while teaching. The upstairs hadn't been plastered yet and we could see light in a few places where shingles gaped." 
Orle had been working in the cement business (most likely with the Orcutt's, who owned such an
Ruth Cagley Smull
establishment there in Plainfield), but times were tough and people weren't building, so Orle decided to become an auto mechanic. He rented a building that was totally unsuitable for winter use, did quite well, and then had to find another location that would provide some warmth. The old "Doc Ford" building was available and they purchased that building, knocked a large garage door in the wall, and fixed up two rooms upstairs. The outhouse was out back!

Ruth had saved money from her teaching jobs prior to her marriage and was able to outfit the family with an oak buffet, table, six leather-bottomed chairs, and a kitchen cabinet and they were able to use them in the Ford building.

Ruth, Orle, and young Norma stayed in that building until the fall of 1926, when the Charles Farnsworth buiding became available. Charles Farnsworth was the town blacksmith (his father, also a blacksmith, was one of the town's pioneer settlers). Since they still owed $150 on the Ford building, they used the last of Ruth's teaching money to pay off Mrs. Ford. Then, they borrowed $2,000 from Orle's uncle Sanford Orcutt to purchase the new building.  Ruth would say that this was a disastrous financial and personal move for them. Needing repairs, drafty and uncomfortable summer and winter, they made their home there anywhere for 19 years. Ruth took in sewing to make up the money needed for extras for the now three kids for shoes and other necessities.

After purchasing two lots for $200, the Smull's sold the business when a $2,000 offer was made for their business in 1945. Maybe Ruth would get the nice house she'd always dreamed of. Stayed tuned...

Fred, Ruth, Ena, and baby Howard Cagley


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

More on Franklin Sylvester Smull

Time to update the suit?
Franklin Sylvester Smull
PETER SMULL > JOHNATHON SMULL m Mary Jane Cooper > FRANKLIN SYLVESTER SMULL m Clarissa Belle "Clara" Orcutt

I talked about Franklin before, here. Now, we have a photo to go with the name. The sleeves on his suit made me chuckle. Looks like he had it for a while and grew a little.

Franklin seemed to be a typically law-abiding citizen, but like many farmers, had little side businesses going. In June of 1889, he was arrested by Deputy US Marshall Hopkins for bootlegging. Since no mention is later made of a jail sentence, he most likely lost his still and paid a fine.

Also located, thanks to one of my amazing cousins on the Smull/Cooper side, is a photo of Sylvester and a young Clarissa Belle "Clara" Orcutt, his bride on their wedding day. They were married in the Smull home by Justice M. Roberts on Feb 15, 1893. The Orcutts were a large and early pioneer family.

I followed Franklin through about 20 years of adulthood. He opened and closed multiple barber shops, farmed some summers on rented farms in Jackson and Bremer counties, and seemed to do what he could to raise his growing family. There was nothing exceptional in his life other than that he was a young man, with five children, who did his best to raise his family. His life was tragically cut short by illness at the age of 39.

Franklin and Clara Orcutt Smull on their Wedding Day

Ralph, Orle, Opal, baby Maude (Irma  hadn't
arrived yet)

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Linsey: Lucy Linsey & the Bridge Family

OSCAR LINDSEY m Abigail Jane Lisk > CHARLES LINSEY m Florence Miller > LUCY
Jesse Bridge
MILLER m Jesse Bridge

Kind of interesting, Oscar was originally married to a cousin of Florence. She died and he married Jane Lisk. Charles is discussed a bit here. Florence and Charles' daughter Lucy married Jesse Bridge, the youngest of the Bridge kids whose family came to Benton county in the early 1880s.

Lucy was born 28 Feb 1907 in Benton County and married Jesse Bridge on 14 Oct 1929 in Waterloo, Black Hawk County.

Jesse was the son of Thomas O Bridge and Allora Jane Bogard. Allora hailed from Ohio, daughter of Henry Bogard and Mary Stigerwalt. Thomas was born in Illinois to Joseph Bridge and Mary Ordina Waterman.

The Joseph Bridge's had settled in Lyon County, Iowa after living in Rooks County, Kansas.

Thomas met and married Allora in Stockton, Rooks County on Jan 31, 1880. In 1882, it appears he arrived in Benton county and rented a farm, bought a team and a
Lucy Bridge and brother Leo Linsey 1970s.
thresher from James Harwood (Vinton Semi-Weekly Eagle, Jul 28, 1882). In November of that year, he was noted having had threshed 1,000 bushels of oats in one day. In 1883, he was observed grinding corn for area farmers on Thursday each week.

They moved on to Big Grove township in Benton county in 1907 and farmed there until retirement, when they moved to Vinton in 1917.  Son Arthur farmed the Big Grove farm after Thomas retired, but he still helped out on the farm. Unfortunately, on one of those days, he had a horrible accident that would ultimately take his life after there was some hope that he would recover. He died 17 Dec 1929 at the Vinton city hospital. His wife Allora survived until 20 Mar 1939 and died as a result of a stroke.

Jesse & Lucy had six children. Jesse died on 07 Dec 1973 and Lucy on 29 Feb 1988.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Clan William: The Much Married Olive Clawson

Edwardian Bride, Harrison Fisher
Capt Thomas Munson > Samuel Munson > Samuel James Munson > William Munson > Samuel II Munson > Freeman Munson > Miles Munson > Mary Munson > Olive Clawson 

I didn't think I'd run across a gal married as frequently as my great great aunt Mary, who was married four times to three men. Then, I ran across Olive Clawson, who in the course of under 10 years married five times, with a startling three divorces, one annulment, and finally, a lasting love. Maybe.

Miles Munson and Celarcia Humason had only one child, a daughter, Mary, born in Dec 1861 in Trumbull County, Ohio. Mary married Emerson Clawson in 1878. He had been born in Fowler township in Trumbull County, 18 Jun 1857, the youngest child of 11. Miles and Celarcia died in Trumbull County in 1895 and 1912 respectively.

Daughter Mary had four children after her marriage: Hazel, Glen, Olive, and Lucy. Mary died at the age of 44, when Olive was 16 years old, in Sep 1906 at Warren, Ohio. Three years later, Emerson married Miss Helena Carton. They resided in Pennsylvania at the time of their deaths.

Olive started her serial marriage career on 19 Sep 1910, when she married William J Babcock. On 15 Mar 1913, she married George Miller in Essex, Ontario. Their divorce was pending in Michigan when Olive married Martin Schott - who, eight days after marrying his bride at the end of 1913 or very first of 1914, discovered a court summons for Olive to appear in court related to her unfinished divorce. Schott claimed to have no idea she was previously married and requested an annulment. It was granted it in short order. Olive didn't let any grass grow though, she married yet again, this time to Bernard Briscoe Watkins on 03 Aug 1914 in Pontiac, Michigan.  Bernard, it would appear, is also a multi-marrying kind of guy. This was his third. That marriage also ended in divorce. Just as a side note, the 1930 census would have him doing time in a county prison in Chatham County, Georgia.

Finally, on 10 Jul 1917, she married her last husband (that I can find), Hugh Albert Hooke, who was born 15 Mar 1882 in Delaware, Indiana, son of farmer Lewis Hooke and Lucy Moomaw. The subsequent years found him earning his living as a registered pharmacist at the Hook Drug Co in Indianapolis. There does not appear to be any connection between Hugh Hooke and Hook Drugs, which was a big Indianapolis Pharmacy chain. But, Hugh and "the Hooks" of the pharma chain are buried in the same cemetery, so who knows? He died in Indianapolis on 26 Feb 1964 after a long bout with dementia. She was listed as informant with two addresses: 116 Pinehurst, C33, New York City, NY and 2258 North Meridian, Indianapolis. She lived on until 26 Apr 1980 and died in Alpena County, Michigan.

I'd love to know why she was living in New York? Her sister Hazel Clawson Whelan was living in New York at one time...more to be discovered.

Monday, October 23, 2017

SIDEROAD: The Remarkable Ripley's: Veterinarians of Marble Rock

I talked a little last time about Lovina Ripley Wood, who lived to the ripe age of 100. Her parents, Col Judge David C Ripley and Easter Griswold were early Iowa pioneers.

All of Lovina's kids moved to the Denison, Texas area except for veterinary surgeon, Dr. Asa Wood, who settled in Marble Rock in Floyd County and had a thriving large animal veterinary practice for many years.

Dr. Wood was born 18 June of 1854 in Gallia County, Ohio and came with his parents to Iowa in 1865. He married Juda Jane Reams on 28 Sep 1877 in Charles City, Iowa, and the couple had at least eight children all told.

Veterinary surgeons/Veterinarians of the early 1900s had many jobs. There were no antibiotics, the conditions in which most animals lived were often dirty and bug-filled, and payment was often problematic. Before World War I, over half the country was in the farming industry. Vets ended up concerning themselves with the health of humans and their food supplies within their animal care. Vets were also at the fore in identifying and treating animal diseases. Dr. Wood's practice thrived and the couple shared a lot of travel to the homes of various relatives over the years. As one might imagine, being a large animal vet is sometimes dangerous business.
One day last week while attending to a colt, which had been badly cut in a wire fence, Asa Wood had his left arm badly injured.
Marble Rock Journal, Marble Rock, Iowa
Thursday, October 15, 1908
Marble Rock, Ia, July 11 - Dr Asa Wood, veterinary surgeon, suffered a collarbone fracture and crushed shoulder when a horse fell against him at the Peter Staudt farm.
Waterloo Evening Courier, Waterloo, Iowa
Wednesday, July 11, 1928
He somehow managed to survive his various accidents in the line of duty only to be claimed by a lingering illness at his home on South Main St in Marble Rock on 18 Sep 1931 in Marble Rock. His son Leo continued the veterinary practice after his father's death. His wife Juda died 18 Mar 1938 in Floyd County.

Friday, October 20, 2017

SIDEROAD: Remarkable Ripleys: Lovina Ripley Wood, Centenarian

Col Judge David C Ripley and wife Easter Griswold
The Ripley's are a family my family married into and adopted into. They also remain one of the most fascinating families in the old tree. They arrived from North Yorkshire in about 1642. One of the grandchildren of William married into the Bradford family who were here with the first Plymouth Rock landing of the Mayflower.

Some branches were far more well-to-do than others, but even those less wealthy were pretty interesting. I put into this group the great great grandfather of my uncle Marvin Ripley, Col Judge David C. Ripley, who lived a grand life of adventure and was a daring early pioneer into Iowa and Colorado. He was a territorial legislator and Ranger in Colorado and was the judge who ruled on the fractious battle for the Floyd County county seat that occurred in the 1850s.
Last photo of Lovina prior to her death

David and his wife had nine children, among them was Lovina, who was born in Gallia County, Ohio on 22 Nov 1822. She married James L. Wood on 15 Jan 1847 in Gallia County. James hailed from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and was born in 1821. In 1865, the couple followed many of her close relatives to Iowa and in 1883, they moved on to Illinois.

They kept moving and ended up in Denison, Texas by 1888. The couple had nine children, three having died, and three of whom settled in the Denison area. Son Asa Wood, DVM, a large animal vet, lived in Marble Rock in Floyd County, Iowa.

Here are a couple of excerpts from an article republished from the Denison Herald in about 1912:

"You will think it's funny, when I tell you, but we were married in jail. This is how it happened. Her father was sheriff and tended the jail and my wife has shut many a prison door behind a prisoner. Well, they lived on one side of the jail and as her father married us, it took place in the jail at Gallipolis. We started housekeeping on rented land without a dollar in the world, but we got along alright. We didn't have to spend so much in those days. I worked ten years for one man. We raised flax to make our own clothes and raised sheep for our woolen ware. My wife carded, spun, and wove many a hundred yards of cloth." The entire article, which was written upon the occasion of them being declared Denison's oldest citizens, is fascinating and posted below.

James died in 1915 at the ripe age of 94, but Lovina continued to be active and alert until past her 100th birthday. Her own statements indicate she never needed to wear glasses to read the paper and according to her family, her memory was great up to the end of her life. She finally passed away on 11 Mar 1923 in Denison. Six of her children survived, ranging in age from 59 to 74.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Clan William: The Colorful Eddy's of New Orleans

Capt Thomas Munson > Samuel Munson > Samuel James Munson > William Munson > Samuel II Munson > Freeman Munson > Henrietta Munson > Amos Joel Vaughn > Adele Virginia Vaughn m Robert Stevenson Eddy III 

You can take a trip back in time by reviewing the journey of the Vaughn Family of Randalia, Iowa, here. Henrietta and John had a mess of kids, 13 all told, some of whom I know nothing about. But, son Amos Joel, the baby of the family had six of his own, including Adele Virginia Vaughn, who went by "Virginia." I don't know how she met her husband Robert Stevenson Eddy III, of the well-to-do New Orleans Eddy's, but she did. They married before 1918 and lived in New Orleans. Virginia's younger sister, Mary Isabel, 15 years old, moved to New Orleans to live with them in 1917 and got a job in a bank, but died unexpectedly of illness at just under 17 years old on 14 Aug 1918. She was buried in New Orleans.

The Eddy's had been in New Orleans for decades by the time our family connected with theirs. The original Robert Stevenson Eddy had been born in Ohio in about 1827 and married Clara Drake. They had three children, the eldest of which was Robert Stevenson Eddy Sr. He had been born in St Louis, Missouri. His parents came to New Orleans in the 1860s. Senior worked his way up to the top spot in in Adams, Beck, and Co., Ltd., a commission merchant of great distinction. Poor old dude died of complications of a gall bladder operation on 16 Aug 1929 in New Orleans, just before the start of the Great Depression.
Eddy Bros. Furniture Co. 1932

Junior's oldest brother, James Harvey Eddy, took over Adams, Beck at his father's death after having been superintendent of the Swift & Co. fertilizer plants in New Orleans and Shreveport. Robert Stevenson Eddy Jr., having benefit of his father's hard work and acumen, also went into business. In 1904, he ran for city council in the Sixteenth Ward and won, but not before a protest was filed claiming he had not met residency requirements. Despite the fact his son RS III was born while he lived in Alvin, Texas, he claimed that the move had always been temporary. The challenge was overruled and he took his seat. Being a councilman didn't help him when he spoke out about police corruption and was beaten severely by blokes in a saloon as a nearby police officer watched. That police officer was later suspended.

Junior married Leila Janet Hathorn on 16 Aug 1897 in St Bernard Parish. They had three boys, R.S.
III, Fergus, and Thomas Godwin. When Martin Behrman was mayor of New Orleans (1904-1920, 1925-26), Eddy served as a member of the Commission Council. He first became associated with racing in the early 1920s. He served as GM of the Jefferson Park Race Track, president of the Business Men's Racing Association (which he was forced to resign from after accusations were slung at him regarding illegal gambling activities), and later as GM of the Fair Grounds Race Track. The Times-Picayune was full of articles during the 1920s about the two factions fighting for control of racing in New Orleans. I've posted a couple of those, but there are many more.

The acquisition of the Fair Grounds and Jefferson Park by Eddy's business syndicate was completed in 1934. Hit with financial problems, the tracks were to be sold in the early 1940s. The land was set to be sold for development, which would have ended racing in the area. A last minute purchase saved racing in New Orleans. Eddy then acquired an interest in Fairmont Race Track in Collinsville, Ill and owned one of the largest thoroughbred, harness, and saddle horse auction exchanges. After his first wife died, he remarried two years prior to his death. He died in Fort Lauderdale, 26 Jul 1965.

Junior also opened a furniture store on North Rampart in New Orleans. His sons would join him in this venture.

His son RS III grew up, married our Munson/Vaughn relative Virginia, and had two children: Robert Stevenson IV and Jolie Ann. III died on Oct 20, 1962 in New Orleans. Virginia survived until 03 May 1966. The children are both still living, so we'll save their stories for another day!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Gossip Mill


Parker Smith was the youngest of William Custer Smith and Mary Ann Munson's brood.  Parker went from managing the family farm after his father's death to becoming a long-time Baptist fire-and-brimstone revivalist and pastor in Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Iowa over the course of his career.

The subject of today's story is not really about Parker and his wife, but rather the Press and an unusual article that was published in the Waverly Democrat on January 15, 1903. It discussed the moral rot that had set into a group of Waverly area "cattlemen" and a gossipy article that related the story that was received by the paper from a correspondent. It's not the kind of article one runs across generally, even in small-town Iowa. The purpose of the entire article, which named names, whether true or not for what appears primarily to be a scolding of the correspondent rather than news. Must have been  horribly upsetting to the folks involved, after 10 years since the original events.

Stella's father was C.A. Pierson, who was born in 1846 in Sweden. In 1868, he married  Eliza Jane Rickel, daughter of Joseph Rickel. The couple had seven children, five of whom survived past the death of their mother. Among those was Stella. The couple would end up divorcing, which was still not so common, but apparently in this case, very necessary.

The article is published here:

After they divorced, C.A. Pierson married Nancy "Anna" Phillis in 1894. After the marriage, they moved to Ravenna, Nebraska and lived near Stella. Eliza's obit never refers to the divorce.

C. A. Pierson died 29 Apr 1933 in Ravenna, Nebraska just hours after his wife, Anna, died suddenly the same day at age 84. They had been prominent farmers, stock raisers, and feeders prior to their retirement.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Clan William: The Newcomb Family of Montrose, Pennsylvania

Capt Thomas Munson > Samuel Munson > Samuel James Munson > William Munson > Samuel II Munson > Freeman Munson > Amos Munson > Caroline Munson m. Uri Clark Newcomb and Julia Munson m. Frederick Porter Newcomb and Uri Clark Newcomb  

The Newcomb family of Montrose, Pennsylvania, headed by patriarch Col Uri C Newcomb, provided husbands to two of the Munson girls. Julia married son Frederick Porter Newcomb and Caroline married Clark Newcomb. After Caroline died, Julia married Clark.

The Newcomb family has a long and storied history in the US, going back several generations before the birth of Uri Sr. on 02 Aug 1806 in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

The great grandfather of Uri, Silas Newcomb, was born in 1717 and married Submit Pineo in Lebanon Crank (now Columbia), Connecticut. His wife's family were French Huegonots. Old Silas died suddenly of a stroke while sitting under a tree, 24 May 1773. His wife was described as, "having a remarkable attachment to her children and grandchildren. " Five of their sons were coopers and three were physicians.

Uri's grandfather, Captain John Brewster Newcomb, was born in Lebanon, Windham County, Connecticut. He and his family lived for many years on "Metcalf Hill," which he had received from his father Silas' estate in 1774. After the birth of their last child, they moved around quite a bit in New York, moving to Oxford, Owasco Flats, Oswego, Moravia, Owego, where his wife died. He then moved to Scipio, where he remarried in 1818, to Reliance (Ticknor) Strong, widow of Daniel Strong. He held various offices in New York, including justice of the peace, as a captain in a calvary company, and was a prominent member of a masonic fraternity. He was described as "an intelligent and an eminently good man," in the Newcomb Family History.

Uri's father John was a cooper and farmer who moved the family to Bridgeport, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania in 1804. All of their 10 children were born in Montrose. Uri was the eldest.

Uri married Emily Tyler on 04 Oct 1826 and they had 12 children before Emily died on 06 Oct 1863. After her death, he married Hannah Huntley on 23 Jun 1864 in Delaware County, Iowa, and they went on to have two sons, neither of whom survived childhood.

One of the things Uri did before his big move west to Iowa was to contract for Mail Route 3187, a mail route from Montrose to Towanda. The trip was 40 miles each way and he went three times per week. His low bid was $700 for a two-horse coach. He started the contract in 1856. He also served as a colonel in the Pennsylvania State Militia.

He and most of his children headed west and landed in Tama, Iowa. They moved to Traer in Tama
Typical harness maker shop
county later - most likely about 1873. They were a family of harness makers. Son Clark was the first harness maker to establish himself there (with his father) in 1874. The building was erected in 1875 and was later taken over by son Marvin's son Arthur Gilman when Clark moved on to Chickasaw and then Howard County. Marvin himself was Tama City's first mayor and was justice of the peace for many years prior to his death in 1884. Many of Uri's grandchildren ended up in South Dakota later; none remained in Tama from the time of Marvin's death.

Uri died on 12 Sep 1883 in Delaware County and his second wife, Hannah Huntley, died 04 Aug 1893.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Josie Miller Must Have Liked Quirky


I loved exploring the family of David Owens, my 3rd great grandfather. He was a good farmer, a solid citizen, and had an adventurous spirit that took him from Indiana to Illinois to Iowa and finally, to South Dakota. He married three times and had a total of 14 children.

Among his children was Lucy, my 2nd great grandmother. She married Ira Miller and they had nine children, among them my great grandmother, Florence and her sister Josephine, the fourth of the nine.

Josie, as she was known, was born 05 Nov 1882 in rural Urbana, Benton County on the family farm. She first got married to a man who would be described by the newspaper as a "well-known Vinton character," in earlier articles and in his obituary.  This item, listed under "Just for Fun" in the Cedar Valley Times on 16 Oct 1936, describes him philosophizing while a resident of the County Home:
"Ed Redington was around town talking politics today. Ed says he hasn't decided whether or not he will vote at the general election next month. However, he does make his position clear insofar as his choice between the two presidential candidates is concerned when he asserts: "If I do vote it will be for Roosevelt. But as I don't believe he will need my vote to win, I don't think I'll bother about going to the polls."
"According to Ed, he has been having considerable trouble of late with people breaking into his trunk and taking things that don't belong to them. Ed said that only recently someone broke into his trunk, which he left locked, and stole two pairs of underwear, two shirts, two quilts, besides a good army overcoat. "They even took my dishes," declared Ed, "and that is what I call a low-down truck." Ed maintains that he has lost practically all faith in humanity on account of the unfortunate experiences he has had lately."
WCF&N Trolley

His name was James Irving Edmond Redington, son of Mr & Mrs Ben Redington. Josie and "Ed" married 14 Feb 1905 in Benton County, Iowa. They had a son, Ira Edmond Redington, who had some sort of mental disability and lived in the Hospital for Epileptics and School for the Feeble Minded in Cass, Iowa from at least 1930. Ira died in 1966. The couple divorced and Ed went on to several more marriages before dying at age 62 in April 1940 in Vinton.

Josie then married Charles H Swanger on 23 Apr 1923 in Waterloo, Black Hawk County. Charles was born in Fredericksburg, Iowa on March 11, 1882, to James and Hattie Sisson Swanger. Charles had previously been married to Cora, whom he married in 1903 and was divorced from in 1911 in Waterloo, having alleged adultery and addiction to intoxicants as grounds.

In 1931, Josie's widowed mother, Lucy Owens Miller, came to the Swanger home for the last five weeks of her life, with Josie caring for her.

Charles worked as a section man on the WCF&N Railway, the interurban rail and trolley system that ran in the Central Valley and its surrounding towns. On December 22, 1932, while he was out shoveling snow off the tracks, he was struck by an auto driven by Mrs Roy Hamilton. Mrs Hamilton said her car got caught in the tracks and she attempted to turn when she skidded into Swanger. He survived!  He retired from the company in 1941 after 25 years of service.

Both Josie and Charles were very active in the Salvation Army for many years. In addition to taking care of the home, Josie also sold magazines on the side. Josie died at Allen Memorial hospital of a heart condition on 12 Jan 1954 in Waterloo and had services in the Salvation Army's Stone Church on Park Ave at Mulberry. After her death, Charles remained in the family home at 1104 Franklin St. In August 1964, be received a knock at the door one day from two men purporting to be from the public utility company wanting to inspect the electric meter. While one distracted him, the other robbed his house of $280. The article in the paper was a warning to citizens that this con was being worked in the area and to always verify identity with the IPS ID card or by calling the utility.

He kept busy after Josie died by continued work for the Salvation Army. Charles ended up spending 40 years with the Salvation Army, attaining the rank of Sergeant Major, until his second retirement in 1948. He continued volunteering with them after that. This article outlines his trips to the front entry of Rath Packing Co. where he handed out the Salvation Army War Cry newspaper every other day for 13 years and was dubbed "Uncle Charlie," by those who worked at Rath. His eventual absence, which started in 1968, was noted by many and the local paper wrote this article about what "Uncle Charlie" was up to now.

Waterloo Daily Courier, Mar 29, 1968                 
He spent the last years in the Platte Rest Home in Waterloo before dying at Allen Hospital on 22 Apr 1970.