Monday, March 20, 2017

Friday Funny: A quiet, grave time



I was recently looking through my small collection of antique post cards, and came across this gem. It is a comic post card depicting a man smoking a pipe and pouring himself a drink while sitting atop the headstone which presumably belonged to his wife. The stone reads:
JANE ANN
DEAR WIFE
OF
JOHN HENPECK
and the caption reads “A quiet, grave time, at last!” At the top, someone has penned in the initials J.W.



On the reverse is a one cent stamp, with a post mark dated 1 Aug 1908 at 9 a.m. in Vancouver, Washington. The card is addressed to Mr. P. Gusted (or perhaps it is Lusted?), Portland, Oregon, and appears to have the memo that it is in care of “W. V. tel. Co.” The correspondence reads,
Hello Nephew,
Will be over Sun. morning if everything is Ho-K.
and it is signed either “your Uncy. Geo.” or “your Uncy. Leo.”

A quick Ancestry search through Portland city directories revealed no P. Gusted or P. Lusted, although there were others of both those surnames. I was reluctant to attempt more in-depth research, so I can currently shed no light on the recipient of this card. The sender is even more mysterious, as he signed only his first name. As for the initials “J. W.” on the front of the card—well, I have no idea what those mean.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Roots Quest 2017

This is an experiment; for the first time I am attempting to compose and post from my new-to-me smartphone. 

Yesterday I attended the Roots Quest 2017 conference in Forest Grove, Oregon. Of course there were a few nuggets in the classes, but what I really want to share is a display/scavenger hunt they had set up in the cafeteria. They had taken documents  (from the various presenters' research) and blown them up to about double ledger size. The scavenger hunt part involved inspecting the documents to find the answers to a list of questions, such as "What is the date of William Schnell's marriage?" or "What kind of person was Amanda Tice?" The answer to the latter, incidentally, was "industrous," according to a pauper register.

I thought this display would be a lovely idea for a family reunion.

I realize this post is slightly inane and poorly written, however, as I said before, it is serving mainly as an experiment to test out this app on my phone.


Conclusion: I doubt if I will be using the app to compose posts in the future. I had to use my laptop to fix some problems with this post, and I was dissatisfied with the editing abilities of the app. Besides, I prefer to compose first in a word processor. But I'm glad I tried the experiment.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Military Monday: 1 May 1781 – Pierce Butler Pennel and the Militia’s Rendezvous

 
A "Brown Bess" flintlock musket
By Antique Military Rifles (Originally posted to Flickr as Brown Bess) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Staunton River splashed against its banks by Ward’s Ferry. Birds chirped in the trees. Spring flowers peeped up from the ground here and there, with the promise of more to come. Off in the distance a new sound broke through the natural stillness: a sound of footsteps approaching. Louder and clearer they became, and were joined by other footsteps, and voices. Animals vanished into the underbrush. Soon the splashing of the river was drowned out by the arrival of the numerous voices and footsteps of men. There were about a hundred of these men, some, perhaps, attended by their families who assembled there to wish them a hearty or a tearful farewell. “Ragtag” is a term often applied to these men and their peers, with their piecemeal attempts at a uniform, their spotty training, and their diversity of arms. Most provided their own weapons: fowling pieces or muskets, the latter usually equipped with bayonets, and perhaps a flintlock “Brown Bess” captured from the enemy in a previous engagement. Knives and swords, and perhaps even tomahawks, were also represented among these men’s accoutrements.

These men belonged to the Bedford county militia; they were the latest company under the command of Capt. Adam Clements. Many of these men were already battle-hardened, having returned to their homes from their previous tour of duty within the past month. Some had fought against General Corwallis’ troops at the recent patriot defeat at the Guilford Courthouse, only a month and a half before, where they saw what appeared to be the British artillery firing on their own men in their zeal to drive away the American rebels. And now these American rebels were returning to action, once again leaving their homes, their families, and their farms neglected.

It must have been hard to do. Although the call to duty was in defense of their liberty, if their crops were ruined, they may end up in an even worse position than if they were forced to remain under British rule. A few of those called up could ill afford the time away and sought replacements. Some were fortunate enough to have a brother willing to serve in their place. Sometimes a substitute could be hired, but there is no evidence that any of the men meeting at Ward’s Ferry that day were hired. Most men heeded their own call to duty.

One of these Bedford county militiamen was Pierce Butler Pennel. Whether he was one of those who had recently returned from action is unknown, but it is certainly possible and even probable. Of his fellow militiamen in this company who later applied for pensions, all but one (John Lambert) declared prior service. The muster rolls for many of these previous companies no longer exist, so the declarations of pensioners must be relied upon as evidence.

In May of 1781, the War of the American Revolution had already been dragging on for many long years. A few of the older men, true patriots, had been serving on and off for half a decade or so. Now this company was headed south into the Carolinas to come to the aid of General Nathanael Greene and his forces in their campaign to drive the British from the south.

Ward’s Ferry was probably the most logical and convenient location for this rendezvous of the militia. Not only could it provide for the necessary crossing of the Staunton River in the men’s impending march south, but the proprietor was Maj. John Ward, who was to be one of the commanders of their regiment. He lived in “the Mansion” nearby, and could easily join his men from there.

With the forces assembled, and the leaders prepared, it was time to begin the long march to the south.


Sources:


Pierce B Pennell, muster rolls of Co. Capt. Adam Clement's Militia, 1 May 1781; U.S., Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783; digital images, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., "Virginia: Western Battalion, 1781-1782 (Folder 341) - Various Organizations (Folder 364)," Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Jan 2017).

Will Graves & C. Leon Harris, Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Statements & Rosters (http://revwarapps.org/ : accessed 14 Jan 2017), pdf numbered B57 "Militia List –Capt. Adam Clements"; pdf numbered W5635 "Pension Application of John Arthur W5635"; pdf numbered W5636 "Pension Application of Thomas Arthur W5636"; pdf numbered W345 "Pension Application of William Caldwell W345"; pdf numbered S30387 "Pension Application of Thomas Dixon S30387"; pdf numbered S8567 "Pension Application of Archelaus Gilliam S8567"; pdf numbered S16403 "Pension Application of Robert Hall S16403"; pdf numbered W7648 "Pension Application of Edward Hancock W7648"; pdf numbered X916 "Pension Application of Samuel Hancock X916"; pdf numbered S16445 "Pension Application of John Lambert S16445"; pdf numbered W8071 "Pension Application of PatrickLynch W8071"; pdf numbered S6299 "Pension Application of Luke Valentine S6299"; pdf numbered S7802 "Pension Application of Charles Walker S7802"; pdf numbered S16583 "Pension Application of Joseph Wood S16583"; pdf numbered W2506 "Pension Application of George Woodard W2506"; pdf numbered S17208 "Pension Application of Jacob Woodard S17208."


Other Works Consulted:


Ivy Kenneth Blecher, Three Centuries of American Wars: History of American Wars (accessed 20 Feb 2017), "Revolutionary War Weapons." 

Janice Poole, "Rose Dove Dalton and Albert Lee Dalton Homeplace," Genealogy: Our Astounding Past, 16 Mar 2010 (accessed 20 Feb 2017).  

J. D. Lewis, Carolana (www.carolana.com : accessed 20 Feb 2017), "The American Revolution in North Carolina: The Battle of Guilford Court House." 

J. Lloyd Durham, "Outfitting an American Revolutionary Soldier," Tar Heel Junior Historian (Fall 1992); reprinted online, North Carolina Government & Heritage Library at the State Library of North Carolina, NCpedia (accessed 20 Feb 2017). 

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, "North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program," database and images, North Carolina Highway Historical Marker Program (accessed 20 Feb 2017); Marker ID=J-3: Guilford Courthouse

R. H. Early, Campbell Chronicles and Family Sketches: Embracing the History of Campbell County, Virginia 1782-1926 (Lynchburg, Virginia: J. P. Bell Company, 1927), "Ward Family," transcribed and contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives by Joy Fisher sdgenweb@yahoo.com .

Tracy V. Wilson and Holly Frey (hosts). "The Battle of Guilford Courthouse." Podcast audio. Stuff You Missed in History Class. HowStuffWorks.com, 31 Aug 2015. Web.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!







 A Valentine from my grandfather Jack Hoyt to my grandmother Rose. Unknown date.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Military Monday: Lowell’s Army Buddies (Part 5): Trading Addresses

Although this is the only photo in this post which was unmarked, I know the subject very well. It is Uncle Lowell himself. There were two copies of this picture in his collection, and my guess is that he had originally a whole handful of them, which he signed and passed out to his buddies.

I have saved the best for last! In this short series presenting my great-Uncle Lowell’s small collection of pictures from his time in the Army, we have finally reached the pile of marked photographs. This sub-collection appears to be Lowell’s buddies, many of them giving their postal address. I presume that they were exchanged towards the end of their basic training (or perhaps their tours of duty), as a way to keep in touch in the future.

Lowell had enlisted on 10 Nov 1943, started service on 1 Dec 1943, and was released from service on 18 Apr 1946. For at least part of that time, he served with the Military Police.

If you find a photograph of your own loved one on this page, you may want to check out the first, second, third, and fourth posts in this series. There may be another, unmarked, photo among those pictures. And if you are able to identify any of those people, please let me know. I would love to find out!


This is one of the few pictures with names and addresses on it that is set in front of a building with slatted siding. I love that it shows the men playing dice and drinking beer. The names are Albert Matkovich, with the address 1271 E 170 St, Cleveland, Ohio, and B. L. (or B. F.?) Simpson, with the address P.O. 62, Bells, Tenn.

Albert Matkovich must have really wanted to keep in touch, because there are two more signed pictures of him in Lowell’s collection.


This picture, also signed by Albert Matkovich, appears to have been taken in the same general area. Some of the buildings in the background have the same type of siding as the building in the picture above, and several wooden walkways are visible which are similar to the walkway shown in the picture above. This time Albert Matkovich is shown hard at work shoveling. His address is still 1271 E 170 St, Cleveland, Ohio.



Here is Albert Matkovich yet again, with the same address of 1271 E 170 St, Cleveland, Ohio. It is set in front of some sort of long building with windows its entire length, perhaps a barracks? The building number is “I 94 H,” and if you look carefully you will see that every photograph posted below (with the possible exception of one) was taken in front of the same building, as was the picture of Lowell at the top of this post.


In this picture of Pvt Desmond Call you can see a gas mask hanging from the shutter of the window. His address is Soda Springs, Idaho. These were the days of general delivery, in which one could address a letter with only a name and city and the letter would still be delivered. I have found a several cards or letters among my grandparents’ papers which are addressed so simply.


In this photograph of Ed Whitten, he does not rely on general delivery, but gives his full address of 48 Rockvale Circle, Jamaica Plain, Mass. He also parenthetically explains that he lives in the Boston area. In the picture, he is showing his rifle.


This photograph is the one possible exception to the series of photos in front of building “I 94 H.” It is the only one in which the address is not visible, and the only one in which the window shutters are closed. It does, however, appear to be the same building. The man in the picture is identified as Rocco Robertson of Providence, Rhode Island. On the back the street address “87 Harold St” is added.


This photograph of S. J. Marquis is once again taken in front of building “I 94 H,” but in examining the address it becomes apparent that the image has been reversed! He gives his address as 637 Prindle St., Chehalis, Washington. With the relatively short distance of this address from Lowell’s own in Portland, Oregon, I wonder if they ever got together again after the war.


This last photo in front of building “I 94 H,” also showing that gas mask dangling from the window shutter, is of Wynn Tingey of Tremonton, Utah.


Sources:


National Archives and Records Administration, "U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell A Brosius; citing Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.

National Cemetery Administration, "U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius, Willamette National Cemetery; citing National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS [Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem] Death File, 1850-2010," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius; citing Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Military Monday: Lowell’s Army Buddies (Part 4): In the Field

This may be a picture of the army camp from a distance, or this may be a picture of the European countryside.


Parts one, two, and three of this short series have already been posted. In this series, I have been posting my great-uncle Lowell’s small collection of photographs from his time in the U.S. Army. He had enlisted on 10 Nov 1943, started service on 1 Dec 1943, and was released from service on 18 Apr 1946. For at least part of that time, he served with the Military Police.

This time, I will post pictures that appear to have been taken in that vague “somewhere in Europe” during the war. None of them are marked with names or locations, and, although I can recognize Lowell himself when he appears, I have no knowledge of the other people who might show up. Because of other (marked) photos in the collection, I can make a guess on a couple of them, though.


In this photo, Lowell is on the left. The cannon they are posing by appears to be similar or the same as the one that shows up in the first post with Lowell and Melvin Chrisman. In fact, I believe that I should have placed this photo with those other two, despite this cannon being set up and the other one still on the truck. The man on the right certainly resembles the man identified as Melvin Chrisman in the other picture, and the pictures could easily have been taken the same day. 


Once again, Lowell is on the left in this photograph. I am inclined to think that this picture was also taken the same day and that the man on the right is again Melvin Chrisman.


Lowell is again on the left, but this time I am not convinced that the man on the right is Melvin Chrisman or that this photo was taken the same day as the other two. It appears to have been taken somewhere in a city, whereas the other pictures look more rural, and the men are wearing different uniforms. The man on the right is armed and also seems to be carrying a canteen and some other unidentified objects.


This picture has me completely at a loss. It appears to have been taken in a city somewhere, and the two men in the picture are unidentified. I could find no one in the marked pictures who in my opinion resembled either of these men. I notice that they are standing under a “one way” sign, which is made out of cardboard and apparently tacked on to the brickwork.


Sources:


National Archives and Records Administration, "U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell A Brosius; citing Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.

National Cemetery Administration, "U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius, Willamette National Cemetery; citing National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS [Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem] Death File, 1850-2010," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius; citing Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Military Monday: Lowell’s Army Buddies (Part 3): Around Camp

This photo appears to be of a military camp of some sort. I have no idea what the long white thing is in the middle. Two ideas that occurred to me were a huge Thanksgiving table or a raised roadway. That should give you some notion of how clueless I am about this picture.



As I have already written in the first and second installments of this short series on my great-Uncle Lowell’s army photos, Lowell Brosius enlisted on 10 Nov 1943, started service on 1 Dec 1943, and was released from service 18 Apr 1946. He served with the Military Police for at least a portion of that time.



This time around I am posting some pictures that appear to have been taken around camp. Whether it is basic training camp, a camp where he served somewhere in Europe, some combination of both, or something else, I have no idea. Perhaps research will eventually answer some of those questions.



I can generally recognize Lowell when he appears in a photo, but most if not all of the pictures this week are unmarked, and I do not know who the other people are. Once again, I will do my best to guess at identities based upon the few marked pictures in Lowell’s collection, but many in this group of pictures are particularly poorly focused and I don’t foresee my success rate as being very good this week.



In this picture, for instance, I wouldn’t dare try to guess the identities of the men. I imagine that if I had been there and known them personally the figures in this photograph would be sufficient for identification, but that is not the case. The buildings are reasonably clear, though, and it is interesting to imagine what life was like in those wooden-skeletoned tents.




The only identified person in any of Lowell’s pictures who remotely resembles this man is Wynn Tingey, but I am not convinced that this is he. Whoever he is, note that he is displaying something in his hands. I think it may be a pistol, but it was evidently moved during the shutter exposure. I also enjoy the fact that he is photographed against a background of clean laundry.




Here are two more men against the same background of clean laundry. Note that the man on the left is holding a pistol. I could not find anyone in Lowell’s marked pictures who resembled either of these men enough to merit hazarding a guess at their identities.



I rather like this one. It is set against the same backdrop of clean laundry, but in this picture the subject is also photographing the photographer. I think the man may be the same one who was holding the pistol above, but that picture is too blurry to make a very good comparison.



There certainly seems to have been a lot of posing going on in front of that clean laundry that day. I would say that the man pictured on the left is the same one who was aiming a camera at the photographer in the picture just above, and the man on the right is the same one who I thought somewhat resembled Wynn Tingey.




I would guess that this photo was taken within seconds of the one above. The man on the left is almost certainly the same man in the photograph above (as well as the photograph above that), but the man on the right appears to be a different person than in the picture above. I would guess him to be Melvin Chrisman, although he also somewhat resembles Albert Matkovich and S. J. Marquis.



Whew! It is exhausting examining every face and comparing it to every face in every other photograph. I think that at this point I am ready to turn down the level of ambition just a bit. We appear to remain in the laundry day photo session, but only for a short time longer.



 

And now we shall move toward a different area of the camp (if, indeed, it is the same camp), away from the living area toward what appears to be (judging from my experiences watching old movies—I claim absolutely no firsthand knowledge of army camps) the motor pool.





This is perhaps one of my favorite pictures in this series, and not only because there is a puppy in it. It is also one of my favorites because you can see Lowell’s reaction to the puppy. He was a dog-lover, too, and you can see it in his face. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Lowell is the man on the right. While the other man is posing for the picture and trying to show the puppy to the camera, Lowell’s focus is on the puppy.



Here is one last picture, which appears to have been taken in the same general area:


Sources:




National Archives and Records Administration, "U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell A Brosius; citing Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.



National Cemetery Administration, "U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius, Willamette National Cemetery; citing National Cemetery Administration. Nationwide Gravesite Locator.



U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, "U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS [Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem] Death File, 1850-2010," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 Aug 2015), entry for Lowell Brosius; citing Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.