Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - Meeting Grandpa

If I can get something written today I will make it through the challenge with a total completion of at least 250 words for all 28 days.  Some days have been very difficult.  Today I have just been putting off and my mind just can't seem to think of anything to write about.  I am going to complete the challenge so I thought if I just start writing maybe something will just appear on this page.  Okay, here goes, let see what magic this computer can make happen.

When did you meet your grandpa?  The only time I ever remember seeing mine I was about eleven or twelve years old.  I don't remember the date or exactly how old I was.  In my mind I can see the day he came to our house.  I know he died when I was 12 1/2 and it probably was not too many years before he died.

He only lived about 30 miles from us, and maybe I had seen him before when I was younger.  I really don't know.  If my mom was still around I would ask her.  And I would ask her why he didn't come to see us.  I think I know what her answer would be.  

My grandfather married another woman after my mom's mother died.  Mom's mother died when she was fifteen.  I was told their stepmother was very mean to my mom and her sisters.  They all got out of the house as quickly as possible.  My oldest sister remembers visiting with Grandpa when she was young, so they did spend time together after my mom was an adult.

The day that Grandpa came to visit, my little sister and I were at home.  We were really excited.  And you know how kids are when they get excited.  We were pretty much bouncing off the walls.  Grandpa and his wife Mabel came in and Grandpa talked to Mom.  She was so happy to see him.  She was almost glowing with happiness.  I think that made my sister and I more nuts.   Dad and Mom where probably getting a little upset with us.  We were usually well behaved when someone came to visit.

I remember that day we were running around and singing some silly little thing that we had made up.  We sang something about "we have the piarrhea"  something like diarrhea, but with a p in it.  I have no idea why we were singing it.  We were just being silly.  I don't know if something had been said before they got there that made us think of something so silly.  I was usually quiet, not my little sister though.  

Well the one thing I remember is Mable saying with a disgusted look on her face, "Do they really have something wrong with them?"  My mom said, "No, they don't"  

Grandpa really tried to be friendly with us, but we just didn't know him.  I think he waited too late for us.  I know Mom really enjoyed seeing him that day.

It wasn't long after that he died.  My mom told me we were going to his funeral.  I told her that I didn't want to go to a funeral, I couldn't miss school that day.  She didn't make me go, I really didn't know him.  

I was in eighth grade when he died.  I remember being in school the day of his funeral, I was in my favorite class, an English class with a teacher I loved.  She asked me what was wrong, I wasn't my usual happy self.  I told her that my grandpa had died.  I didn't know him.  I think I was sad because I would never get to know him.  All my other grandparents had died before I was born.  This was the only chance for a grandparent I had and he was gone.

This is my Grandfather, the one waving, with his children.  My mom is in the back row.  My aunt from Colorado is missing.  I'm not sure what year this was taken.  The cars in the background might give an indication of the time frame.

Those Places Thursday - Stone's River National Battlefield

I am using Those Places Thursday to highlight battlefields where my ancestors fought.  My great-grandfather Isaac G Manis fought at the Battle of Stone's River.   

The Battle of Stone's River began on the last day of 1862 and went into a few days of 1863.  It was one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War.  My great grandfather fought in the 36th Indiana Regiment Company A.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - My Mom's last birthday party

This is day 27.  Tomorrow will be the last day in the writing challenge.  I have made it everyday for 27 days. I think I've got this!!

We had a 78th birthday party for my mom, two months and 2 days before she died.  I think we all knew that my mom was not going to be around much longer.  My sister decided that it was time for a big birthday party event.  She rented a building and invited the whole family and lots of mom's friends.  My sister is the family organizer, she took care of almost everything.  

Mom and I always celebrated our birthdays together.  My birthday was the day after Mom's.  My oldest sister's was a week later.  That time of year had always been special, because it was a time to share our birthday celebrations.  This year it was really all Mom's celebration.  

There were lots of gifts, I think we were all hoping that she would be able to enjoy them.  She was living in the nursing home at the time.  Her health was starting to get bad so she needed someone to care for her.  I know one of the things I got for her was a book shelf for her room.  She put her pictures and collectibles that she still had on it.  When she died I brought the shelf home to keep to feel closer to Mom.  It had held her treasure's at the end of her life.  

We had such a nice day that day.  There were so many of the little children running around the room and enjoying their time together.  Our large family gatherings had dwindled over the years, especially after Mom had moved out of her house.  There didn't seem to be a central gathering place anymore. 

Mom got tired very quickly that day.  Her body was starting to give out.  She was there for us that day, not for herself.  She was giving us a last birthday to remember.  It was a few years before I could really enjoy my birthday.  It always felt so lonely after Mom was gone.  I had always celebrated with her!

Wordless Wednesday - A Picture From the Past

This is New Paris, Ohio, probably in the 1960's

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - Frank Hoover

Day 26, Yeah!!!  2 more days!!  I am ready to finish my commitment   I will still write something everyday, but I won't feel like I'm under pressure to do it.  Although, maybe I need that.  I guess I will see after the challenge is over.  I had only been blogging a short time when I started this.

I have written about Frank Hoover before, but he is my biggest challenge.  I  don't really know where he grew up and I am not sure who his parents were.  He married my great grandmother Lulu Pickett and they had three children, one of which is my grandfather.  My great grandmother was from a Quaker family and remained in the religion and her second husband was a Quaker.  I believe Frank was probably from a Quaker family.

I believe Frank had three marriages, the first two being very short.  I have not yet been able to document it, but I have evidence leading to the fact that the first two wives died.  I have been told that he had a son by one of the wives who was named John.  Again I have no evidence of that, just a cousin that said she knew of him.

On his three marriage certificates, that is if all three are really the same man, the ages and some of the information indicates that it is, except that his parents name changes a little and his place of birth is either Kentucky or Virginia   In an earlier post, I showed the marriage information from the three marriages.

Frank died at a pretty young age, 42 year, 3 months, and 27 days.
I searched for his death certificate and was lucky enough to find it very quickly.  The problem with that was there was very little information recorded on it.  He died from meningitis.  The death certificate had date of death, where he died, and the cause of death.  Nothing else.  Whoever was filing in the record book did not record parents names, dates of birth, or any of the other entry areas on the page for anyone.  Great!

Next, I went to the cemetery where most of the family is buried, not really expecting to find anything.  This is a predominantly Quaker cemetery.  Well his grave was there, right beside Lulu's mother's grave.  They died within three years of each other.  Lulu is buried a little further over in the cemetery with her second husband.  

I guess I will continue to search for Frank Hoover, my great grandfather.  I hope to someday figure out who he belongs with and find out who my great-grandparents were.  The town of Richmond was made up in large part by Quakers.  There were many families with the last name Hoover.  I haven't found any with the names listed in the marriage records of Frank.  

Any suggestions?

Tombstone Tuesday - Martha Eccles Pickett

Martha Jane Eccles Pickett, my great great grandmother

Born May 24, 1826, in North Carolina
Died January 11, 1893, in Richmond, Indiana

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - Effie May Manis Gibson

The Family History Writing Challenge Day 25.  

Effie May Manis was the sister of my Great Grandfather, Lester Manis.  Effie May was born in New Castle, in Henry County, Indiana to Lucinda Zornes and Isaac Manis.  She was born in September of 1879.  Her parents were divorced when she was young.  

Effie May's mom married again in 1888.  They had moved from Henry County to Richmond in Wayne County.  Effie May married her sister-in-laws cousin, Frank Gibson, on March 1, 1892.  They lived in Richmond.  They began have children right away.  They ended up with one daughter and five sons.  In 1910 Frank was working in a hat factory in Wabash County, and Effie May was home taking care of the children.  

By 1920, Effie May and Frank had moved to Niagara Falls, New York.  Frank was working in a hat factory.  I wish I knew what took them to live in Niagara Falls.  Their son, Lemoine, was living next door to them.    

They didn't stay in Niagara Falls very long because they were back in Richmond when the 1930 Census was taken.

Frank died in January 1933, and Effie May soon followed.  She died on November 20, 1933. She was 5 

I have always believed that, Isaac Manis, her father, had left when the children were young.   If that is the case, Effie May must have spent time with him.  She named one her sons Isaac.  She is also buried in the same cemetery in Preble County, Ohio that her father is buried in.

Military Monday - Pfc. Thomas Edward Hofer

My cousin Tommy died when I was a Freshman in High School.  I have been to the Vietnam Wall a few times to see his name and make etchings.  The Wall is such a solemn place.  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - A Stubborn Woman

Day 24 in The Family History Writing Challenge.  Wow, I'm almost there.  I made a commitment to write a story every day for the month of February.  If I can get this one, I will only have four more to go.  Tonight I am going to write about the most stubborn women I ever met.  

Have you ever met someone who was just so stubborn that you just knew when you came up against them you could never win?  Well I  have!  I grew up in a house with someone like that.  She was stubborn to her very core.  I believe that is what allowed her to survive things that came her way.  

My mother, Shirley Plummer, was that woman.  Life was sometimes cruel to her, but she stood through it all.  Her mother died before she turned 16.  She then was faced with a stepmother who wasn't happy to deal with her husband's daughters.  My mother left home soon after her stepmother moved in.  She went to live with a sister for a while and then had to make her own way.

Throughout her life she was faced with many of life tribulations.  She had a daughter die at 10 months old, a son die at the age of 35, and a granddaughter die at the age of 4 months.  

If that wasn't enough she had her oldest daughter's husband  die leaving grandchildren aged 1, 2, and 3 without their father.  Then her next to youngest daughter's husband was a police office who died in the line of duty, leaving children 2, 4, and 6 without a father.  Finally, her youngest daughter's husband committed suicide and left children 3 and 5 years old to be raised by their mother.

This story had a lot of tragedy, but if you had known Shirley Plummer you wouldn't believe she had seen so much sadness in her life.  Her determination allowed her to move on and enjoy life.  She raised 8 children to adulthood and had so many children and grandchildren that she loved and would do anything for.  

The picture that is attached shows her with her foot propped up on a stool as she was washing dishes.  My sister wanted to do the dishes and she refused the help.  She wasn't going to allow anything to get the better of her.  She never did.  

Her son-in laws all say the when any of her daughters get angry they see the "Shirley Plummer" coming out.  They know that's when they might as well give up because they can't win.  

My mother is gone but she left a wonderful legacy behind.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - The Huddleston Inn

This is day 23 of The Family History Writing Challenge.  I think my mind is a little fried.  I haven't been able to think of any interesting way to tell another story.  I know there are many, many stories left to tell.  Why am I having such a hard time trying to figure out where to start?  So tonight I am going to write an old story that goes back a few generations. I will be writing about my first cousin 4X removed.  

 John Huddleson was born December 10, 1807, in Guilford County, North Carolina to Jonathon and Phoebe Gardner Huddleston.  When John was young his Quaker parents were unhappy with slavery in the south.  They decided to leave North Carolina and come to Indiana.  They arrived in Union County, Indiana in the fall of 1815.  His father ran a pioneer store southeast of Liberty, Indiana, and was said to have kept a station of the Underground Railroad.

In 1821, John and his family moved to the area of Dublin and Cambridge City, in Wayne County, Indiana.  The lived on property on the south side of National Road.   John married Susannah Moyer on March 4, 1830 in Union County, Indiana. 

John's father deeded some property to John and he started building his home.  John made the bricks on the farm to build his house.  He built a magnificent three story house that would be used for a stop along the National Highway for travelers to stay and get meals.

People came for miles to see this house as John was building it.  Once the house was completed it became a place for pioneers who were heading west to find food and shelter.  Men driving hogs and cattle that were to be shipped by the Whitewater Canal to Cincinnati would stop for the night.  The home was known as the Huddleston Inn or the Huddleston House.  It is a historic landmark today.

Many travelers went down the old National Road.  The road had low swampy areas and travelers were often stuck.  John would bring out his horses and pull them out.  One of the travelers that he pulled out was President Martin Van Buren.  The president asked him if he knew who he was helping and John told him it didn't matter, he would help anyone out.

John operated his inn for many years.  He died at the age of 72, on August 29, 1877, after being kicked by a horse.  His wife continued to live in the home until her death many years later.  Her son, Henry, purchased the farm.  The inn was in family hands until it was sold in 1933.

My son and I made a trip down to see the Huddleston Inn last summer.  The inn is only open on Fridays now, so we were unable to go in.  We did get to walk around the property and spend time at the graveyard.  John, his father and mother, and many other Huddleston family members are buried there.

Blogging is great for my research!

When I started blogging I did it because I thought it would be a good way to make our family history more accessible to family members. I hoped it would attract cousins who might be able to help put together more family information. I believe both those things have worked. I know some family members have really enjoyed reading the blog. They have thanked me. I have also met a distant cousin who has researched for over 43 years and he has sent me some information and is getting together lots more.

There has been an added bonus. When I am writing the stories I start to the more about the person I'm writing about. They are no longer details on a piece of paper. I begin to think more about ways to follow up on my research and I am finding lots of new information.

Some of my ancestors I haven't done research on for quite a while. In that time I have come across new resources and with the constantly updated digital files there is more available. I did a post on my dad's family blog today. When I started writing the post I really felt like I didn't know much at all about my great uncle. When I was finished I felt like I knew him personally. I am anxious to get started on some of his siblings now!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - Women in the KKK

The Family History Writing Challenge Day 22.  Tonight's story is one I really wish I had more details on and hope to find out more in the future.  It is a controversial topic, but it is in the family history.  I don't understand what people were thinking or going through in those years, so I can't have a true understanding of how they could have been involved in an organization like this.  Since this was such a secret society I may never be able to document this story.

My dad had three older half-sisters, their mother died when they were young.  They were Dollie, Margaret, and Virginia (Vergie).  They all were born in Kentucky before the turn of the century.  Dollie was born in 1886,  Margaret in 1891, and Vergie in 1894.  

My cousin had told me at one time she had a picture of Dollie, but that she had burned it.  I had no idea what would make her burn a picture of her dad's half-sister.  Recently she told me why she burned it.  The picture was of a woman in her casket.  That's not so unusual, it's what the woman had in her casket that upset my cousin. She was wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and had other Klan items in her casket.  I'm not sure how she knew, but she said the women had something in the casket that indicated that she was an Imperial Leader.

I have also made contact with an extended cousin, Margaret's granddaughter.  As we were talking she said that she remembers a picture of her grandmother in her casket and that she had KKK things in her casket.  She believes her mother destroyed the picture after her father died.  She was young the last time she saw the picture and wasn't really sure of the details.

Now, my question is, were both women involved or was there a mis-identification of one of the pictures.  I don't know if that is something we will ever be able to figure out.  I have another cousin that says that the original picture that my cousin burned had been copied and she believes a copy still exists.  I am still hoping to find the copy.

Since getting this information I have done some reading on the WKKK.  I had never really known that women were involved with the KKK, but it seems they were.

I found there was a huge explosion of clan membership in the mid-1920's, which would have fit right with their ages.  They were both living in Cincinnati, Ohio during that time period.

Published in 1921

I also found more information on the WKKK that I didn't know about before.  They were involved with giving lots of money to charitable organizations.  The major areas of work for the WKKK  was for Americanism, education, public amusements, legislation, child welfare and delinquency, civics, law enforcement, disarmament, peace, and politics.  Nationwide as many as a half-million women were in the Klan.  There duty was to uphold "the sanctity of the home, and the chastity of womenhood."

Margaret died in 1927, at the age of 36, and Dollie died in 1930, at the age of 44.   

When looking back through family history you never know what you will find, there will be things that you are proud of and things that are harder to understand.  

I hope we can find the picture, it is a part of our ancestry, even if we don't approve of it. 

I don't have any pictures of any of the women, I wish I did.  I believe Margaret's granddaughter has pictures and I hope to meet her someday, maybe she will share.  I have talked to her on the phone.

Lucinda Zornes Manis Wardlow - Where did she come from?

My great great grandmother Lucinda was the mother of Lester "Pop" Manis.  Lucinda was born in Mar 1849.  I believe that her parents are John and Elizabeth (Allender) Zornes.  The spelling may have been Zorns.   I have no real proof of who her parents are.  I also believe that Lucinda was born in Rush County, Indiana.   I have found census records that show a Lucinda with a John and Elizabeth.  Rush County is next to Henry County were Lucinda later lived.

My first record of Lucinda is when she married Isaac Manis, my great great grandfather, recently returned from the Civil War.  They were married on 27th day of September, 1867.  

They were together on the 1870 Census and again on the 1880 Census.  By 1880, they had Marietta, Nancy, Lilly, Lester,(My Great Grandfather)  Effie May, and Georgie.  She and Isaac divorced sometime in the 1880's.

 She remarried on October 6, 1888, to Isaac Wardlow, who was several years younger than her.  She had left Henry County and was living in Richmond, Indiana.

On the 1900 Census, Lucinda is a widow, the head of household, and her daughter, Effie May, and her family are living with her. 

 In 1910, she is living with her daughter, Nancy Murphy, and her family. 

In a 1912, City Directory, shows Lucinda as a boarder in Richmond.  

Lucinda died on June 27, 1917 from heart disease.  She was 72 years old.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - My Nightmare!

Since this is the 34th Anniversary of my husband's death, I wanted to repost this in memory of him.

This is day 21 in The Family History Writing Challenge.  I have been thinking about writing this story all month.  It is the hardest story I have to write.  I don't know if I will be able to do it justice.  Sometimes you can be too close to a story to tell it very well.  I guess we'll see.  This is my story.

On July 2, 1979, I was at home with my children.  My husband, Roy, was at work.  He was a trooper with the Indiana State Police.  He had now been working with them for three years.  We moved to the area about 2 1/2 years ago.  We had made friends in our town and lots of friends on the department.  The Indiana State Police was a huge family in those years.  My husband had just gotten back from a two-week camp for Officer's Training with the Army National Guard.  He was now a Second Lieutenant.  

He had returned a few days before and still had a couple of days off.  We decided it would be a great time to redo our daughter's bedroom.  We took the furniture out of the room and removed the carpet, new carpet was going to be installed the next day.  We got the room painted and everything was ready for the carpet delivery.  Our daughter's bed was put in her brother's room where she was going to spend the night.  

The State Police worked  a six day on, two day off swing shift in those days.  Roy was working an evening shift that evening.  He left before dark to start his shift.    He shift would be over at midnight. It was summer so the kids and I played outside.  Around dark the kids came inside and and started getting settled for the evening.  Roy called and said, "I'll be by to get some dinner in a little while."  He normally came home for dinner on the evening shifts.  Some times he got to eat before he was called back out, other times he didn't.  This was a good evening, things must have been quiet on the roads.  He ate bacon sandwiches and sat down and watched "Black Sheep Squadron"  with Robert Conrad.  It was his favorite show at the time.  Since it was summer I'm sure it was a rerun.  Before he headed back out we went outside and lit sparklers with the kids.  He kissed all the kids goodnight and headed out the door.  I hollered at him, "Hey, where's my kiss?" He leaned back and gave me a quick peck.  I said, " You call that a kiss? He laughed and said, "You'll get yours later!"  I stood on the porch and watched him drive away.  

I got the kids to bed and watched TV and picked up the house.  I had gotten ready for bed it was getting close to midnight.  I was reading a book, when the phone rang.  One of the other troopers wives called me.  She was a little stressed out.  She said, "Do you have the scanner on?"  I said, "It's on, but I haven't been listening,  I've been busy around here."   She went on to explain that something was going on.  I told her I would start listening.  I brought the scanner to the living room, near the phone, and started listening to the radio traffic.  If you didn't know all their call signals, you wouldn't know what was going on.  I knew the signals.  It didn't take long for me to know they had a trooper injured.  I heard them talking and thought they were talking about a friend of ours.  I called my friend back, and said I thought that Tommy was hurt.  She wasn't very responsive and said, "Maybe."  She seemed different than the first conversation, and was in a hurry to get off the phone.  I sat and listened to the scanner some more trying to get the details.  I soon heard they had a 10-0, which means a death.  They were talking about meeting at the outskirts of our little town and picking up the wives,  so they could notify the "widow".  My friend who had called and I were the only wives in that little town, and the last time I had talked to her she said, Bob had called her a few minutes before.  

At that point, I knew where they were coming.  I knew I needed to get dressed.  I believe I was in shock.  I got up and got dressed and waited.  I heard the cars pull up out front.  I heard the car doors shutting.  I walked to the door and opened it before they could knock.  My husband's friend, Bob was standing there with several other troopers, their wives, and the chaplain.  He just looked at me and said, "What can I say hon?"  He knew I had been talking to his wife and listening to the scanner.

They came in and I broke down for a few minutes.  Then they started asking me questions.  Who do we notify?  Can you give us addresses and phone numbers.  All I could think of was "they need to tell his mother".  They told me they would send a trooper to his mother's house and to my mother's house.  I said, "Okay."  They called and made the arrangements for the troopers to make notification.  They went across the street and got my neighbors.  A women who was like a grandmother to my children, Wilma and a friend, Vickie.  They came over to sit with me.  All at once a thought went through my mind, "she's going to be alone when they tell her."  I immediately got up and went to the phone and called my sister-in-law.  The phone woke her, she answered with an apprehensive sound in her voice.  I said, "Sondra, R.E. died tonight, they are going to tell your mom.  She needs someone there with her right away."  Her husband was asking what was going on.  She told him, "R.E.'s dead."  He told her to hang up, it was just a prank.  She said, "No, it's Betty!"  I don't remember what was said after that, I'm sure she called her brother and they got to her mom as quickly as they could.  
Before long, my house started filling up.  My mother and my sisters showed up.  Roy's mother and his brother and sister showed up.  There were just people coming from everywhere.  Unbelievably my children slept through it all.

As morning got there, I knew I was going to have to tell the children.  I didn't want them to come out into the crowded house and not know what was going on.  I decided to go into the children's bedroom by myself.  My daughter was 6 years old, my son's were four and two.  I went in and sat down with the older two and put the little one on my lap. I told them that something bad had happened to Daddy and he was dead now.  He wouldn't be coming home anymore.  The four year old just looked at me, but my daughter was extremely upset.  She said, "No, I hate you for telling me that!"  The little one didn't understand he just knew it was bad.

The only other things I can remember was going in that day to pick out a casket to put my husband in.  I had never been to pick out a casket before.  When my dad and brother died my mother did it and probably took along some of my older siblings.  

My husband, Roy E. Jones, died in the line-of-duty on July 3, 1979, just a few minutes after midnight.  He had been about 2 minutes from home when he got a call that another small town had a drunk driving running from him and he was heading in my husband's direction.  He turned around and went back to assist the Town Marshall.   He had spent his life serving.  He had been a Green Beret in the Viet Nam War, on a Special Forces Reconnaissance Team.  He served with the 101st Airborne Division.  He came home form the the war with many medals, including the Bronze Star.  He died at the age of 31.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge * A Murderer *

This is day 20 of The Family History Writing Challenge and today's story is about my 1st cousin 4X removed.  He grew up in Frankon, Indiana, to a good family.  This was my great great great grandfather's brother's son.  This story made the New York Times. 

My cousin, Perry Manis, was one of fifteen children.  What was different about Perry?  The other children were all just normal, law abiding people.  What happened to Perry?

Perry had been a preacher of the gospel.  Perry had never really committed any crime.  He had been married and was the father of two children.  He liked to visit prostitutes.

Perry had become friends with a lady named Susan Nelson, and had been a visitor of her home several times.

On September 7, 1883, Susan Nelson, told people that she was going to Kansas City, Missouri, where her son was ill and she would not be returning to Anderson.  She withdrew funds from the bank, and hired a man to take her trunk to the train depot.  She got on the evening train heading west.

In the month of October, a man was hunting in the woods southwest of Terre Haute.  His dog was running ahead, and came back carrying something in his mouth.  On further inspection, that man saw that it was a skull.  He looked around the area and found more human bones.  He was uncertain, but he thought someone had been murdered.  

He came back to the area the next morning with some friends to continue searching.  They found pieces of a woman's clothing, and then, the remainder of her body.  They went to find the coroner.  The coroner found she had no identification and she had $.83 in her pocket.  Her skull had been crushed by a heavy blow and there were signs of a struggle.  The coroner determined that the body had been there for about four or five weeks.  He had no idea who she might be, but he was certain she had been murdered.

The people in the area keep searching, someone needed to find out who this woman was.  Finally, something was found.  There was an insurance policy, torn in two, laying in some tall grass.  It was readable.  It was made out to Mrs. Susan Nelson of Anderson, Indiana.  It was a policy for her household goods.  Now, they had an idea who the body might be.  They began investigating.  An investigator went to Anderson.  

In Anderson, they soon found out that the body was definitely Susan Nelson.  In searching they home they came across some information.  There was a letter from her son postmarked from Brazil, Indiana, near Terre Haute.  Her son had been in some issues in the past.  They thought they had found their murderer.  They found him in Missouri and found that he had a reliable alibi.  They murderer was still at large.

Soon after Perry Manis was locked up in Anderson for associating with prostitutes.  During his jail time, something he said or did brought him under suspicion of murder.  Officials began checking into what he had been doing at the time Susan Nelson went missing.

He had left town about the same time as Mrs. Nelson and had returned about four or five weeks later.  He left without a trunk and returned with a trunk and a large sum of money.  A young man came forward with testimony that he had overheard Perry and Mrs. Nelson talk about going to Kansas City and opening a boarding hotel.  

Investigation in the Terre Haute area, found someone who had seen Perry and Mrs. Nelson at a boarding house.  He had hired a horse and buggy and the two of them left together.  Perry returned later by himself.  Perry was arrested and taken to Noblesville to be put in jail.  At Noblesville he tried to escape, but was re-captured and taken to Terre Haute for a murder trial.  Perry later admitted to the crime, but said he had accomplices who were never named.  

Mrs. Nelson was the sister of Frederick and Michael Bronnenberg, who had lived in Madison County all their lives.

Perry came from a well-to-do family who had never committed any crimes.  Perry had been a traveling minister and had been known to hang out with undesirable people and had some lewd habits, but he had never been suspected of any other crimes before he committed the murder.

What happened, did he just want the money Mrs Nelson carried or was there more to the story?  Perry died in prison a couple of years later.  

Printed in The New York Times, January 10, 1884.

Here is the article blown up so you can read it.

Wishful Wednesday - My Grandma Ethel

Wishful Wednesday is a new prompt from GeneaBloggers.  You are supposed to write about someone you wish you could have met or a day or event in the life of an ancestor that you wish you could have been a part of. 

I wish I could have met my mom's mother, my grandmother Ethel.  Ethel was a beautiful woman and she died way too young.  She fell over one day and died soon after.  She had an brain aneurysm.  She would have 39 in three weeks had she lived.  She left 4 daughters at home, and her oldest son and daughter were married.  

She had some wonderful daughters, so she must have been a great mother.  They were all wonderful mothers.  I imagine her being like my mother and my aunts.  I think I would have loved her very much.

Wordless Wednesday - If She Was Little Grandma, What was He?

This is my mom's Grandma and Step-Grandpa.  The grandchildren all called her "Little Grandma".  I know she was a very small woman.  "Arty" as he was called had to be under 5 foot.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Secrets of Happy Families

I heard about this book on the news tonight.  One of the things that caught my attention was the following:

Tell your family history

Tell your children the story of their own family history.
Researchers in Georgia have found that children who know more

about their parents, grandparents, and other relatives have higher

self-worth and more confidence to handle life's challenges.  Family

history knowledge is the single biggest predictor of a child's

emotional health.  Grandparents can be a big help with this too! 

The Family History Writing Challenge - Struck By Lightning

This is day 19 of The Family History Writing Challenge.  I decided to write about a cousin today.  The story of his death and other events of the day are quite unusual.  My great grandfather's sister married my great grandmother's cousin, and Lemoine Wesley Gibson is their son.  Lemoine was my first cousin two times removed, and with the other relationship he is probably also a distant cousin again.

August 1947, in Richmond, Indiana, had turned into a scorcher.  There had not been a break from the heat all month and here is was all ready the 25th.  Lemoine had been running his farm near Kitchel Station and dealing with the heat.  He also traveled around to other farms in the area and did custom baling.

Lemoine had to head over near Abington Pike to bale some hay for John and Ed Wuenker that morning.  It was going to be miserably hot baling that hay, but he needed to get the job done.

He got up early that morning and told Mary he was heading over to the Wuenker farm.  He spent the morning baling and he was trying to get some finished when the clouds started to look ominous.  He wanted to get the section done that he was working on before the rain hit.  He saw lightning off in the distance and it started to cool down quickly.  Just a few more minutes and he could head in to the farmhouse and take shelter from the storm.  It was time to grab a little lunch anyway.  

At 12:10 pm a bolt of lightning struck.  It was a huge bolt and it hit Lamoine hard.  The force of that bolt ripped the shoes right from his feet.  It stopped Lamoine's watch.  It killed the horses that were standing near him.    

When the storm had passed over and Lamoine had failed to come to the house to get out of the storm, John Wuenker began to worry.
He figured he better go out and check on Lamoine.  He found him a short time later laying about 50 feet from the hay baler.

A couple of hours later, Mary was at home and she saw a storm coming in.  This was the same storm that had struck Lamoine.  Mary didn't know about Lamoine yet.  The lightning in this storm was still monstrous.  It was cracking all around.  The next thing Mary knew the house was struck.  Thank goodness, it hadn't caught the house on fire.  She realized later it had taken out some wiring in the oil furnace.  

The coroner came in the late afternoon with the Wuenker's to inform Mary that Lamoine was stuck by lightning and had died.

Lamoine was laid out for his funeral at his farmhouse two days later.  One of his young nieces remembered going to attend his funeral.  She was more concerned about the "poor" horses dying than her Uncle Lamoine. Lamoine was taken to his final resting place at  Earlham Cemetery in Richmond.  

Tombstone Tuesday - Lester Parker Mannis

Lester Parker Manis was my great grandfather.  He was the father of Ethel Manis, my mom's mother.  My mom called him "Pop".  He served in World War I.  For more information click on his name, it will take you to a previous post about his life.

This is the burial card from Earlham Cemetery in Richmond, Indiana.   They have cards for all of their graves.  It lists his cause of death as Carcinoma of Pyloris.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Item 4 on the Civil War 150 - Checked Off

My son and I completed our next item on The Civil War 150 An Essential To-Do List!

Appreciate the Crater Scene in Cold Mountain

We watched the Crater Scene and the entire movie.  It is an excellent movie if you haven't seen it.  After watching the movie and thinking about what our country and people went through it is amazing that we came back together as a country.  

We as a country have been so lucky that all the people in our generation have never had to deal with fighting in our own homeland.  

The Family History Writing Challenge - A Sad and Lonely Lady

This is my contribution to The Family History Writing Challenge for Day 18.  I am writing this from information I took from a letter written by Jeannette Eccles Irwin.  At a later date, I will post the letter and the translation.  Jennie was my 2nd great grand aunt.  Her mother was Rachel Huddleston Eccles and her father was John P Eccles.

Jennie was born in Ohio on May 25, 1832.  It hadn't been to many years after her father had left her mother in North Carolina.  He took off and left the family alone.  Jennie's uncle made the trip back from Ohio to bring her family from North Carolina to Ohio.  Jennie's  was born either in North Carolina or her father returned for a while and she was born in Ohio. 

Shortly before or after Jennie was born her father and one of her brothers left and the family never saw them again.  They went south to Alabama or Mississippi where some of her father's family was located.

Jennie and her mother moved in with her sister, Lydia Stubbs.  In a few years Jennie met and married William Irvin.  Jennie's husband may have been crippled.  Around 1869, Jennie had a son, she named him William after his father.  In 1880, their son William is no longer living with them.

Jennie must have had some disappointments in her life.  In December 1884, she was living in Boone County, Indiana with her sister, Lydia Stubbs.  Jennie's mother had died in 1863.  She was very sad and melancholy during this time.  She was helping her sister out at the time. She felt like she was old and had nothing to offer anyone.  Jenny was concerned about not having any money to purchase gifts for anyone and what she was going to do after Lydia died.  She felt like she was being left out of things.  Lydia died in 1889.

Jenny moved to Richmond, Indiana and was living there in 1900.  She was living with two boarders in her house.  When she died in January 28, 1907 her body was sent to Middletown, Ohio for burial.  

Have you used

Last summer, my son and I decided to photograph graves.  When deciding how we were going to document them I decided to look at some of the sites available.  We knew we were going to put them on  Find A Grave.  In looking around though I found an app for  If you haven't checked out Billion Graves you should.

We took all our pictures with our iPhones. The great thing about this is with the Billion Graves app it would GPS every grave.  When we completed our photos each day we could just push download and they were all downloaded into their database within minutes.  We loaded over 4500 pictures into their database last summer.

As far as transcribing them, I could go into their site later and transcribe.  Another really exciting thing about their site is that other people can transcribe for you.  If you just have time to take pictures, someone will transcribe them from the pictures you have downloaded.  This is a place that allows you to get more graves on line very quickly. They are now associated with FamilySearch.

I love the Find A Grave site but it is way more time consuming.  We did put all our photos onto Find A Grave too.  On FAG I have taken the time to built memorials.  In our local cemetery I have searched for obituaries and cemetery records to put as much information on as I can.

The Billion Graves site gives people the opportunity to look for graves that aren't on Find A Grave, and they are increasing their database rapidly.  I am sure as the site grows more memorials will be built there too.  They offered an incentive for submitting graves.  They give you a bonus for so many graves submitted.  They will email me anytime a surname is downloaded.  I can ask for it to be in a specific area or just any time the name is added.  I have 4 or 5 ongoing surname searches ongoing.  I am waiting for a great find!  So far lots of emails, no great finds.  I keep hoping someone will walk into a cemetery full of my ancestors and I will receive a email. If you become one of their paid members there are extra services available.

Another great thing is the option to use GPS. I believe you must be a paid member, but you can walk into a cemetery and using your smartphone allow the GPS to guide you right to a grave.  I think all their services come for $9.99 a year, so it is very reasonable.

The new LegacyTec is also associated with Billion Graves. They are adding a new app that will allow you to take a picture of the grave and it will pull up the information they have associated with that grave. The more they build their database the better that service will be. It would be extremely exciting to be walking through a cemetery and see a grave with your surname and be able to take a picture of it and find out about the person.

It's amazing how all the new technology is opening up the past for us. At the rate things are going in a few years everyone could know their family history without a lifetime of searching. I am sure that all of the true genealogists would still be able to find things to search for. It's part of the fun!

If you have a smartphone take a stroll through the cemetery and just snap some shots and download them. Maybe you will be the one that takes the photos that I am waiting for!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - Find A Grave Discovery

Here is my story for The Family History Writing Challenge 
for day 17.  This weekend has been a difficult time for writing, so much going on.  Maybe next week I will get back in the groove.  

My eighteen year old son and I spent a lot of time this summer photographing graves.  We put 4,531 grave photos on Billion Graves and we put 3,357 grave photos and 2,520 memorials on Find A Grave.  It was work, but we enjoyed it so much, even in the upper 90 degree temperatures.  We felt like we were giving back.

 I found a memorial for my Uncle John on Find A Grave.  It was a military grave located in Oregon.  It didn't have a photo on the memorial.  I put in a request for a photo on the site and by that evening I had the photo of his grave.   I probably would never have made it there to get the picture myself.  We knew there were people in other parts of the country looking for graves located in Indiana.  This was our opportunity to help.  

A few months later, I noticed a message on my Find A Grave account.  I had a person thanking me for taking the photos, and making the great memorial.  Well, this memorial happened to be a memorial for my mother's Aunt Luella.  I had put a few pictures of her there, in addition to the grave photo.  I was very curious then, who was this person thanking me for putting my great aunt's memorial up?  

I sent back a message asking if she was related to Luella, and if so what was her connection.  She told me that Luella's second husband was her grandfather's brother.  Well, that connection was not that great, but her next statement was, I have Luella's son's phone number if you would like to contact him.  

Luella's youngest son was still living!  I had information on him in my tree.  I knew he was about 85, but I didn't know he was still living.  She said she would contact him and see if it was okay to pass on his phone number.  The next day she gave me his phone number.  

I called my mom's cousin, Paul.  When I started talking to him and told him my mother was his cousin.  I said I was Shirley Hoover's daughter.  He immediately came back with my mother's married name, and said you mean Shirley Plummer.  He knew my mother!  She was older, but they lived next door to each other at one time.  He knew my grandfather, my great grandmother, and many members of my family on a personal basis.  

He then asked if I had talked to his nephew who was 82 years old.  He said Jim would have many things to talk about to and gave me his number.  Jim's mother had died with tuberculosis when he was eight months old, he was raised by my mother's other aunt.  My great-grandmother had lived with him the last few weeks of her life.  

Our contribution to find a grave has connected me with people that I had in my tree.  I had no idea if they were alive or how to find them.  Jim has sent my some great pictures and told me several wonderful stories.  Paul hasn't gone through his pictures yet, but plans to send me some soon.  He has written to me.   I so enjoy talking to both of these men.  They knew the people in my tree and make them come to life for me.  The stories that they tell make the people so real to me and I have begun to feel like I knew them.

My Blog's Effect on the Current Generations

I started this blog in December. During the last few weeks I have gotten several comments from a niece who is in her twenties. I have also gotten comments from my daughter who I nearing forty. They have both enjoyed reading the stories about the family.

My niece is one of my younger nieces who I haven't really gotten to spend much time with over the years. After my mother died the family has not been as close as when she was there to pull everyone together and my niece has felt the loss of family. She only remembered my mother as an older woman in the hospital.

The blog has given me a new connection to my niece and I hope it continues it grow. We have communicated more in the last few weeks than in last few years.

My niece has talked about starting a blog now and recording the family stories she has for her children. She wants to do it while the memories are fresh. I hope she chooses to go ahead with it. I know while she has young children it is difficult to find time to do things. I wish I had started writing things down a long time ago instead of waiting until I was older.

A few of my mother's grandchildren, around 30 years ago.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - The Bus Driver

The Family History Writing Challenge is a great thing, but today I must have writer's block.  The story lines I had planned all seem wrong.  Yesterday, my story just came so easy.  Today, I hope I have a story.  I think I am tired so my brain is just not up for writing today.  I guess I'll just take a stab at it and see where it goes.

My mom, Shirley Plummer, did lots of work over the years to help out with the family finances.  In a previous post, I talked about her doing other people's laundry.  She also drove a taxi for a while.  She would do any job to help her family.

She was the church bus driver for a few years, so when she got the opportunity to drive a bus for the senior citizens transportation service, she grabbed the opportunity.  

Driving the bus to take the elderly to the Senior Citizens Center,  their doctor's appointments, to the grocery store, and wherever they needed to go was a job, but it became a labor of love.  They didn't pay much to ride the bus, it was more of a service that was offered by the community center.  

Mom drove that bus for several years.  She had developed a friendship with all the elderly people that rode her little mini-bus.
She talked with each of them and found out about their lives.  Many of the people were very lonely.  They were happy to have someone who cared what they did each day.  She would help them to load and unload their groceries.  Over those years she knew most of the elderly people in town.  

My mom worked on the bus up until she couldn't work anymore.  Over those years she made contact with many people in town and made lots of friends.  Mrs. Plummer, as she was known to her passengers, was finished driving the elderly of Connersville, Indiana.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge - Moving Day 1977

I am still in The Family History Writing Challenge.  This is day 15, I do think this is a great idea.  I hope I can continue to work at this after the month is over.  I keep thinking I will run out of stories, but then something just pops into my mind.  I will talk to a family member, and something will just click.  Today, I saw the date and it brought a story to mind.  I was going to write about something else, but this story fits today.

On February 15, 1977 my family and I moved into the house I still live in.  This house has seen lots of life over the last 36 years.  If these walls could talk, oh the stories they would tell.

My first husband, Roy, and my three oldest children and I lived in Richmond.  Roy had been hired by the Indiana State Police the previous July.  He had to go away to for sixteen weeks to the Police Academy.  He came home to spend the weekends.  When he went away to the Academy I was four months pregnant with our third child.  I had 3 1/2 year old daughter, and a 1 1/2 year old son.  It was a long sixteen weeks without him at home during the week.  We enjoyed the weekends.  I would pick him up on Friday evenings and take him back on Sunday evenings, so I could keep the one car we had.  The drive was about an hour and a half each way.  

When he graduated from the Academy, he was sent to a State Police Post about an hour from us.  Now we knew where we would be living so we could get our house put up for sale and begin looking for a new house.  Selling and purchasing a house takes a little while, so he continued to live away from us.  He was working swing shifts with six days on and two off.  At least now he had transportation to and from home.  He was living at the state police post during his work week and coming home on the two days off.

In the middle of December, I was at home with the kids when I went into labor.  I got in my car and drove with them to my husband's mother house, about a half hour away.  I called the State Police Post and left a message for him.  I told them I needed to contact him because I was getting ready to have the baby.  He made it in time for the delivery.  He was home for a day or two and then went back.  My mom came to stay with me for about a week to help out.

Well we got our house sold quickly, and we had forty-five days to move out.   Luckily, we found our house couple of weeks later, they were willing to let us in on the day we had to move out of our old house.  

Now that brings us to February 15, 1977.  That morning a moving van pulled up to our old house.  The men came in and loaded our possessions into the van.  We go into our car, loaded up our children, our youngest was two months old by then, and started out for our new home.  Before we got to the house, we stopped at a fried chicken place and got a family meal and drinks.  We drove the rest of the way to our new house.  

Inside the new house was completely empty, the moving van wouldn't be there for a while.  We had a blanket in the car.  We spread the blanket out on the floor and set out our picnic meal.  We put on young son down on the blanket.  Our little family had our first meal in our new home.  We were all back to living in the same house as a complete family again. 

Three years later my husband died in a line of duty accident.  That's a story for a different day.

Sadly, we never had a family picture taken, but here is the three children a few months after we moved into the house.