Sunday, July 31, 2011

Salad Oughtn't Wiggle

After Grandmother died in 1993 I spent several days in Morristown with my parents clearing out the house she lived in for more than fifty years. I found sunbonnets my mother and aunts had worn as girls, fabulous Christmas ornaments, books and seemingly endless boxes and bags of family papers (many of which have been or will be featured on this blog). I had an especially good time going through the kitchen.

AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by larry&flo
I'd always loved that kitchen. It was a huge, sunny room at the back of the house. There was a breakfast nook with benches and a table that was just like a restaurant or diner. Once you slid in you were trapped until the adult on the end would let you out (though very small children were known to slip down and crawl out under the table). The cupboards and drawers had all kinds of well-used gadgets and equipment I never saw in our kitchen at home.

But it was the 43 recipes for molded lime jello salads that were in her recipe box that really sparked the memories. Note that was just for lime jello salads. (Lest you doubt me, you need only google "lime jello salad" images to see the endless possibilities.) There were also the recipes for cherry jello salads, orange jello salads and uncounted recipes for aspics and other congealed foodstuffs. Grandmother, it seems, preferred her food structured and controlled. Wiggling allowed, but no running all over the place.

I'm not sure which I loathed more - the shredded carrot, pineapple, and raisins in lime jello or the chopped ham, horseradish, and peas in lime jello or the cottage cheese in lime jello pictured. Regardless, it seemed every supper or dinner included a version. Sometimes, she would even include the green beans that appeared at every meal (mandated by my grandfather who believed them the food of gods) in the salad du jour. Lettuce was a garnish. Every other fruit or vegetable was encased in something derived from boiling animal carcasses that had more in common with glue than anything I wanted to eat.

It's not that Grandmother was a bad cook. She made wonderful chicken salads (the uncongealed ones), cakes, biscuits and cornbreads. Margaret, who was her housekeeper for many, many years, made the best deep-dish peach pie I will ever eat. I still dream of it. But those jello salads had me squirming and wiggling in my seat so that I must have born more than a passing resemblance to the stuff.

I packed off one recipe and salad mold to each of my cousins in their box of souvenirs and took a couple home with me. Can I find either the recipes or molds today? Of course not. They surely lurk in the nightmare that is my basement, probably shaking a bit in their box with each step we make upstairs.

Written for the 108th edition of Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Under Occupation - Civil War Saturday

Frederick, Maryland, home of my husband's maternal grandparents, saw much of the Civil War at close range. Only 21 miles from John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry, 24 miles from Sharpsburg and Antietem Creek and 35 miles from Gettysburg, Frederick's citizens saw Union and Confederate armies march through its streets and fields, heard the cannons and nursed the injured. 

In 1864 the family of Dr. Charles Smith was living on 2nd Street in a house that had belonged to Maryland's former governor Enoch Louis Lowe. Lowe was a Confederate supporter who, shortly after the beginning of the war, had sold his home and moved to Virginia. The Smiths, too, had strong Confederate sympathies, but remained in Maryland. In addition to Dr. Smith, the household included his mother, Mary Eliza Jamison Smith, younger brother (and my husband's great-grandfather), Dr. Francis Fenwick Smith, and sisters Catherine, Mary, and Cornelia. A Charles Smith and a Mary Smith are listed on the 1860 census as slave owners, but it is unclear if they are the same Smiths. 

In July 1864 the Confederate army moved north and briefly occupied Frederick. One of the officers was Brigadier General Bradley T. Johnson, a Frederick native. He apparently knew Dr. Smith, for in the papers of Smith's sister-in-law was a very faded and worn bit of paper written pencil ordering that no harm or damage should befall Dr. Smith's property. The writing is faint, but as best I could manage, the transcription reads

“P__ __s Johnsons Brigad
July 6th 1864
Special Orders
No 3
Soldiers & others are
hereby ordered to respect the known
property of Dr Chas Smith – and
attention is called to the fact
that the penalty of a violation
of a “safe guard” is death -
By Cons_ _ of Brig Genl Johnson
_ _ ere_ _ _ Howard
1st Lt _ lect A R C”

The Confederate occupation was brief. The Battle of Monocacy took place July 9, 1864 and the troops moved on toward Washington, DC. Days later the younger brother of Smith's future sister-in-law, Maria Lee Palmer, left his school in Maryland to join General Johnson's troops. His sister became the family archivist, collecting and saving many documents relating to their lives during and after the Civil War.

Source: Confederate Order regarding House of Dr. Charles Smith, July 1864; privately held by descendent of Dr. Francis F. Smith, Frederick, Maryland. 1966. Papers of Maria Lee Palmer Smith. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Slave Division of Thad. Pullen's Estate - A Friend of Friend Friday

This is the part of a series of transcriptions and abstracts of records involving slaves that I copied at the Library of Virginia during my summer research marathon. Eleven slaves were named in the Division of Slaves for the estate of Thaddeus Pullen, who died about 1809 in Lancaster County, Virginia. I abstracted the slave and heir information from the microfilm copy.

From Lancaster County Estate Book 27, p. 339 (LVA Reel #47)
Slave Division of Thadeus Pullen's Estate. 17 February 1817.

To Frances George, late widow of Thad. Pullen
     Bob $400
     Alice $330
     Jerry $130
     Molly $80
             $ 940
To Westley Kirk, by right of his wife who was Elizabeth Pullen, Lot 4
     John at $400
To Enoch George, guardian of Jonathan Pullen, Lot 2
     Charles $230
     Tom $230
To William George, guardian of William Pullen, Lot 3
     Hannah $330
To William George, guardian of Catherine Pullen, Lot 5
     Sarah $330
To William George, guardian of Addaline Pullen, Lot 1
     Jesse $280
To William George, guardian of Nancy B. Pullen, Lot 6
     Ann $330

Submitted by Sp. George, Wm T. Yerby, Danl P Mitchell and recorded at Lancaster Court 19 Jan 1818.

Pullen's widow, Frances George, was the sister of my husband's 3rd great-grandfather, John Meredith. At this time I know very little about the Pullen heirs and where they remained. Addaline did die shortly after this settlement. Jesse likely ended up belonging to another of the heirs. William Pullen remained in Lancaster County until the Civil War. I have not researched him further than that. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

At the end of the road - Tombstone Tuesday

When I arrived in Washington County, Tennessee after following the same path south as my Scots-Irish Presbyterian ancestors (though far more comfortably and rapidly), I went first to the cemeteries dotting the countryside around the Big Limestone Creek where they settled. 

At Salem Cemetery, located on the grounds of Washington College, I found the fading markers for my 4th great-grandparents John and Elizabeth Cloyd Stephenson and for John's mother, Alice Houston Stephenson. I am a novice gravestone photographer and these are almost impossible to read without ones fingers tracing the letters. I've transcribed the engraving as best I can. Selecting individual photographs will allow you to make out some of the lettering.

              memory of
Elizabeth Stephenson
Born October 15th 17  
Died March 30th 18  
aged 61 years &         

             memory of
John Stephenson
Born May 2 th 1779
Died March 24th 1842
aged _ 2 & 10 months

            memory of

Alice Stephenson
Born August 1_th 1749
Died February 27th 1832
aged 82 years & 6 months

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Road

By freefotouk
I am home. My genealogy dream trip this summer lasted five and half weeks, covered 4,800 miles (lots of backtracking involved, but I could drive Interstate 81 for years and not mind), stays in 4 states and the District of Columbia, visits to the National Archives, the DAR Library, the Library of Virginia, the Mary Ball Washington Library, the Archives of Appalachia, two courthouses, eight cemeteries, family homes and even living, breathing family members. I had dinner three nights with fellow geneabloggers (completely wonderful!), ate my first Ethiopian meal with my fabulous niece, caught up with a college friend I'd not seen in years, and looked at microfilm until my eyes and brain were completely crossed. I have thousands of images to sort through and assess. But I do believe that's for another day. A la Scarlett O'Hara, I'll think about that tomorrow.

What I have been thinking about is how I was able to travel the distance of my ancestors lives in a matter of hours. My Scots-Irish family migrated south through the Shenandoah Valley from western Pennsylvania to Tennessee over several generations. One morning I woke in Lexington, VA and visited the Rockbridge County Courthouse. I saw the original marriage bond for my 4th great-grandparents, John Stephenson and Elizabeth Cloyd. That afternoon, after driving south on I-81, I visited their graves at the Salem Cemetery in Washington County, TN. I stayed in Jonesborough, where Elizabeth started a school for girls in 1820.

I remember traveling through Virginia before the interstate was built, before cars had air conditioners, when  a hotel swimming pool was rare. It took a full day longer. The roads were curvier (I consumed large quantities of dramamine on those trips), narrower, and far more difficult to drive. From today's perspective it was a difficult trip.

I try to imagine John and Elizabeth traveling down to Tennessee in 1808. They surely traveled the same route I did - the Great Warriors Trail. I wonder if there were ghosts on their road, as there have been on mine.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Slaves of William Meredith - A Friend of Friends Friday

This is the part of a series of transcriptions and abstracts of records involving slaves that I copied at the Library of Virginia during my summer research marathon. Ten slaves were named in the inventory and appraisal of my husband's 4th great-grandfather, William Meredith, who died in 1808 in Lancaster County, Virginia. I abstracted the slave information but did not copy the list of household goods.

From Lancaster County Estate Book 27, p. 32 (LVA Reel #47)

Appraisal for estate of William Meredith, deceased. 8 July 1808.

     1 negro man Daniel                              £ 100.00
     1     "       "   Solomon                               90.00
     1     "       "   Saunders                             100.00
     1     "       "   George                                  75.00
     1     "     boy Stephen                                15.00 
     1     "    woman Nell                                  21.00
     1     "         "      Nanny                              75.00
     1     "         "      Minny                               75.00
     1     "         "      Patty                                60.00
     1     "     girl Martha (see below)                 30.00

     Submitted to Lancaster Court by William Gibson, Samuel M. Shearman, Geo. W. Yerby, Rich. Berryman and recorded 18 July 1808.
The name of the girl Martha was difficult to read and may be incorrect. 

The slaves total value was £631.00 making them the majority of the estate which had a total value of £813.20. The appraisal did not include Meredith's land or three more slaves who were named as individual bequests in his will (Lancaster Will Book 28, p. 106). There he named Battron, Harry and Willis. Solomon was also an individual bequest to a son Robert but was named in this inventory. For further information on Solomon and other enslaved people see my WeRelate page recording slave information found during family research. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Turner Slave Sale - Amanuensis Monday

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch who originated the Amanuensis Monday meme, providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

This is the first of a series of transcriptions of records involving slaves that I copied at the Library of Virginia. Edward Turner was my 5th great grandfather. He died in 1805. William Byrne married Turner's youngest daughter, Ann. They remained in Fauquier County throughout their lives.

Fauquier County, VA Will Book 7, p. 12 (LVA Fauquier Reel 33)
Turner Edward, Account Sale
Sale of the property of Edwd Turner, Decd  Lewis Turner acting Admt
January 3rd 1817  the widows dower Slaves to William Byrne 

To negro David                          370.00
Siller and Lucy                          651.00
9 Barrels of Corn at 6$50             38.50                                                                        1079.50
At a Court held for Fauquier County the 26th day of May 1817
This account of the sales of the estate of Edward Turner deceased was returned into Court and and ordered to be recorded.
                                                 Daniel Withers C.C.                                

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Abstract thoughts

I've relied for many years on published abstracts of wills, marriages and deeds in my research. I don't live anywhere near the places I've needed to research and it's only in the last few years that original documents have become more available online. As I worked through the thousands of names in the family trees I inherited, validating the information and adding rudimentary sources, the abstracts were heaven sent.

I'm now in Virginia - ground zero for much of my family and my husband's. I'm visiting houses, cousins, graveyards and my personal Mecca, the Library of Virginia. Four days there doesn't seem nearly enough time, but I shall make the most of it. 

Saturday I plowed through Lancaster and Northumberland records, looking for the wills I've been citing, looking for estate settlements, inventories, other deeds and indentures. And I found them. Dozens and dozens of them. I haven't dared count how many pages I'm going to copy to my flash drive on Monday.  

And I saw what I'd known in the abstract - the names that are missing from those lovely, easy abstracts. There are dozens and dozens of them, as well. Names like Sam, 42 year old male. Annie, 16 year old female. Stepto, 27 year old male. (These aren't specific people - just examples.) I looked away several times. I was more exhausted than I've been the entire trip. I can't possible copy them all. But I will copy everyone of "ours" that I can get to. And over the next months I will transcribe every name and publish them all. 

In the meantime, if you're seeking enslaved ancestors from the Northern Neck and believe they might have been owned by the following families please contact me after August 1st. I'll be glad to send you copies of anything I've found. 

Slave Owners naming Slaves in 18th & 19th c. Northern Neck Records


These other families may also have left records naming slaves, but I have not seen them so far. I will, however, be copying records so may have information on them later.

Conway (Northern Virginia)
Dobyns (Northern Virginia)
Doggett (Northern Virginia)
Holt (Amelia and Campbell Counties)
James (Wythe and Smyth Counties)
Mason (Campbell County)
Porter (Fauquier County)
Turner (Northern Virginia)
Williams (Wythe, Grayson, Smyth Counties)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

SNGF - Slices of Heritage Pie

I needed something quick and fun this evening and Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun was just the thing. His challenge was to list all 16 great-great grandparents, their dates and places of birth, death and marriage and to then make a pie chart of the birthplaces.

Now I'm scant on dates when it comes to my European great great grandparents. I consider myself blessed to know all their names! As for the places they were born, lived and died, well, borders and states have changed dramatically since they lived. Technically all eight were born in the Hungarian Empire. Some may have been ethnic Hungarians, but today the villages where they lived are in Slovakia and the Ukraine and no one there considers themselves Hungarian. So that's what I'm going with for the chart, no matter what my list says.

The Great Greats

16. Stefan Papp was born before 1826 in Drahovo, Maramoros, Hungary and died in Drahovo, Maramoros, Hungary.
Stefan married Anna Stajko in Berezovo, Maramoros, Hungary.
17. Anna Stajko was born in Drahovo, Maramoros, Hungary and died in Drahovo, Maramoros, Hungary.

18. Ivan Tegza Balabancuk was born before 1837 in Maramoros, Hungary. 
Ivan married Anna Perehanic Rabunesic in Berezovo, Maramoros, Hungary.
19. Anna Perehanic Rabunesic was born before 1840 and died after 1892 in Berezovo, Maramoros, Hungary.

20. Ivan (Janos) Pereksta was born in 1826 in Kis-Pereszlo, Zemplén, Hungary and died in 1857 in Kis-Pereszlo, Zemplén, Hungary.
He married Maria Bundzha on 24 Feb 1848 in Kis-Pereszlo, Zemplén, Hungary.
21. Maria Bundzha was born in 1829 in Kis-Pereszlo, Zemplén, Hungary.

22. Ivan (Janos) Szidor was born in 1818 in Sztarina, Zemplén, Hungary.
He married Maria Komiszar on 3 Feb 1848 in Sztarina, Zemplén, Hungary.
23. Maria Komiszar was born in 1825 in Sztarina, Zemplén, Hungary.

24. Archibald Sawyer(s) was born in 1795 in South Carolina and died before 1880 in Cocke, TN.
Archibald married Sarah Killian about 1836.
25. Sarah Killian, daughter of David Killian and Barbary Fulbright, was born on 23 Sep 1812 in NC, and died on 2 Jan 1881 in Cocke County, TN.

26. Charles Turner Porter Conway, son of James Christopher Turner Conway and Sarah Elizabeth Holloway, was born in 1828 in Cocke Co, TN and died in 1886.
Charles married Ella Holt on 17 Dec 1851.
27. Ella Holt, daughter of Zebidee Holt and Eleanor Allen, was born in 1827 in Tennessee and died in 1895 in Cocke Co, TN.

28. Granville H. Williams, son of Levi Williams and Susannah Pugh, was born on 22 Feb 1820 in VA and died on 23 Jul 1888 in Grayson, VA.
Granville married Sally James on 30 Jan 1841 in Smyth, VA.
29. Sally James, daughter of John James and Nancy Smith, was born on 21 Mar 1821 in , Wythe, VA and died on 18 Aug 1864 in Grayson, VA.

30. Samuel Bryson McAdams, son of Thomas Cunningham McAdams Sr. and Cynthia S. Stephenson, was born on 3 Feb 1845 in Washington, TN, died on 13 May 1900 in Johnson City, Washington, TN.
Samuel married Rachel Mulkey on 9 May 1866 in Washington, TN.
31. Rachel Mulkey, daughter of Philip Mulkey and Ann Duncan, was born on 15 Sep 1839 in Washington, TN, died in 1906 in Johnson City, Washington, TN. 

As for the Pie, any way you slice it it's fun to work with!

From Kid's Zone

Pereksta Cousins from the Old World

I have an envelope addressed to my grandfather from his wife's family in Czechoslovakia that was sent in the 1950s. The postmark is hard to read but I think it was sent in 1958. My grandfather died in 1948, but the family in Europe may not have known about his death. The envelope is full of photographs, some dated, some labeled, some with no information at all. The most poignant, which I will not publish for privacy reasons, is at the burial of one of my grandmother's great-nieces.  There are photos of soldiers, of family groups, of children. The dates on the photographs range from 1948 to 1954.

These are my favorites.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Death of a Physician - Amanuensis Monday

This obituary was part of the papers I recently reviewed at my husband's aunt's home. The collection belonged to Maria Lee Palmer Smith, her grandmother. The obituary is for Maria Smith's husband, Dr. Francis Fenwick Smith and was almost certainly from a Frederick, Maryland newspaper published on Monday, August 27, 1900, the day following his death.

Death of a Physician
Dr. Francis Fenwick Smith Passes Away
City's Oldest Practitioner.
Had Been Engaged in Active Practice in Frederick Since 1864 --- Was Seventy-Two Years of Age and Universally Respected.
   Dr. Francis Fenwick Smith, the oldest practicing physician of this city died at his residence, East Second street, yesterday evening, at 6 o'clock, of a complication of diseases, aged 72 years. For the past few months Dr. Smith had been sick, but it was hoped that he would rally. Yesterday morning he was apparently better and the family entertained no serious thought of his early death, but late in the afternoon he began to sink rapidly and hardly had the family assembled at the bedside when quietly and peacefully he breathed his last.
   Doctor Smith was a son of the late Leonard Smith and Eliza Jamison Smith, and was born in Allegany county on May 24, 1828. His early education was obtained in his native county, after which he studied medicine at the Jefferson Medical College, Pa. from which he graduated in 1854. He began the practice of medicine in Bladensburg, Prince George's county, Md., where he remained util 1863, when he removed to Frederick, and has practiced his profession in this city, where he enjoyed a very large practice.
   In 1866 Dr. Smith married Miss Maria Lee Palmer, of Virginia, who, with four children, survive him. during his residence in this city Dr. Smith made a host of friends by his courteous and kindly manner and his truly christian charity. His skill as a physician is attested by hundreds of people who sought his aid during his long and successful practice. He was a member of the Catholic Benevolent Legion and of St. John's Catholic church. He is survived by Mrs. Smith and four sons -- Charles F., John Francis, William Meredith and Edward J.  Smith, all of Frederick. Two sisters, Misses Mary E. and Kate F. Smith also survive. His five brothers, among whom was Dr. Charles Smith, are all dead. The funeral will take place tomorrow morning at 10 o'clock. Mass will be sung at St. John's Catholic church. Interment will be made at St. John's cemetery.

Source: Death of a Physician (F. F. Smith Obituary) (Frederick, MD: Newspaper Unknown, 27 August 1900).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Reconnecting Across the Years

My great-uncle Mikula Papp and his family in 1932. The portrait was taken in Chust, in what is now the Ukraine. The man sitting on the right may be another great-uncle, Ivan Papp, but I am not sure. 

Mikula was the youngest of Ivan and Maria Tegze Papp's surviving children (the one who had no shoes). He and my grandfather Stefan corresponded for many years but after Stefan died in 1948 contact with the family was lost. When we went to Europe after the Berlin Wall fell we were reunited with my grandfather's family. My father and aunt met several first cousins, including Mikula's two surviving children.

His daughter, Maria, and two of her sons were still living in the Ukraine. They were an amazing family - welcoming us with open arms with only a day or two's notice. We asked there, as we asked everyone we visited, if they had pictures we could see. His daughter pulled a photo album from the shelf and showed us an entire album of empty pages. Only old fashioned small white corners outlined where the photographs had been.

Mikula had been arrested by Stalin's men one day after World War II and sent away. He was gone for many years, but did survive and return home. The family's photographs were destroyed (it wasn't clear to me whether the men who took Uncle Mikula destroyed them or the family themselves, out of fear) but forty years later they still had the album. Despite the scars Maria and her family lived and continue to live full and successful lives. One son is a surgeon, another is a dentist and the third, a Moscow-trained classical musician, emigrated to Mexico where he is a concert violinist.

Maria's younger brother, Laszlo, had settled in Budapest and joined us there for dinner. He looked very like his father. Laszlo would have been one of the two younger boys in this picture. He had worked as a bureaucrat in Hungary for many years and was retired when we came. For my father and aunt to meet these first cousins more than seventy years after their father left Europe was a gift we will treasure always.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Finding Father - Thankful Thursday

I have spent many years researching my Meredith in-laws and have come to care deeply about many of them. I have an especially dear place in my heart for Father William Meredith, the younger half-brother of my husband's great great-grandmother.

From the first references to him as a young child in 1830s family letters to newspaper articles about him when he was serving as a priest in St. Louis in the 1870s every mention has been full of warmth and caring. When I realized he had been in St. Louis, where I live and served as the first pastor at a church, where I have worshiped, I began searching for a portrait of him. The Redemptorist order he was a member of is no longer headquartered in St. Louis; the church where he presided burned recently and most of it's records have been stored. I've not been able to find a photograph or painting.

So I was beyond thrilled when going through the papers of his niece and my husband's great-grandmother to find several documents. There was a lengthy obituary, a transcription of his tombstone, and there was this.

I'll admit to a loud gasp and a tear or two. Dancing ensued. There isn't any logical reason why he, and now this photograph, mean so much to me, but I will be forever grateful that I had the chance to pour through those papers, open up an envelope and see this face. 

I believe the writing on front says "your gruncle Wm. V. Meredith, C.S.S.R." The photograph was taken by A. J. Fox (205 North Fifth Street, St. Louis), perhaps in 1878 when Fr. Meredith celebrated his 25th anniversary as a priest. He's a little heavier than I expected, definitely posed and formal. But his eyes seem kind and his face gentle. He looks well, and strong, though he died in 1884 in New Orleans, only a few years after this portrait was taken. 

Having found Uncle Father Willie Meredith, I intend to keep him near, to guide and encourage me, even to share a celebratory jig upon occasion! By all accounts he's a very good man to have around.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First Flight - Wordless Wednesday

My grandmother, Anna Pereksta Popp just before taking her first airplane ride, c. 1961. She was flying from upstate New York to the West Coast to see her son and his family.