Sunday, August 28, 2011

Jacob Blickensderfer and a Cowcatcher

I used to have a site on GeoCities dedicated the Blickensderfer family history, but it was lost when Yahoo shut down that site.  I had a scanned picture from a newspaper that showed Jacob and another engineer sitting on a cowcatcher at the front of a steam locomotive.  That was cropped from an antiquated, Xerox copied, scanned, article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, dated Sunday, May 26, 1929. The inset on the article reads:
 "SIXTY YEARS AGO -- This photograph was taken at Argenta, Nev., three months before the last spike was driven in the first trans-continental railroad. The gentlemen seated on the cowcatcher of the engine are United States commissioners inspecting the road. (International Newsreel)" 
But the gentlemen were not identified in that story.  Research answered some of the questions, and located a beautiful copy of the photo:

With grateful appreciation to Don Snoddy at Union Pacific Corporation for the above graphic (scanned from their copyrighted glossy) -- a cropping shows a good close up of Jacob Blickensderfer (on the left) and Mr. Clement, February, 1869 at Argenta, Nevada.

According to family tradition, Jacob chose to ride on the cowcatcher, saying something to the effect that the rails could not be inspected from inside the car. The photo lends credence to that story.

I would love to include that day's transcription from Jacob's diaries to complete the story.  Would welcome that information if it's available.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Five of Nine - John and Lella Harrison's Children

Remember that 1917 photo of John and Lella Harrison -- if not, click here.  This one has the three children not yet born in that photo. 

I know the photo was taken in Bakersfield, California, but I'm not certain the year. Perhaps one of the cousins from the front row will remember.  I do know that we were not there.  We moved to Oklahoma in 1951, but if that's the year, there's one person missing from this photo that should be there.  No notes on the back, so there's no other help on the date.

And, I'll not be identifying my cousins, the children in front. They may have convinced people they are much, much younger! If they wish to add comments that identify themselves, feel free to do so.

Number 1 here is William Vaughn Harrison (1915-1999), fifth child born to John and Lella.  Behind him is his wife, Marjorie Ellen (Bloomfield) Harrison (1921-1998).

Number 2 in the photo is Opal Elizabeth (Harrison) McIntire (1920-1997), one of those not appearing in the 1917 photo.  Her husband Murray McIntire (?-1988) in front of her.

Number 3 is Willis Ray Harrison (1927-2005), John and Lella's youngest child.  Behind him is his wife, Mary Ellen (Leaver) Harrison.

Number 4 is Johnnye Marie Harrison -- and I'm not about to give her birth date!

Number 5 is the third son, Harold Lamb Harrison (1911-1983) and his wife, Margaret (Reeves) Harrison is behind him.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lella Belle (Lamb) Harrison (1885-1942)

When I think of Lookout Mountain in Tennessee, I think of this photograph of my grandmother, not the one below from 1935. I don't know the men there with her, but she was a brave young lady, wasn't she.

My maternal grandmother was born 13 March 1885 in Bledsoe county, Tennessee, daughter of Euclid Houston Lamb (1855-1913) and Martha A. Boyd (1855-1904). Lella had been baptized in the Church of Christ, to which her family belonged in Tennessee. She joined the Baptist Church in Friendship, Jackson county, Oklahoma. According to a tape made by her sister-in-law, Mayme Harrison McReynolds, her profession of faith included a statement that the decision to join the Baptist Church was hers and in no way was pressed upon her by her husband -- who was raised Baptist.

My mother did not have letters from grandmother so I never saw her handwriting, until I was working on the 1920 census. The Jackson county census holding my mother's family was written so neatly, all the information filled in, no ditto marks, so I looked for the taker's name: Mrs. John H. Harrison. I could take the information filled in on her family for gospel!!

Although this photo had a crease in it you can see why John Harrison was interested by this young lady when they met while riding in the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee. Soon he wooed and won her hand and they were married 17 March, 1907. He soon left her, headed for Oklahoma to homestead in the panhandle, where their first son, Edwin Houston, was born in January of 1908. Here's a photo of Edwin and his grandmother's first cousin, Margaret Turner. Margaret lived with Martha (Boyd) Lamb and helped raise her children, then moved to Oklahoma to help Lella with hers.

I'll write more later about Lella and her children, but what I write I learned from others. Lella died nine months after I was born and all I've learned from her came from memories. To know her was to love her, and that came from my father, who loved her as much as his own mother. He made promises to her before I was born that he kept until the day he died. Can anyone say that about their own mother-in-law?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Christmas Present

We're on a limited income and our budget was hit with three operations this last year -- multiple doctor visits. What could I offer to my grandchildren, whose needs, much less wants, surpassed what we had available?

History!! Every family has some. I took poems that my father and my father-in-law had written. While searching for those, I found a journal my mother kept and I had stored away. A scroll my father had used to write down some of his memories, too. Then a cousin provided interviews she had done with three aunts in their 90's. Same questions, same family, three sisters discussing their childhood and views as wide as east is from west.

Added a page of explanation, interspersed some pictures here and there, covered some stories from my in-laws early marriage and history on the son they lost in World War II. Instead of a few poems, the binder grew into a small book.

I bought plastic pages that fit in the binder that will hold photos and notes that accumulate over the years. And, next year I must add more to the story.

My suggestion would be to start on yours now.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Richard and Charleeny (Gage) Holley

Every once in a while I do a Google search on some of my genealogy names. Just in case something turns up. And, every once in a while, it does.

Sometimes I forget from time to time, too. Today I found a clue that I noted sometime back and either didn't note the followup, or didn't do it.

It's a reminder to document better and create a research plan. I should have added to such a plan a follow up on the website for Mount Carmel Baptist Church,, where I found:

"Charlie Holley – Charlie might be Charleenly (or Charlsey) Gage, who married Richard R. Holley (brother of Sion Holley) in Rusk County 18 Feb 1868; joined Zion Hill in 1879; Sion Holley married Mary Elizabeth Holleman, daughter of Green Wilson Holleman."

"Marriages of Rusk County" compiled by Mrs. Frances Terry Ingemire. Lists: Page 44 - Richard R. Holley m. Charleenly Gage 18 Feb. 1868. and we find them on the 1870 Census in Precinct 5, Rusk County with their son, Frank. Again in Rusk County in 1880 with sons Frank and Charley.

Richard Rowe Holley served with his brother, Sion, in Company H of Texas' 19th Infantry. Unfortunately, his gravestone shows that he served in Company F of Alabama's 11th Cavalry -- this was a different R. R. Holley. Confusion occurred because Richard was born in Alabama and they had the same initials.

"A History of Rusk County Texas" by Dorman H. Winfrey, 1961, Pages 156-159
Muster roll for Rusk County includes G. W. Holleman age 40, S. Holly age 32 and R. R. Holly age 21. Capt. Harvey A. Wallace, organized and left for the front July 28, 1862. Page 43/44 - fought at Mufreesboro 12/31/1862, Chickamauga 9/19/1863, Atlanta, Mobile, Mansfield, LA 4/8/1864.

Richard died in Polk County, Arkansas and is buried near his brother Sion in the Witherspoon Cemetery near Vandervoort, Arkansas. According to census records, Charleenly Gage most likely was born in Alabama, but I have no information on her death.

Family tradition gave them the two sons and one daughter, Mattie, but to date I haven't found her in records.

I have a query in to find out of there were other family members who were also members of the Mount Carmel Baptist Church.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rootsweb World Connect Databases

My 'Welcome' mentions my old Yahoo! pages that were wiped out. I created web pages with a neat program that put in links for parents/children and to source notes on documentation. It help me connect with distant relatives doing a search on unique family names.

I've found a home for a similar display of the pedigree and family groups in Rootsweb's World Connect. Users upload databases and the data is displayed in a group sheet format with links to children and parents. It is also displayed as pedigree charts, which makes for interesting viewing.

Some lines seem to go on for centuries. Others come to a screeching halt -- in my case, I'm certain, indicating a particular line changed their name to protect the guilty, or just never paid taxes.

My database on Rootsweb can be found under (of all things!) Blick's Family Workbook. How appropriate!! Please stop by. There are thousands of names there. I'm just getting started here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

James Madison Holley (1877-1960)

James Madison Holley (1 November 1877-18 February 1960) was the fifth child born to Sion and Mary Elizabeth (Holleman) Holley. He was the first to be born in Polk county, Arkansas after the family moved there in 1877. He shows up as two-year-old Madison on the 1880 census, Ozark township.

Pages from Sion's Bible show his full name as James Madison and gives his birth date as 1 November 1877. His nickname was Matt, and both family and friends called him Uncle Matt. Even we grandchildren were caught between Grampa Holley and Uncle Matt.

In 1899 he filed for homestead in Sec 4, Twp 85, R32W, registered on Page 108, Book 67 in State Land Office Records for Polk County, Arkansas. While farming, he also worked at the saw and grist mills owned by his brother-in-law, Sam Witherspoon.

On 12 November 1899 he married Lydia Jane Walden (11 March 1881-15 March 1961). There was a fifty-cent revenue stamp on the copy, and a ten-cent revenue stamp on the certificate of marriage. That document tells us that J. M. Holley of Vandervoort, Polk, Arkansas, aged 22 and Miss Lydia Walden of Vandervort, aged 18, were married by S E. Choate.

When the 1900 Census was taken they were living on their homestead with Matt's brother, Mike Treece, age 9. By 1909, they had four children -- Ocie Irene, Grace Helen, Lester Ellis and Elza Monroe. Between 1909 and 1913 Matt and family moved by train to Beckham county, Oklahoma with Alvin Phillips family, son-in-law to his oldest sister, Susan Frances (Holley) Witherspoon. Their fifth child, Elmer Jerry, was born there.

The family eventually settled in Victory, Jackson county, Oklahoma, moving from Beckham county in a covered wagon. During one reunion, the trip was discussed by Ocie and Grace, who remembered the move during their teen years.

In Victory, Matt opened a blacksmith/garage with his brother-in-law, James Monroe "Bud" Minyard, married to Nancy Jane Holley. Two other brothers lived nearby, John Wilson, with his wife Josetta Merchant, and George Edward (known as Uncle Ed) who never married.

Lydia, known by all as Aunt Liddie, was a midwife, serving the Victory community for decades. Matt and Liddie attended the Victory Methodist Church. Although services were held each Sunday, there was not always a minister attending. In the 1950's the small frame church held mixed congregations, serving the entire community.

Farming and the blacksmith shop provided for the family. There is a tennet from that blacksmith shop donated to the Museum of the Western Prairie, Altus, Oklahoma, by his son, Elmer. A three-hook grapple and ice tongs made by Matt in the shop are in the possession of his granddaughter.

Both Matt and Liddie, and many other relatives of their generation, were buried in the Victory Cemetery.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Clarence Melville and Emma Devera (Fredrick) Byington

Clarence Melville Byington was born 14 Jan 1900 in North Salem, Westchester county, New York to Melville Joseph (1864-1922) and Jennie Hotaling (Tompkins) (1872-1913) Byington. Jennie died when Clarence was only thirteen and he spent a lot of time with his aunt, Kitt (Katherine May Tompkins) and his eldest brother, Arthur Harrison Byington, who owned farms in New York and in Michigan.

The 1920 Westchester county, New York, census shows Clarence listed as a chauffeur, public bus, living at home with his 65 year old windowed father, Melville J. Byington.

While living with Harrison, he met his future wife, Emma Devera Fredrick, their housemaid, daughter of James Leroy (1867-1949) and Ida Anntonette (Brown) (1874-1921) Fredrick .

Clarence and Emma married 21 March 1921 in Monroe, Michigan. Emma died 19 January 1941 in Maumee, Lucas county, Ohio. Clarence remarried a widow, Hollis Francis (Kosier) Bauman (1917-2007). He died 22 December 1982 in Toledo, Lucas county, Ohio.

Clarence and Emma are buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Maumee.

Not all of their children are listed here, as many are living:

Catherine Lucille, 13 March 1922 – 2006
Ralph Melville, 27 Nov 1925 - 2007
Kenneth R., 1927 - 1927
Clark Jacob, 1929 – 1929
James Leroy 16 Dec 1934 - 2007

Sion Holley (1830-1909) and Family

Sion is on the bottom row, left. My grandfather, James Madison (Uncle Matt) is on the top row, right. Two of Sion’s children are not in this photo – which was taken about 1900. There really isn't a circle around Bernice Carolyn -- a combination of clothing gives that appearance.

Sion Holley, as we spell it today, was born in Alabama in May of 1830. The month and year come from census records. While we have his Bible with birth dates for his children, his birth date is not given.

Sion was the oldest of seven surviving children born to John and Elizabeth Holly / Holley. He was born in South Carolina about 1797 and she in North Carolina about 1804. Again, the dates are from census records. We know they were in Tuscaloosa county, Alabama by 1832. John filed patents on land no less than three times. (Huntsville 15S, 8W, 35, 80.75 – 1832; 15S, 8W, 34, 40.37 – 1834; 17S, 9W, 3, 79.915 -- 1839.)

Sion is listed with his parents in the Tuscaloosa county 1850 census. He married Sarah Ann Gowen on 19 October 1853 in Lowndes county, Mississippi, on the Alabama / Mississippi border, just a county away from Tuscaloosa. We couldn’t find the family in the 1860 census, but find where Private S. Holly, 32, Mt. Enterprise, enlisted in Captain Harvey A. Wallace's Co. H 19th TX Infantry organized between May 4 - July 28, 1862. It also lists R. Holly, Sion’s brother and R Gowen, his brother-in-law.

"Report of Indigent Soldier's Families & Dependents in Rusk County - 1864-1865" Shows "Holly, Sivin" with two dependents 23 Feb 1864. Sarah and three older children died of “a fever” prior to this date. There are several unmarked graves in the Holleman cemetery outside Mount Enterprise in Rusk county, Texas. It would be conjecture, but they are possibly buried there. We do know that G. W. Holleman served in the same Co. H 19th Texas Infantry Sion, his brother Richard and Green Wilson Holleman returned to Rusk county. Robert Gowen died in Rondo, Arkansas in 1862.

For a while, Sion’s surviving children, Susan Frances and Benjamin L., were cared for by G W Holleman’s second daughter, Mary Elizabeth. Mary was twenty-four years younger than Sion, born 20 September 1854 in McNairy county, Tennessee, and only fourteen when she married him on 28 April 1867 in Rusk county, Texas.

We don’t find them in the 1870 census – but find his parents John and Elizabeth with his son Benjamin in the Rusk county census. Family tradition says that when Sarah and the three children died, Sion was given leave from the army, picked up Susan and Benjamin, and took them by horseback to his parents in Alabama. That would have to be before 1864. Before 1870, the family moved to Rusk county.

Sion and Mary remained near Mt. Enterprise for ten years. Their fifth child, James Madison, was born in Polk county, Arkansas, where Sion and Mary lived for the rest of their lives. Mary Elizabeth died 27 February 1899 and is buried in the Witherspoon Cemetery at Vandervoort, Polk county, Arkansas.

In the 1900 census Sion is listed under Samuel Witherspoon's family, as Father-in-law, White, Male born May 1830, age 70, Widowed, born in Alabama. Sion died 3 September, 1909 and is also buried in the Witherspoon Cemetery.

Sion and Sarah Ann Gowen had the following children:

Elsbury, born 11 Oct 1854
Monroe, born 22 July 1856
Elizabeth, born 15 May 1858
Susan Frances, born 11 Oct 1860 – married Samuel Witherspoon
Benjamin, born 24 May 1861 – married Jimmie Adeline Etchison

Sion and Mary Elizabeth Holleman had the following children:

William Lonzo, born 23 Aug 1868 -- married Julie McBride; Frances Moore
John Wilson, born 24 Feb 1870 – married Josetta Merchant
Nancy Jane, born 21 Feb 1873 – married James Monroe (Bud) Minyard
Mary Catherine (Cassie), born 1 Jan 1875 – married H. Perry Stanford
James Madison, bornr 1 Nov 1877 – married Lydia Jane Walden
Martha Esibell, born 1 Feb 1880 – married Frank M. Attebery
David Jerdin, born 15 Oct 1881 – married Ada McCoy; Mary Jane Scott
Bernice Carolyn, born 4 Feb 1884 – married Samuel H. Stevenson; Rumsey E. Byrd; Carl Higgins
George Edward, born 14 April 1888 – never married
Mike Treece, born 12 Nov 1890 – married Annie Dupree
Lulu Holley, born 9 Aug 1893 – married Ed Tyler

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

William Anderson and Nancy Elizabeth (Vaughn) Harrison

William Anderson Harrison was born July 23, 1850, near Jonesboro, Washington county, Tennessee. On September 15, 1870, he married Nancy Elizabeth Vaughn, who was born in Cherokee county, North Carolina.

William's parents were Henderson (1823-1874) and Elzabeth (Cox) (1822-1897) Harrison, both born and died in Tennessee.

Nancy's parents were Dr. John (1821-1890) and Fannie (1820-1890) (Wheeler) Vaughn, borth born in North Carolina, both died in Bledsoe county, Tennessee.

William and Nancy's children were:
Afred Henry 1871 (stillborn)
Thomas Franklin 1874
Rachel Matilda 1876
Ida Francis 1878
John Henry 1880
James Anderson 1882
Flora Jerusha 1884
William Carpenter 1889 (stillborn)
Joseph Benjamin 1889
Minnie May Elizabeth 1891
Claude Columbus 1893
Mayme Eulemma 1895

In 1880 they were living in Rhea county, Tennessee, next door to Nancy's parents. By 1900 they had moved to a farm in Bledsoe county.

Nancy's health was frail and about 1905 they moved from Tennessee to a drier climate, Jackson county in southwestern Oklahoma. We know they made a trip back to Tennessee in 1825 for there was a photograph of William seated in the audience of the Scopes trial held July 10 to 21 in 1925.

Both William and Nancy were members of a Baptist church in Bledsoe county and moved their membership to the First Baptist Church of Olustee.

William died of cancer May 11, 1933 at their farm near Olustee in Jackson county. Nancy died May 11, 1939, also of cancer. Both are buried in the Olustee Cemetery in Olustee, Jackson, Oklahoma.