I love all things genealogical. This (in my opinion) includes old newspaper articles, family trees, memoirs, histories, cemeteries and last (but not least) obituaries. For a lot of us who aren’t particularly religious, death is scary in its finality. I can only hope to live on in my good deeds, my offspring, or the occasional joke I’ve told. Or even better, the ridiculous things I have done. More people are remembered by their mishaps than the good they bestowed upon their fellow man. Poor Bill Clinton — will be remembered by an anecdote involving a cigar.
Enough said. Below is a collection of obituaries that I culled today from online sources, including “Google” and http://www.genealogybank.com
I’m still tracing my Pennsylvania coal mining roots. The Engle family and the Thomas family joined when Charles F. Engle and Anna May Thomas married in 1897. They were married in Taylor, Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania. The Engles were originally from Germany and the Thomas family was from Wales. Anna’s father’s John Thomas had to sign for her as she was underage. Charles Frederick Engle was my biological great grandfather, born in Pennsylvania in 1874. Anna May Thomas was my biological great grandmother, born in Pennsylvania in 1879.
I’ve had a hard time trying to trace the Thomas side because their names were so common. I found them all listed on the 1880 Federal Census.
Please note that the father, John, was a coal miner. My Great Grandmother, Anna Thomas Engle, is 9 months old at the time of the census.
If you think all of the old documents were this easy to read, please think again. All of the original records were hand written. Patient volunteers have generously given their time and skills to index the records and to make them digitally available.
Below is what the original 1880 Federal Census shows for the Thomas Family.
I have tried to trace the family forward, but the 1890 Federal Census was destroyed in a fire in Washington, D.C. in 1921. The first I can find the family again was in the 1900 census. I found Anna and Charles Engle (married) and Anna’s sister, Gwennie, living with them. I also found William. I haven’t been able to find the parents, John and Mary, or the boy James.
Something brought me back to the 1880 census and I noticed that James was listed as working in the mines. Because I couldn’t find him again in the 1900 census, I wondered if something had happened to him.
The mine accident reports have all been digitized and are easy to find on the internet. I did a quick search and found a listing for a James Thomas, age 14, who died in an 1884 mine accident. I can’t be positive that this is my relative, but the ages fit. His age was listed as 9 in the 1880 census and his age was listed as 14 in the 1884 report — he may have had a birthday.
I will keep searching to find out if this is the same James Thomas. I defy anyone to say that they had a crappy childhood in comparison to these little kids working underground in the mines.
I urge everyone to take up genealogy because it is an easy and personal way to learn history. The stories become your stories and mean more because it happened to your family.
R.I.P. little James Thomas.
This home was built by Aaron Kelley (son of Ezekiel) on the Kelley Homestead south of Hillsboro, Ohio in 1862/3.
Below is the lineage back to Ezekiel —
Ezekiel Kelley, born 1771 Maryland – died 1858 Ohio (father unknown)
son of Ezekiel —
Aaron Kelley, born 1817 Ohio – died 1893 Ohio
son of Aaron —
John Weller Kelley, born 1845 Ohio – died 1931 Nebraska
son of John —
Forrest Aaron Kelley, born 1878 Iowa – died 1945 Kansas
son of Forrest —
Robert Wilson Kelley, born 1912 Kansas – died 1977 Missouri
Below was Copied from The Highland Press, Hillsboro, Ohio
9/10/2012 11:22:00 AM
Southern Ohio Genealogical Society to conduct program on Ezekiel Kelley and Troutwine Cemetery
Thursday, Sept. 20 will be the first fall program of the Southern Ohio Genealogical Society.
The guest speaker will be Howard Kelly of Webertown, a community just west of Lynchburg in Highland County. Howard will be sharing the story of Ezekiel Kelley and the Troutwine Cemetery.
Howard’s ancestor, Ezekiel Kelley, first came to Highland County (circa 1797) as a meat hunter for the survey crew of Nathaniel Massie. Massie was one of the first surveyors in the Northwest Territory.
The hunters led the party, followed by the surveyors, the chainmen, the markers then the pack horses with the baggage. Also, about 200 yards in the rear of the others, a man called the spy made sure the party would not be attacked in the rear.
Ezekiel Kelley was among the party that made the first surveys of the territory that is now Highland County. He received $10.50 for his services.
Ezekiel homesteaded on Ballard Survey No. 2,352 some four miles southeast of Hillsboro, near New Market. A burial plot on the farm was selected when a member of the family died in 1806. Today, the cemetery on the hill overlooking the old home site is enclosed in a cement wall.
Howard Kelley, speaker, has also done extensive work at the Troutwive Cemetery which is located near Webertown just north of Route 50 near the Brown and Clinton county lines.
The land for this cemetery – one acre – was originally deeded March 7, 1847 to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Then again on March 7, 1873, another deed conveyed the “public burying ground” to the Trustees of Dodson Township.
Howard Kelley has been building muzzle-loading rifles since the early 1960s and also builds fiddles, banjos and is a fiddle player himself.
Below is Information on the Kelley Cemetery, copied from ancestry.com
And if you want to see who is buried there, go to http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&CRid=41669&CScn=kelly+cemetery&CScntry=4&CSst=37&
Name: Kelley Cemetery Map No. 122Location: Liberty Township Page: 261Remarks: This cemetery was in the KELLEY name for over 150 years. On July 18, 1806 Ezekiel KELLEY, the pioneer from Maryland, bought 100 acres from Henry MASSIE, recorded in Transcribed Book 11, page 20, Highland County Deed Records. His son Aaron KELLEY lived and died on this farm. M.G. and Esie Kelley owned the farm in 1916, and Florence D. KELLEY, their daughter-in-law, owned it until 1967.On June 28, 1841, in Original Book 9, page 83, Highland County, Deed Records, Ezekiel KELLEY and Catherine his wife conveyed to James KELLY, William LONG and Andrew HOTT the following described real estate “for a burying ground anf for no lives”. On July 27, 1882, in Original Book 59, page 423, Aaron KELLY conveyed to James KELLY, William LONG and Andrew HOTT ” for a burial ground 20 feet off of the west side of the grave yard on my farm in Little Rocky Fork in Liberty Township in Highland County, Ohio, the graveyard being described in deed date 1841 of Ezekiel KELLY to same parties…containing 20 ft off the west end thereof. “This cemetery is enclosed by a cement wall and broad cement steps as a stile give easy access into the cemetery. All stones copied. Copied word for word out of the “CEMETERY INSCRIPTIONS OF HIGHLAND COUNTY, OHIO, Complied by David N. McBride, Attorney at Law and Jane N. McBride, Past Regent, Waw-Wil-Way Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution Past President, General Duncan McArthur Chapter, Daughters of 1812, National Society Daughters of the American Colonists.
Genetically, I’m almost completely from the British Isles — I’m Welsh, Irish, Scottish and English. And since I’ve lived in both England and Jamaica, I ask you, why wouldn’t I love pirate stories? This past year I’ve been on a pirate kick and have read four very different swashbuckling books. Two were nonfiction and two were fiction.
First, I read Michael Crichton’s fiction book, “Pirate Latitudes”. It was set in the Caribbean around 1665 and tells the tale of how English “privateers” went after the Spanish ships carrying gold from the New World back to Spain. Nothing new here. Most considered themselves patriots in that they fought a guerrilla war against Spain and the Spanish colonies.
Crichton being the genius that he was, R.I.P., adds enough historical facts to this story to make it a plausible tale. And of course he adds his own wild ideas, some humor, some sex, some rum and away we go! The captain of the Cassandra, Charles Hunter, is the very manly hero. When Hunter hears that a Spanish galleon full of gold has docked at a nearby island, he is quickly at work putting together a motley crew of characters in preparation for attack. I won’t spoil it, but it is worth the read. I would recommend it as a summer beach read, especially if you can hear the surf breaking against the shore.
Second, I read a fantastic nonfiction book titled, “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean: How a Generation of Swashbuckling Jews Carved Out an Empire in the New World in their Quest for Treasure, Religious Freedom — and Revenge”, by Edward Kritzler.
Edward Kritzler spent a lot of time in Jamaica researching his book using historical documents preserved there in the national archives. A well known Jewish Jamaican, Ainsley Henriques, provided some of the funding for his research. Here is a link to “Pieces of the Past” from the “Jamaican Gleaner” (a Jamaican newspaper) about the Jews in Jamaica.
This article is a fascinating read by itself. I recommend reading it as it compliments the book, “Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean”.
After being expelled from Spain during the late 1400s (during the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella), the Jews that were able to leave lost everything. Those that ventured to the New World found revenge in piracy against the Spanish by attacking the Spanish ships. This is a chapter of Jewish history that has been overlooked. The book also does a good job of explaining this period in Spanish history and the diaspora in general. Again, I am not going to copy the story, as Edward Kritzler does much a better job of it than I ever could.
“Jewish Pirates”, needs a bit more attention than you could give it at the beach. Still, it is wild and woolly enough to keep you engrossed. It is what I’d call a very fun history book.
Third I read, “If a Pirate I Must Be. . .The True Story of “Black Bart”, King of the Caribbean Pirates”, by Richard Sanders.
Again, this is nonfiction. Mr. Sanders goes way beyond the mere history of “Black Bart”, the pirate. The book does a great job of explaining shipping at that time, slaving ships, the Royal Navy, tropical disease and so much more. Again, it is a really fun history book. The book also deals with Black Bart’s sexuality and perhaps reveals the origination of the greeting, “hello, sailor!”
This could be a good read for a cruise, as the ocean as a backdrop would add so much ambiance. Just don’t lose yourself and start singing, “yo, ho, ho” at the bar or the other passengers may make you walk the plank.
Last, I reread, “Treasure Island”, by Robert Louis Stevenson. If you have a Kindle from amazon, you can download it for free (which I did). Thanks, amazon!
This book was so much better than I remembered. It’s a classic tale that has never lost its appeal. And, of course, the hero is the boy Jim Hawkins. The beauty is seeing how our Jim tricks and defeats the horrible Long John Silver. It is full of adventure, the silliness of adults, and lots of “pirate talk”.
Again, what a fun book to read at the beach! Or under the covers at night with a flashlight, like when you were a child.
So — that’s it for pirates for now. And, if you noticed, I never mentioned Johnny Depp even once. . .ooops.
Reading old newspapers online is what I call great entertainment. Our newspapers now are very cautious about what they print due to our litigious society. The old newspapers were more like our modern day “Globe” or “Enquirer”, with the exception that Photo Shop hadn’t been invented yet.
The article below wouldn’t have made the newspaper now because no coroner would want to be labeled this inept.
Below is a bizarre rhyming obituary for a baby. Would any newspaper now print that little Jerry died from dysentery? Or old man Fancher died from cancer? There have been some improvements in the press.
The following would be a cheery addition to the “Weddings” section of the paper.
Below is An Honest Obituary from 1916.
And finally, some very unusual causes of death found in various old newspapers.
On 24 Nov 2012, I wrote about Samuel B. Romick, who was Granny Kelley’s father. I was so fascinated by his obituary that I ordered his Military Records from The National Archives. On the page titled “Muster and Descriptive Roll of Veteran Volunteers”, it describes Samuel as a twenty year old clerk born in Harrison, Ohio. He had black eyes, black hair and a dark complexion. He was 5 ft. 6 inches tall. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of him.
Below is a paragraph from his obituary —
“He was born December 21, 1841 in Harrisville, Ohio. At the very beginning of the Civil War he enlisted serving in the army of the Potomac. Being captured at the battle of Stone River, he experienced and endured for several months the terrors, hardships and scanty food of Libby prison. He was in the famous March of the sea under General Sherman, and could fully appreciate the battle song, “Marching Through Georgia.” In his last days he seemed to live over again the scenes, struggles, and victories of that testing period and when he could no longer speak he frequently gave the soldiers countersign.”
The remarks: Prisoner of War. Captured at Stone River, Dec. 31, 1862. The Company Muster Roll states that by May, 1863, he was again present with his Company. The records don’t say how he was released from Libby Prison and he may have been able to escape. But his release was a year before the famous Libby Prison escape of 1864.
The Libby Prison Escape
Richmond, Virginia’s Libby Prison was one of the most infamous jails of the Civil War, but it’s also the site of one of the conflict’s most daring escapes. In 1864, a group of 15 Union soldiers under the direction of Col. Thomas E. Rose and Major A.G Hamilton managed to tunnel through the prison’s basement to a nearby vacant lot. This was no easy task, as Libby’s basement was a dark and vermin-infested cellar known to the men as “Rat Hell,” but after seventeen days of digging, they reached a nearby tobacco shed. From here, 109 soldiers managed to escape into the city of Richmond and make a run for the nearby Union lines. 48 of the men were recaptured, and 2 drowned in a nearby river, but 59 managed to make it to the safety of the Federal army. Their escape remains the most successful prison break of the Civil War.
The National Park Service site on The Civil War has detailed information on all of the regiments. Below is Samuel’s regiment. He definitely saw a lot of action as he enlisted in 1861 and didn’t muster out until July 17, 1865. In May of 1864, he deserted his company but didn’t quit. He spent the rest of the Civil War working as a “nurse” in a General Field Hospital, Dept. of the Cumberland, Huntsville, Alabama.
“UNION OHIO VOLUNTEERS
69th Regiment, Ohio Infantry
Organized at Hamilton, Ohio, and Camp Chase, Ohio, November, 1861, to April, 1862. Moved to Camp Chase, Ohio, February 19, 1862, and duty there till April, 1862. Moved to Nashville, Tenn., April 19-22, thence to Franklin, Tenn., May 1, and duty there till June 8. Attached to District of Nashville and Franklin, Unattached, Army of the Ohio, to September, 1862. 29th Brigade, 8th Division, Army of the Ohio, to November, 1862. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, Centre 14th Army Corps, Army of the Cumberland, to January, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 14th Army Corps, to October, 1863. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 14th Army Corps, to September, 1864. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 14th Army Corps, to November, 1864. 2nd Brigade, 1st Division, 14th Army Corps, to July, 1865.
Moved to Nashville, Tenn., June 8, 1862, thence to Murfreesboro, Tenn. Expedition to McMinnville and Pikesville June 12-20. Provost duty at Nashville till December. Expedition to Gallatin and action with Morgan August 13. Siege of Nashville September 12-November 7. Near Nashville November 5. Nashville and Franklin Pike December 14. Advance on Murfreesboro December 26-30. Battle of Stone’s River December 30-31, 1862, and January 1-3, 1863. Duty at Munfreesboro till June. Middle Tennessee or Tullahoma Campaign June 23-July 7. Occupation of Middle Tennessee till August 16. Passage of the Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee River, and Chickamauga (Ga.) Campaign August 16-September 22. Battle of Chickamauga September 19-21 (train guard during battle). Rossville Gap September 21. Siege of Chattanooga, Tenn., September 24-November 23. Orchard Knob November 23-24. Mission Ridge November 25. Graysville November 26. Duty at Rossville, Ga., till March, 1864. Veterans absent on Furlough March 16-May 11, rejoin at Buzzard’s Roost, Ga. Atlanta Campaign May to September. Demonstration on Rocky Faced Ridge May 8-11. Battle of Resaca May 14-15. Advance on Dallas May 18-25. Operations on line of Pumpkin Vine Creek and battles about Dallas, New Hope Church and Allatoona Hills May 25-June 5. Pickett’s Mills May 27. Operations about Marietta and against Kenesaw Mountain June 10-July 2. Pine Hill June 11-14. Lost Mountain June 15-17. Assault on Kenesaw June 27. Ruff’s Station, Smyrna Camp Ground, July 4. Chattahoochie River July 5-17. Peach Tree Creek June 19-20. Siege of Atlanta July 22-August 25. Utoy Creek August 5-7. Flank movement on Jonesboro August 25-30. Battle of Jonesboro August 31-September 1. Lovejoy Station September 2-6. Operations against Hood in North Georgia and North Alabama September 29-November 3. March to the sea November 15-December 10. Siege of Savannah December 10-21. Campaign of the Carolinas January to April, 1865. Near Cheraw, S. C., February 28. Taylor’s Hole Creek, Averysboro, N. C., March 16. Battle of Bentonville March 19-21. Occupation of Goldsboro March 24. Advance on Raleigh April 10-14. Occupation of Raleigh April 14. Bennett’s House April 26. Surrender of Johnston and his army. March to Washington, D. C., via Richmond, Va., April 29-May 19. Grand Review May 24. Moved to Louisville, Ky., June, and duty there till July. Mustered out July 17, 1865.
Regiment lost during service 5 Officers and 84 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 98 Enlisted men by disease. Total 187.”
My Granny Kelley (Mary Romick Kelley) had three sisters. Granny was the only sister who married. Granny (Mary) married Forrest Aaron Kelley in 1909. Nell, Lida and Edna chose to remain single and were “old maid school teachers” as they were called back then.
I have been working on putting together a “Page” family tree to include all of the family I gained through being adopted into a wonderful “Leave it to Beaver” type of family. Mom was never up making breakfast without being nicely dressed like June Cleaver. I was one lucky little “orphan” or “gutter snipe” in the words of the Willows Maternity Home. Ray & Harriett Page picked me up from The Willows on May 11, 1951.
Back to the Romick sisters — Nell (1874-1939), Lida (1887-1959), Edna (1889-1977) and Mary (1878-1963) were all trained as school teachers. There weren’t a lot of other choices back when they were young women.
The story from my mother (Harriett Kelley Page) was that Samuel B. Romick wasn’t an easy person. (By the way, my mom Harriett was named for her grandmother). Harriett Kenworthy Romick (Samuel’s wife) waited on him & he always took the best pieces of food first. Whether or not this had anything to do with his daughters deciding not to marry, we’ll never know. And perhaps that sister Nell preferred fishing & other male activities over crocheting or embroidery — who knows what those times were like for women who refused to fit the girly mode. Women had so few options. Or perhaps men shuddered at the other three sisters’ names. Mary is definitely a nicer name than Nell, Lida or Edna.
But I did find some interesting information about him today. If you have read any of my earlier posts, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of http://www.findagrave.com. I was searching for Samuel B. Romick and found that the volunteer who photographed the Romick grave site in Wheat Ridge, CO (a suburb of Denver) also went to the trouble of finding his obituary. That is so way beyond just being a volunteer. Thank you Wednesday, whoever you are.
Birth: Dec. 21, 1841
Death: Mar. 15, 1924, USA
Beaver City Times, Mar. 24, 1924 Samuel B. Romick, for fourteen years a resident and merchant of Beaver City, died at his home, 2205 ———————— 17, 1924. A man of good habits and strong ———— meaning of sickness until four years ago, when hardening of the arteries began sapping a life already extended well beyond the allotted span of “three score years and ten.”
He was born December 21, 1841 in Harrisville, Ohio. At the very beginning of the Civil War he enlisted serving in the army of the Potomac. Being captured at the battle of Stone River, he experienced and endured for several months the terrors, hardships and scanty food of Libby prison. He was in the famous March of the sea under General Sherman, and could fully appreciate the battle song, “Marching Through Georgia.” In his last days he seemed to live over again the scenes, struggles, and victoires of that testing period and when he could no longer speak he frequently gave the soldiers countersign.
He was in active business life for about fifty years, first in Iowa, and later in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, retiring four years ago at Onadarko, Okla.
He was married in September 1873, to Miss Harriet Kenworthy of Oskaloosa, Iowa, who survives him, and is joined in mourning by four daughters: Misses Nell, Lida, and Edna, of Denver, who are popular and efficient teachers in the city schools, and Mrs. Mary Kelley, wife of Dr. Forrest A. Kelley of Winfield, Kans. His only living brother, Philip A. Romick, of Onadarko, Okla., could not be present at the funeral.
He had long been a member of the Masonic order, and it was especially fitting that he should be laid to rest in the section of Crown Hill Burial Park reserved for Masons, where every new grave is an added consecration to a spot already made sacred by the “broken columns” of many of the brethren. Honor to his memory.
One of my brick walls is finding out what ever happened to William Wallace. William is my biological 4th great grandfather.
You are the daughter of Grace Adele
William Wallace and Margaret Brinkerhoff were married July 26, 1801 at the Trinity Episcopal Church (Wall Street), New York City.
Their records are searchable online. http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/history/registers
I found the date of William Wallace and Margaret Brinkerhoff’s marriage.
Husband Name: Wallace, William
Church Reported: Trinity
Minister: Moore, Benjamin
Wife Name: Brinckerhoff, Margaret
Gosh — wonder if Benjamin Moore had a paint factory as well as being an Episcopalian minister?
William and Margaret had two of their children baptized on January 18, 1804 at the Broadway and Seventy First Street Christ Episcopal Church, New York, New York. William Henry Wallace (born 17 August 1803) and Jane Ann Wallace (born 18 January 1804) were baptized that day.
I’ve found Margaret’s obituary but not William’s. I found a 1850 census listing Margaret Wallace living with daughter & son-in-law, so I suspect that William had died by that point. For the first time in the history of the United States census, the census workers of the 1850 census were instructed to record the names of every person in the household. Added to this, enumerators were presented with printed instructions, which account for the greater degree of accuracy compared with earlier censuses.
While searching on the free ancestry search site http://www.familysearch.org I found a William Wallace that meets the description that I had been searching for. He was born in Albany, NY in 1779. He died before the 1850 census — this one died on February 21, 1848. But — as I looked at the film, I saw that he died of Typhoid Fever and was buried in Potter’s Field. Because I knew that William Wallace was a staunch Episcopalian and had a family, I immediately discounted this record because I knew he wouldn’t have been buried in a Potter’s Field.
BUT — today I was reading a book titled “The Graveyard Shift, a Family Historian’s Guide to New York City Cemeteries”, writted by Carolee Inskeep.
In her introduction (page xiv) she writes,
“Please keep an open mind about where your ancestors are buried. New Yorkers turn up in the least expected places. Some wealthy New Yorkers are buried in the “potter’s field” because they died of contagious disease.”
Perhaps this is William Wallace, especially if he did die of Typhoid Fever. I have also found records where Margaret Wallace was baptized as an adult in the Baptist Church, in the Hudson River. Her love of the Baptist Church is mentioned in her obituary. Perhaps she never got comfortable with William’s Episcopalian ways.
From the “New York Herald, NY, NY” on Monday, January 14, 1861