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Patj's Stories & Genealogy

Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Daniel McGlaughlin American Revolutionary Soldier 02 March 1777 to 09 December 1779 (Virginia)

                                   Pertaining To Daniel McLaughlin - Revolutionary Patriot & Soldier

Hampshire County Courthouse Romney, West Virginia Wills FHL Film # 1853709

Early Hampshire County Wills (Index) FHL Film # 1853710
Daniel McLaughlin 1830 Will No. 417 in Index
At a court held for Hampshire County the 15th day of February 1830 This last will and testament of Daniel McLaughlin, dc'd was presented in the court and proved by the oaths of Solomon Parker and William F. Taylor witnesses thereto and ordered recorded and on the motion of William McLaughlin the Executor therein named who -- made oath according to law -- certificate is granted him for obtaining a probate thereof in due form giving security whereupon he with Solomon Parker and William F. Taylor his securities entered into and acknowledged Bond in the penalty of Five thousand dollars conditioned for his due and faithful administration of the said testators estate.
Teste, John B. White, Clerk

In The Name of God Amen, I Daniel McLaughlin of the county of Hampshire and State of Virginia being of sound mind and disposing memory for which I thank Almighty God do make and publish this my last will and Testament in manner and form following (That is to say) First I give and bequeath unto my beloved son Daniel McLaughlin my black man Ned. I also give and bequeath to my beloved daughter Anner my slave Milley and her child and their increase (if any) also her choice of aney of the Horse Creatures I may die possessed of also a side-saddle and bridle also her choice of aney two of the Feather beds bedding and furniture belonging to the same, I also give and bequeath to my beloved daughter Anner two cows and two calves such as she may chuse of those I die possessed of, I also give and bequeath to my beloved daughter Anner all the Lands on the east side of the road leading to the mouth of the south Branch, including the House and buildings in which I reside which lands adjoins the lands of Murphys heirs and others also one equal half of a wooded tract adjoining which I give and bequeath to her and her heirs and assigns forever. All the balance of the lands I possess I give and bequeath unto my beloved son Daniel McLaughlin his heirs and assigns forever. It is further my will and desire that all the rest of my property of every description shall be sold by my executor whom I shall hereafter name, on such credit as he shall think proper to be sold at public auction and after payment of all my just debts and funeral expenses the ballance to be equally divided between my six children, William McLaughlin, Berryman McLaughlin, Daniel McLaughlin, Anner McLaughlin, Elizabeth Chapman, and Mary Collins. And lastly I do hereby constitute and appoint my beloved son William McLaughlin sole executor of this my Last will and Testament hereby revoking all former and other wills and Testaments by me heretofore made. In witness whereof I have set my hand and affixed my seal This twenty first day of June in the year of our Lord Eighteen Hundred and Twenty Nine.

Daniel McGlaughlin §§
signed sealed and declared as the last will and Testament of the above named Daniel McLaughlin in our presence who desired us to witness the same. William Donaldson, Solomon Parker, Wm F. Taylor, ___ Taylor
Transcribed 07 April 2001 by Patricia A. Johnson, 5th great granddaughter of Daniel McLaughlin.


Daniel McGlaughlin
American Revolutionary Soldier
02 March 1777 to 09 December 1779
by Patricia Craig Johnson
August 2001


My 5th great grandfather is Daniel McGlaughlin. He is one of my favorite ancestors, and I have a good record of his military assignments, thanks to the Muster Rolls of the Continental Army. I would like to share some of what I have learned about Daniel.


Daniel was born to Daniel and Rachel Anner Disbury McGlaughlin on 10 February 1755. He was born on his father's farm on the South Branch of the Potomac River in Springfield, Hampshire County, Virginia. This part of Virginia (now West Virginia) is at the Northernmost boundary of Virginia, and just across the Potomac River from Allegheny County Maryland. It is, to this day, a very remote and hard to find area. In May 2001 I contacted a man that does photography of cemeteries in that area. He offered to take pictures of Daniel's tombstone and marker for me, but I had to give him directions. I contacted Tina McLaughlin of Oldtown, Maryland and she gave me the following directions. As I wrote these directions I could almost see in my mind, the place where Daniel McLaughlin was born and where he grew to manhood. The area is thickly wooded and the South Branch of the Potomac winds its way through the countryside like a lazy serpent. The McLaughlin farm remained in the family until 1919. Here is the way, if you should ever be in the neighborhood:


If you are coming from the Cumberland, MD area on Rt. 28 you will turn left in Springfield. There is a Green Spring/Oldtown sign there. There is a Ruritan bldg on the hill on the right immediately after you make the turn. Go to Green Spring where you make a right turn over the railroad tracks heading toward Oldtown. Turn right on Arnold Stickley Rd. The cemetery is approximately 3 miles out Arnold Stickley Rd.(possibly a bit further) on the right. The paving runs out before you get to the cemetery , which is almost to the end of the road. If you go under a railroad underpass (Just beyond Arnold Stickley Rd.) or get to the toll bridge that crosses over to Oldtown in MD., you have gone too far. Also there are some year round houses at the first part of Arnold Stickley Rd. but on closer to the river (South Branch of the Potomac) there are mostly camps.(1)



At the age of 18 Daniel married Mary Key. I have yet to find her parent's names, but marrying so young indicates to me that they were probably close neighbors. Daniel wasn't old enough to have done much World traveling yet (he would get his chance for this later). Mary Key (or possibly Kay) was born 15 February 1754. Their first child was a son, William, born 23 April 1774 and their second child was a son, Berriman, born 23 March 1776.(2) Berriman is my 4th great grandfather, and is my connection to Daniel, the Revolutionary Soldier.

Thanks to the muster rolls, received from the National Archives, I have been able to trace Daniel's military history in the Virginia Continental Line. This project has rekindled my interest in the history of The American Revolution, therefore I will embellish my story with items I have found during this project that are pertinent to Daniel McGlaughlin. I admit to taking literary license to help me visualize the time period of 02 March 1777 to 09 December 1779.


When Daniel McGlaughlin enlisted on 02 March 1777, he was age 22 and he had a son, William age 3 and a son, Berriman age 1. I am quite sure his wife Mary, and the two little boys remained on the farm with the elder Daniel and his wife Rachel Anner. Both of Daniel's parents were still alive in 1783. His father died in 1814 and his mother died after 1783.


The Virginia counties of Hampshire, Berkeley, Botetourt, Dunmore and Prince Edward was the area that the 12th Virginia Regiment was organized from. This takes in a varied portion of Virginia that is not in close proximity to each other. Hampshire and Berkeley counties are now in West Virginia, Dunmore county is now Shenandoah county and they are all three in what I would call Northern Virginia. Botetourt is in Western Virginia and Prince Edward county is in the South Central part of Virginia. I wonder where they all came together and became a Regiment.(3) 


The 12th Virginia Regiment was authorized as early as 16 September 1776. On 12 February 1777 (three weeks before Daniel's enlistment) it was organized into nine companies in garrison at Fort Pitt (now Pittsburg, Pennsylvania), Point Pleasant, Tygert's Valley, and Wheeling. All of these places are within 200 miles of Daniel's home in Hampshire County, Virginia. I don't know where he was first garrisoned, but it seems likely that it would be Fort Pitt, as that was a major Army center, dating back to the first white settlers in the area in the 1730's. The 12th Virginia Regiment underwent many reorganizations and was combined with the 4th Virginia Regiment on 11 May 1777 and finally combined with the 8th Virginia Regiment on 12 May 1779. Trying to follow the forming, disbanding, reorganizing, splitting, renaming and renumbering of the Continental Army Regiments makes genealogy look simple. The Army was being reorganized with maddening confusion, and I wonder if General George Washington, himself, could keep it all straight.


Another consistent fact in Daniel's story is that he always served with Colonel James Wood. No matter what the Regiment number, his Colonel was James Wood. James Wood has an interesting history. In the summer of 1775, in the infancy of the American Revolution, Captain James Wood was sent by the government of Virginia to tour the Indian towns of Ohio. His guide and interpreter was, the then patriot, Simon Girty. The two men completed their daring mission and reported that the British were actively enlisting the Indians as allies against the Americans. The

Americans missed the boat in the race for making the Indians allies. Simon Girty was later to turn his loyalty to the British and became known as the "White Indian".(4) Our Daniel McGlaughlin rubbed shoulders with some very interesting people, and his neighborhood was a walk in the early history of our country.

From March 1777 through April 1778 there is no detail of where he was stationed. There are comments on his Muster Roll such as "sick in camp", "on guard", and "on command". Among the early campaigns of the 12th Virginia Regiment are Northern New Jersey and the Defense of Philadelphia. These campaigns happened before the Winter Encampment at Valley Forge for the winter of 1777-1778. Did Daniel see action at these places? On 19 December 1777, Washington's Army entered Valley Forge. It seems safe to assume that Daniel McGlaughlin was among those soldiers because the muster roll dated 02 May 1778 proves that he was at Valley Forge. It appears that the 12th Virginia Regiment was present at Valley Forge for most of the winter of 1777-1778. The organizational chart of Washington's Army at Valley Forge as it pertains to the Virginia Continental Line is as follows:(5

General George Washington
|
3rd Division - Major General Marquis Gilbert Lafayette
|
4th Virginia Brigade - Brigadier General Charles Scott
|
4th Va Regiment
8th Va Regiment
12th Va Regiment
Staff Officers
Colonel James Wood; Lt. Colonel John Neville; Major George Slaughter
Company Officers
Captain Steven Ashby; Captain Andrew Waggoner
Captain Michael Bowyer; Captain Thomas Bowyer
Captain Benjamin Casey; Captain Rowland Madison
Captain William Vause; Captain Andrew Wallace


The VA 3rd Division 4th Brigade entered Valley Forge with 495 men and 164 fit for duty. The 12th Virginia Regiment left Valley Forge with the 4th Virginia Regiment. Previous engagements were Northern New Jersey, Defense of Philadelphia, and Philadelphia-Monmouth. See the map of Valley Forge Historical Park to locate the place Daniel McGlaughlin lived during that terrible winter of 1777-1778. He is at #14 and John's ancestor, Reuben Pew was at #26 with the New Jersey 1st Brigade.(6) 

The Continental Army had suffered a devastating defeat at Germantown, Pennsylvania in October, 1777 and then wintered at Valley Forge. They entered Valley Forge with their "tails between their legs". They marched out of Valley Forge as a renewed Army, thanks to the training of Baron Frederich von Steuben. On a blistering, hot, and miserable, June 28, 1778, the Battle of Monmouth Courthouse was fought. The advance guard that hit the British at Monmouth Courthouse included the Virginians. It was a crucial victory for the Americans, as it instilled confidence in their ability as an Army. It was after this battle that Washington sent some of his Army north to protect the Highlands of New York This is where we next find Daniel McGlaughlin. 


In June 1778 Daniel reported "absent with leave" from Camp Paramus. This camp was in New Jersey, near Morristown. Apparently he went home on leave after the winter at Valley Forge. The fact that he came back is a testament to his honor. By 03 August 1778 he rejoined his regiment at White Plains, New York. The Virginians were there to keep the British from gaining territory near West Point and from taking control of the Hudson River. On 03 October 1778 Daniel was reported as "sick at Fishkills". Fishkills, New York is across the Hudson River from Newburgh and north of West Point. It was very valuable as a military depot and an ideal site for magazines, a distribution center for provisions and for transportation by wagons, sloops, and boats.(7) Washington could not let his guard down in this strategic place. 


By November 1778 Daniel was stationed at Middlebrook, New Jersey. He was at Middlebrook until April 1779. Middlebrook was Washington's Winter Encampment for the winter of 1778-1779. Can't find Middlebrook on the map? It is no longer there, as it has been absorbed by the town of Bound Brook, New Jersey. When Daniel entered Camp Middlebrook he was part of the 4th Virginia Regiment and when he left he was part of the 8th Virginia Regiment. The encampment was north of the village of Middlebrook and the Main Army, including the 4th and 8th Virginia Regiments, was along the base of the Watchung Mountains. It provided protection from the weather and had a good supply of trees for construction and firewood. When the troops began to arrive at the end of November 1778, they lived in tents while they built huts to live in. Each hut was 16'X14' and had walls 7' tall. Ten to twelve men lived in each hut. 


Fortunately the winter was a very mild one. The encampment was visited by the French ambassador in March 1779 and issued new uniforms to the Army. They were either brown or blue, and perhaps this is the uniform that remained in the McGlaughlin family for so many years after Daniel's death. Thanks to Quarter Master General, Nathanael Greene, the troops never starved as they had the previous winter at Valley Forge.(8)  


During his time at Middlebrook he was an "orderly in the hospital" in October 1778 he was "sick and absent" in December 1778 and "on furlough" in January 1779. He was back in February, March and April 1779. 


In May 1779 Daniel is at Smiths Clove. I had a bit of a challenge in finding this place. Thanks to the Internet, I finally got a clue of where it is. It is in Orange County New York, and again, in that strategically important area along the Hudson River. While in camp at Smiths Clove, Daniel was sick and in June was sent to the hospital in "Summerset". I assume this is Somerset, New Jersey.


By July 1779 he was well enough to be on duty at Camp Ramepourt, New York. This is another place that is hard to find, however, I found that it is in Richland County New York. Very close to the New Jersey border with New York. It is near the present town of Hillburn, New York. Through October 1779 Daniel was stationed at Smiths Clove and Ramapourt. This depended on where his Company was needed in the overall plan of protecting the Hudson River.


October 1779 finds Daniel and his Company at Camp Haverstraw. This Camp is situated between Smiths Clove and Ramapourt. It is at the mouth of Haverstraw Creek, where it empties into the Hudson River. Haverstraw Creek, New York was to become very infamous after Daniel was stationed there. On September 23, 1780, just one year later, Major John Andre', a British officer (in civilian dress), was detained by three militiamen on duty at Haverstraw Creek. In searching him, they discovered a letter from American General Benedict Arnold. The letter was a confirmation of the plans for the surrender of West Point (by Arnold) to Sir Henry Clinton, the British Commander of the Northern New York Forces. It contained the plans of West Point. Major Andre' was later hung as a spy, due to the fact that he was not captured in military uniform. Many Americans felt that the wrong man was hung, and that it should have been Benedict Arnold! The price tag he agreed to was 20,000 Sterling, which would be about $1,000,000 today. Benedict Arnold fled to the British High Command in New York City and became a "man without a country". The British never trusted him and the Americans detested him. A great American hero that turned traitor. The three militiamen were each awarded a silver medal by the Continental Congress.(9)


By 02 December 1779, Daniel is in a camp near Morristown, New Jersey. This is the last muster roll of his file. Since he enlisted for three years on 02 March 1777, he is three months short of his enlistment duration. What happened in those three months, I do not know. Perhaps some of the muster rolls were lost.


Family tradition states that Daniel was present at the Battle of Yorktown and witnessed the surrender of General Lord Charles Cornwallis on 19 October 1781. I have not found in what capacity he was there. I suspect it may as be a member of a Militia Company. Perhaps further research will reveal the answer is to this mystery.


Daniel returned to his father's farm in Hampshire County Virginia, and to his little family. He and Mary Key had four more children after 1780.


One of the men Daniel admired was Major General Gilbert Lafayette. When Lafayette returned to America in 1826, he was greeted, everywhere he went, as a modern day rock star would be greeted. Among the men that made the effort to see him, was Daniel McGlaughlin. Daniel's son, Daniel had a baby boy that same year and our Daniel asked that the baby be named William Gilbert Lafayette McGlaughlin. This little baby boy later wrote a narrative of his remembrances, and his writing has enlightened many of Daniel McGlaughlin's descendants.


During his enlistment he was paid 6 2/3 dollars a month and had a 10 dollar subsistence allowance per month. I gather from this, that he had to find his own food and supplies with that 10 dollars. These were not American dollars as we know them. They were Spanish milled dollars. The financial state of the new country was in complete shambles, and inflation was terrible. George Washington stated that "a wagon load of money will scarcely buy a wagon load of provisions". The saying "not worth a continental" was born because of this time.(10)


Daniel's name was spelled various ways on his muster and pay rolls. McLoughlin; McGloughlin; McLaughlin; McGlothlin; McLochlin. I chose to spell it McGlaughlin, as that is the way my 3rd great grandmother spelled her name, Catharine McGlaughlin. Many descendants have settled on McLaughlin, and that is the most common way to spell it today. Any way you spell it, we can all be proud of our common ancestors, Daniel McGlaughlin and Mary Key. Mary is also a hero to me, as she kept the family intact while Daniel served our new country.


Was Daniel McGlaughlin a famous hero? No. Was he a great military leader? No. Was he a steady and dependable soldier in a very trying time? Yes. I am so proud to be his descendant, and feel he is typical of so many men that went to serve and did their duty as ordered. I don't find that he ever asked for a pension or a land bounty. He seemed content to get back to his life after the War.


End Notes

1. From Tina McLaughlin of Oldtown, Maryland (personal communication)
2. "The McLaughlins" by Steven K McLaughlin & Evelyn Z. McCann © 01 Sep 1988
3. Valley Forge WebSite //165.83.115.136/VFMuster/Reg_12VA.html
4. "The Human Tradition In The American Revolution" by Nancy L. Rhoden & Ian Steele © 2000
5. Valley Forge WebSite //165.83.115.136/VFMuster/Reg_12VA.htm
6. "Not By Bread Alone" by Calvin E. Chunn, Ph. D. © 1981
7. "Fishkill And The Fortifications Of The Highlands In The American Revolution" by Colonel James M. Johnson. Published in the Dar Daughters Magazine February 1998.
8. New Jersey Revolutionary WebSite //nj.20m.com/NJ/battles/midbrk.html
9. "The Revolutionary War" by Bart McDowell published by Nat. Geographic Soc © 1967
10."The Revolutionary War" by Bart McDowell published by Nat. Geographic Soc © 1967


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Part Of Something Bigger Than Myself --- What Fun -- Worldwide Indexing Event --

On Sunday evening July 20, 2014 the clock started at FamilySearch Indexing in Salt Lake City. On Monday evening July 21, 2014 the clock stopped at FamilySearch Indexing in Salt Lake City.
Indexers and arbitrators began an indexing marathon to set a new record for a 24 hour number of indexers and number of records.  I tried to start at 6pm sharp -- and I couldn't get on.  The error message was that the server was down.  Oh dear, not a good start. On Monday morning I could get logged in and completed a couple of batches of obituaries. I was determinded to participate if even in a small way.
I had errands to take care of but got back to the indexing about 4:30.  Then the batch I was indexing started doing strange things.  I could fix it by exiting and logging back in for awhile before it started again.   After the third time I called Salt Lake (1-866-406-1830) to see what was happening. The indexing consultant I talked to shared my batch so she could see what was happening -- and of course, it wouldn't misbehave for her at all.  We stopped the sharing of the batch and I hung up.  But not before I said "The Adversary is alive and well, isn't he?" She agreed.
Finally at 6pm Monday night I signed off from FamilySearch Indexing for the evening.  Today FamilySearch informed all of us (and the rest of the world as well) what the final tally was.  I have copied the announcement below. It was an interesting experience and I am glad I participated. 5,700,000 new records that will be available to researchers is a big deal. 66,511 indexers and arbitrators participated.
"These generous indexers and arbitrators made a true difference. Each record and each name indexed and arbitrated matters. It only takes one to open the door to linking generations of families together. Without question, thousands of lives will be changed as a result of this day’s effort.
While the focus for this challenge was on the total number of participants, a tremendous amount of indexing and arbitration work was accomplished as well. Here are the results for the number of records indexed and arbitrated.
Indexed: 4,682,746
Arbitrated: 941,932
Total Records Processed: 5.7 million
Worldwide Indexing Event BadgeOur ancestors deserve to be remembered. You can be proud to be the one who made the difference for someone else who is looking for their ancestors. Because of you, they will know the joy of adding a new branch to their family tree. Thank you!"




Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Four Grandparents - Craig - Van Buskirk - Cary - Windle

Claude Leolis Craig, my father's father.   Born November 2, 1886 in Sheridan Twp. Linn County Kansas.   He and Goldie Van Buskirk married November 11, 1911 in Fort Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas.   Died June 30, 1961 in Pittsburg, Crawford County,Kansas. He was the son and only child of William M. Craig and Faithy Ellen Meech.
Goldie Opal Van Buskirk, my father's mother.   Born June 3, 1896 in Davis County, Iowa.   Died September 30, 1962 in Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California.  She was the fourth child of George Washington Van Buskirk and Mary Ann (Anna) Edinger.
Ralph Orion Cary, Sr., my mother's father.   Born December 8, 1893 in Corning, Nemaha County Kansas.   He and Hazel Belle Windle were married May 9, 1917 in Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa.   Died May 10, 1974 in Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa.  He was the first son of Francis Marion Cary and Olive May Sanford.
Hazel Belle Windle, my mother's mother.   Born November 29, 1896 in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa.   Died April 26, 1968 in Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa.  She was the first child of John Albert Windle and Lizzie Irene Casey.

Thank you to them all for having children that had me!!  Even though they are all gone now, I remember them each, as well as their distinct personalities.  I love them for who they were, faults and all.   Love, Patj

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

On The Day I Was Born - Oh So ManyYears Ago


This picture is of the Des Moines River at flood stage as it roars through Ottumwa, Wapello County, Iowa. It is not an actual picture of the same flood condition as the day I was born, but similar. Ottumwa is separated into two parts by the Des Moines River.  The north side and the south side. My grandparents, Ralph and Hazel Cary, lived at 309 South Ward Street on the south side.  The Ottumwa Hospital was on the north side.  I think you are getting the gist of the story now, right?

In the last part of June, in 1935, my parents were living at 309 South Ward Street, with my grandparents.  I am not sure about all of the details that went into this situation, as I was just an innocent bystander at the time, but I can just about imagine the details.  My mother was seventeen years old and my father was twenty years old.  They were barely adults so had not gotten a real start in life yet, and here they were having a baby.  I don't apologize for that, as I had little to do with it, but I am grateful to them for having me at that particular time.   Later, would have made me a different person, and I like who I am, so I am happy.  Of course, I am using that very special thing called hindsight.

On that day, things weren't so rosy.  The main concern of Ottumwans was the rising Des Moines River and a possible flood in the city.  I can imagine the worried looks as the skies held everyone's attention. This is the same as today, as Mother Nature is not ever tamed and still does exactly as she pleases, just as she did in June 1935.  The afternoon before I was born my grandmother drove my mother to the hospital for my entrance into the great big wide world.  The grand event was accompanied by a big fanfare as my grandmother's car horn stuck and she didn't want to take time to stop and unstick it.  She drove from south Ottumwa, across the Jefferson Street Bridge to the Ottumwa Hospital on the north side with the horn blaring all the way.

Embarrassing of course, but even worse the fact that the citizens along the way thought that was a warning signal that the Des Moines River had gone over the bank.  It caused all sorts of panic and worry and curiosity about the river.  I can almost imagine that some kind man probably helped her as she parked in the hospital parking lot and got the horn unstuck.  It was one time in my life when I couldn't fix things -- not yet anyway.  I was totally at the mercy of my grandmother and my mother, and had to sit tight for awhile.

At 5:10 am I finally arrived amid all of the fanfare.  Of course, I can't vouch for any of this story, but this is what I have been told.  And as a famous genealogist said at a conference, family stories must be accurately and lovingly passed down or they are gone in three generations.

So dear friend, this was my grand entrance.  It was funny later, but I am sure not so much on that day. Have you heard any good stories about your grand entrance into the world?  If you have, share them with your family  -- or as I do, with the whole world.  If you haven't heard any stories about your grand entrance -- ask your mother, she will never forget that day.  Of course, most of us are not of the famous ilk, so these things are not important to the general public, but, oh so important to us and our families.  

I believe we are all important, and the day you arrived was a very special day, because you are very special.  Patj


Friday, June 6, 2014

William Oliver Sanford Civil War Diary

William Oliver Sanford Civil War Diary

William Oliver Sanford (1822-1914) wrote a wonderful history of his life and his ancestors.  I am fortunate that my mother, Dorothy Olive Cary, gave me a copy of this history.  This covers the life of William Oliver Sanford until  late in his life.  The part I am transcribing for you is the part where he describes his Civil War experience.  
On the 26th day of February 1865 in obedience to the call of the President of  the U.S. for 300,000 more soldiers to suppress the Slave-Holders Rebellion, I left home in Hamilton (Illinois) to Chicago, the general rendezvous and after much delay and bartering among ambitious officers for men, we finally enlisted in a company of good men mostly from McHenry Co., Ill. and were assigned, consolidated as Company G in the 23rd regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, Capt. George W. Hardacre, Col. Mulligans Old Irish Brigade, then fighting Lee in Virginia. A part of this time in Camp Fry in North Chicago, while waiting to be assigned and even before enlistment, multitudes of us were crowded into uncomfortable barracks and locked in like so many animals, under closed guard, waiting to be sold to this Capt or that Capt who could pay the most for the number of men sufficient to fill up their companies so they  could be mustered in and commence to draw their pay and show their authority over men better than they were.
On March 2nd 1865 we enlisted for Alden Township, McHenry Co.  M. L. Hoy Township Agent.  On Friday, March 17 our Company was finally organized, George W Hardacre Captain, H. J. Mack 2nd Liet, and myself 6th Corporal.  Time was all filled up in active drill, guard duty and regular camp instructions preparatory to regular field duty.  I was assigned in addition to duty in the Capt. office in making out the muster rolls, issuing arms, clothing, requisitions for rations, etc.

Saturday the 8th of April, I at last with 500 others were forwarded direct to Richmond, Va. For active duty, by rail to Baltimore, then by steamer down Chesapeake Bay to Fortress Monroe, then up the James River to Richmond.  Arrived there in time to help put out the fires in the burning city, a few days after its evacuation by the rebels, went into active service, south of the James River, East and South to City Point, Petersburgh and all that region of the country.  Sometimes watching Mosleys Guerillas, and guarding and holding places and territory vacated by the Main Army now fighting the last battle with Lee and the rebels at Appomattox.

Finally when the end of the rebellion came, I with a few chosen companies of our regiment were sent into the City of Richmond to guard Government property and maintain order in that desperately demoralized city.

All business was stagnant, confederate money was worthless, everybody was destitute and starving.  The whole population was bitter and angry over their defeat and hostile at the Union soldier as a savage ever dared to be.  Our Army had to feed the population and the women spit upon and offered every indignity while we were doing so.  We had to go from place to place in squads and constantly armed for self protection, for the city was full of straggling. Destitute Confederate soldiers and rebel desperados, made it a pastime to murder and rob every Union Soldier whenever he could be caught alone.  Murder of this character were a constant daily and nightly occurrence. 

The Negroes from all that region flocked in the city like stray animals and this made matters much worse.  They had no owners and had no means to make a living.  They robbed and plundered everything to sustain life.   We gathered them together, organized them into companies under competent overseers and set them to work cleaning up the city, loading and unloading boats, cars, etc. and fed  them Army rations.  At night we furnished them sleeping quarters in the various tobacco warehouses in the city and I had charge of one of these boarding houses and had 2,000 negro boarders.

We cooked barrels of pork and made two large barrels of coffee for each meal three times a day.  Negroes did the cooking and all the work.  After incredible labor and planning we restored comparative order and quiet in the city and business commenced to revive.

I with others were seldom idle or out of imminent peril both day and night, for night was as busy as the day time.  Night and day, rain or shine, week day or Sunday was all the same to us, constant vigilance and active duty was imperative.

On the morning of the last day of June I was ordered without previous warning to start for N.Y. City.  The day before I had been promoted  to3rd Sergeant, over 2 Coporals and three Sergeants, to their great dissatisfaction, also without any previous notice.

I had no intimation what I was to go to N. Y. for, or how I was to go.  I had not a cent of money and of course was in a quandary.  But obedience is the first duty of a soldier and I knew my instructions would be given proper time. I had not long to wait for soon the long roll sounded and the whole Company run for their places in the ranks, always with arms in their hands.   

My position with the other officers was in the rear of the line.  The commanding officers commenced on the right, marched along the front, selected one Lieutenant, one Sergeant (myself), one Corporal and twelve men, ordered us all 4 paces front, then read publicly the order of my promotion, and gave us our orders to guard and escort two regiments of discharged troops to N. Y. City, and turn them over to proper officers for their pay, muster out and discharge and return again in seven days.  On the last day of June we embarked on the large ocean steamer Creole, steamed down the James River from City Point to Norfolk, Fortress Monroe and out to sea and saw no more land til coming in sight of  N. Y. City.  Soon after starting our Lieutenant was taken sick and went below, and the whole duty fell upon me the rest of the trip. My business was to maintain order on ship board, see that all their rations were on time and keep all soldiers out of the rigging – at first a hard matter to keep them from straggling into cabins and engine rooms, etc.

I succeeded so well that the captain of the ship was twice going to put me in irons for disobedience to his orders, but I had the best backing and knew I was right in the course I pursued and he had he persisted my soldiers openly threatened to throw him overboard, but on arrival at the docks in N. Y., the colonels and captains discharged troops came and publicly thanked me for the skillful and satisfactory manner in which I had discharged my difficult task.

We returned to Richmond on time and made report and we were warmly greeted by officers and comrades.
Thus matters went on all about the Capitol til the 26th of July when we were ordered home, started for Chicago and on the 2nd day of August, 1865 were paid off (in part) and discharged.
The end of what William Oliver Sanford wrote in his life history.
******************************************************************
William Oliver Sanford was a member of Russell Post No. 86 Department of Illinois Grand Army of the Republic.  His personal war sketch follows:
I first entered the service on the spring of 1861 at Alden Township, McHenry Co., Ill. Was mustered in at Chicago.  Joined 23rd Reg. Ill. Vol. Inf. 2nd brigade, 2nd Division, 24th Army Corps at Richmond, Ill. as sixth corporal.  Was promoted to Third Sergeant June 30th, 1865. In place of Sergeant E.C. Parks, reduced to ranks, and at the close of the war my rank that if Third Sergeant.  I was first discharged after the battle of Athens, MO. At Hamilton, Ill. after the accomplishment of the object of enlistment.  I re-enlisted on March 2nd, 1865 at Alden Ill. when we were consolidated with the 23rd Reg. Ill. and was finally discharged July 24th, 1865 at Chicago, Ill. by reason of the close of the war.  I was never wounded, nor confined in a hospital.  But was sick in camp near Richmond two weeks with Rheumatic fever.  I was never taken prisoner, but was once locked up in the guard house with about one hundred others, for what reason no one ever new, but suppose it was to secure bids form Capt’s for men to fill up companies, so reported.

The most important events in my  service I consider to be, the constant guard duty in Richmond and Petersburg and frequent detached service as Captains Clerk, Guarding Government Stores, Libby Prison, A contraband camp and other detailed service.
In April 1865 I had severe sickness from Rheumatic fever – effects of which still exist.  On duty in Petersburg when Sheridan’s Cavalry returned from Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, on duty  in Richmond with my Reg’t and Division to receive and do honors of the day when Gen’l Mead received his army as they (65,000) strong) passed through Richmond on their route to Washingtonn after Lee’s Surrender.  Was in Richmond and received Sherman’s (70,000) as they passed through the City on their march north frorn Savannah  to Washingotn.   As Sergeant had charge of guard duty in the City including Libby Prison for 4 months.  Had charge of camp of Two Thousand contraband  Negores, and boarded and cared for the same.  Had charge of corral of 2,000 horses and mules quartered the same two miles from Richmond.

I was detailed with 2nd Lieut Guy C. Clark, Co. I with ten picked Guards to escort two New York Regt’s home to be discharged.  Started July 1st 1865 on a steamboat from Richmond to City Point – thence transferred to ocean  steamer “Creole” to N.Y.  The Regt’s mutinied and after three fierce battles among themselves and forcing the Capt. of  the ship below – order was restored by the Guards at point of bayonet.
We landed them safely in New York and returned to Richmond at the end of seven days and remained on active duty until  mustered out an d discharged July 24th 1865.


My Patron Ancestor William Oliver Sanford 1822-1914

William Oliver Sanford & Joanna T. Baker

William Oliver Sanford is the one I call my "Patron Ancestor".     When my mother gave me a copy of a story William O. wrote, I immediately fell in love with this gentleman.  It was written around the end of the 1800's.  I haven't been able to pin down the exact date.  At first I figured it was around 1902.  Because I now know that his youngest son, Orion, died in 1892, and he refers in his story that he is writing it at Orion's request, I presume he wrote it around 1890.

When he wrote it would be nice to know, but I am most grateful that he wrote it at all ‑‑‑ and that it miraculously survived. In his story, William O. describes his parents, grandparents and brothers and sisters.  He also describes his experiences in the "War Of The Rebellion" as a volunteer in the 23rd Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He describes his boyhood in Tioga County New York, and many of the everyday experiences that seem to be from an unknown and foreign world.

Among the precious descriptions William Oliver Sanford wrote were:

Timothy Sanford ‑ "My father was rather a rigid disciplinarian but generous and kind.  He was a good musician, played several instruments, was the leader of the Old Presbyterian Choir and teacher of music, was a drummer in the last war with England in Connecticut but in what department I do not now remember.  He was     never a rich man but always owned a good home and maintained a comfortable living.  He required prompt obedience in every precept, was thoroughly orthodox in the teachings of Solomon, especially in the dogma that to spare the rod was to spoil the child yet he was in no wise cruel and only dusted our jackets whenever we had thoughtlessly perhaps, committed some boyish indiscretion."

Lucinda Teal ‑ "My mother was a small slender woman, patient and  gentle in disposition and wholly devoted to her husband and children.  She governed by kindness and never by the rod, was very indulgent and generous, was a good singer and a main stay in the church choir.  With a family of eight children her time was wholly occupied with cooking, washing, mending, spinning, quilting and making clothing for the family ‑‑ which could not be bought then as now, yet she was always cheerful and pleasant to all."

John Harlan (his tyrannical teacher) ‑ "A thorough flogging of the whole school about twice a day ‑ large and small‑ was the principle part of his duties.  And it is unaccountable that the parents tolerated him, but that was the spirit of the age for that   Presbyterian principle was thoroughly orthodox in Solomon's wisdom     wisdom "Spare the rod and spoil the child" tho strange they repudiated in practice at his other grand system of poligamy.  But Harlan was esteemed a model school master and they employed him a second term.  But we lived through it."

In 1987, I retyped the manuscript.  As I read, and studied, and typed these pages, I felt many times that William O. was standing at my side, directing the whole scene.  Some of the facts he states in his story are erroneous.  I have since found the real facts about some of the incidents he mentions.  I still love his story and I treasure it.  He wasn't  too far off on the few things that aren't correct, and he was very descriptive on so many events.  He related things as he had heard them and as he     remembered them.

William Oliver Sanford was born 21 Jul 1822 in Tioga County New York.  His father was Timothy Sanford and his mother was Lucinda Teal Sanford.  His father was the grandson of a true American Revolution Hero.  Ebenezer Sanford Sr, lost his life in the "Struggle for Independence".  His son, Ebenezer Jr, was Timothy's father and William Oliver's grandfather.

I visited my great aunt, Esther Cary Chisman, in Ottumwa, Iowa in 1992.  During this visit I asked her if she could tell me about her memories of William Oliver Sanford.  He died in 1914 and Aunt Esther was born in 1905.  Her family traveled periodically to Hamilton, Illinois to check on him.  She remembered that he was     blind in his later years.  He had a pure white beard and hair.  She said the children all laughed when he would throw objects at the door to scare away the squirrels.  He couldn't see that the screen door was closed and it was having no effect on the     squirrels.

When the Cary family traveled to Wichita, Kansas in 1914, William Oliver Sanford was dying.  He had outlived everyone of his OWN generation and all of the NEXT generation.  The people he had left were grandchildren from his son, Charles Baker Sanford.  None of his other children lived to produce any progeny.  He was living    with grandson, Roy Guy Sanford and his wife, Kate.   Apparently, the family all gathered to be there in his last days.  Aunt Esther remembers everyone sitting around a large table in the dining room.  They sent her upstairs to "see if Grampa is breathing".  She said she went upstairs to the bedroom where he lay.  She tiptoed over to the bed and looked and looked and   couldn't see him breathing.  She went back downstairs to tell the adults, William Oliver, "Wasn't breathing as far as I could tell".  He was at rest at last.   He had lived 92 years.

From a boy in Tioga County New York, to an ambitious young man in Akron, Ohio to a soldier in the Civil War, to a builder and civic minded man in Hamilton, Illinois he had traveled many miles and across a great distance of time.

William Oliver Sanford married Joanna T. Baker on 27 Oct 1847, in  Akron, Summit County Ohio.  He had moved there from New York after completing his apprenticeship to a cabinet maker.  His older brother, David Gleason Sanford, had already established a business of cabinet making in Akron.

William Oliver and Joanna had one child.  Charles Baker Sanford was born 4 Apr 1851 and Joanna died 8 Apr 1851.  What a heartbreak that must have been for William Oliver Sanford.  To care for a newborn infant presented him with a great challenge.  He had to put his baby in the homes of various friends, "who for liberal pay cared for him until he was about six years old".  Around 1860 William Oliver sent for Charles and he joined his father in Hamilton, Illinois.  William Oliver had married Sarah Kauffman and had established a home there.

William Oliver Sanford made Hamilton, Illinois his home.  As always, he became active in community affairs and worked at a variety of occupations, such as, "legal, mechanical, R.R. and merchandising".

As I retyped his manuscript in 1987, there were several words that I thought were misspelled.  With my new word processor I had the spell checker feature.  I would engage the spell checker, and GUESS who would be correct?  Yes, my William Oliver Sanford was a meticulous and exacting person, even with his use of the English language.

He died 22 Jun 1914.  He was one month short of being 92 years old.  He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Hamilton, Illinois.     His three children, Arthur J. born 27 Mar 1859; Emma L, born 17 Feb 1861; and Orion H., born 21 Sep 1863, are buried in the same family plot.  He is a human bridge for me.  He describes a people and a time of so long ago.  He describes them with a sense of humor and in such detail that I can see them and know them.

I am compelled to write a sketch about Joanna T. Baker.  She is the ancestress that haunts me more than any other.  I know so little about  her, but I feel a special bond with her.

Joanna T. Baker was born "about" 1825.  She married William Oliver Sanford 27 Oct 1847 in Akron, Summit County, Ohio.   She had her son, Charles Baker Sanford on 4 Apr 1851 and she died of typhoid fever, four days later, 8 Apr 1851.

These are the vital statistics for Joanna, and unfortunately, they are all I know at this point in time.  I have spent countless hours and dollars in my search for Joanna's ancestry, to no avail.

Joanna is buried in Glendale Cemetery.  The cemetery is also called the Rural Akron Cemetery.  The office at the cemetery has the following record of her:
"Joanna T. Baker Sanford was born at Bainbridge, Chenango County, New York, and died 8 Apr 1851, age 26, of Typhoid Fever.  She is buried in Section 2, Lot 90."

There is no stone on her grave according to my friend, Connie S. Ferguson of Hudson, Ohio.

Further investigation in Chenango County, New York revealed no further information about Joanna's family.  I know a great deal about "other" Baker families, but nothing to link Joanna to them.

I am not sure WHEN her story will be revealed to me, but I am sure that it WILL be revealed to me in the future.

She lived such a short time, but such an important time in my ancestry.  My existence was hanging by a very thin thread in1851.  I am so greatful that she endured long enough to have her son, Charles Baker Sanford.

**** Author's note: I have since found all of Joanna T.'s family and many ancestors as well. See her stories in this blog.


Friday, May 23, 2014

Meet Hazel Belle Windle and Goldie Opal Van Buskirk ----- My Grandmothers


Hazel Belle Windle my maternal grandmother 1896-1968
She was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa on 29 November 1896. She was the oldest child of her parents, John Albert Windle and Lizzie Irene Casey.  She was followed by her brother Harry Windle, born in 1898, and Frances Elizabeth Windle, born in 1903. As a little girl, she was my hero and my solid anchor.  In my child's mind, she was the person that seemed like other regular people, and normal.  I later realized that no one is "normal" but the place she held in my mind was so very important in the rough days of my own childhood. 

Hazel married Ralph Orion Cary in May 1917.  She was a good wife, good mother, good daughter, good sister, and wonderful grandmother.  I loved her so very much.  Her life was filled with sad events, and happy events.  She survived all of this and led a very meaningful and good life.

This picture of her is in 1924 as she was leaving Ottumwa, Iowa on her way to Council Bluffs to attend her grandparent's 50th wedding anniversary.  Her grandparents were Abraham and Lydia McNeil Windle.  She was so pretty and I love her hat. She was age twenty-eight in this picture. She would be age one hundred and eighteen this year.  

I always estimate a generation is about twenty years, and our family seems to follow this pretty close.  That means there would be six generations of her descendants in 120 years.  That is correct for her descendants: (1) Hazel Windle; (2) Dorothy O. Cary; (3) Patricia A. Craig; (4) Cindy L. Meier and Laurel A. Meier; (5) Chad Lewis and Ryan Lewis; Logan A. Currie; (6)Oliver Lewis; Stella Lewis; Jack Lewis, Grant Lewis.  

Thank you Grandma Cary for giving all of us life.


Goldie Opal Van Buskirk my paternal Grandmother 1896-1962 
She was born 3 June 1896 in Davis County, Iowa. She was the 4th of the ten children of George Van Buskirk and Mary Ann Edinger.  Unfortunately, I was never close to Goldie.  I never called her grandma, or grandmother.  She was always Goldie to me and my two older cousins and my brother.  The younger grandchildren did call her Grandma, but she seemed more accepting of the name by then. She became a grandmother at such a young age, I guess it was hard for her to accept that title.  I have matured, and with that I realize she could only be herself.  It was hard to understand when I was younger but I do understand now.  

She married Claude Craig when she was just age fifteen.  This picture is shortly after having her first child, my aunt Claudine.  She was just a baby herself, and she is so very pretty.  Claude was ten years older than Goldie and their marriage was a tumultuous one.  It ended in divorce around 1925.  She had three children: Claudine born in 1912; my father, Gerald Vuhr Craig born in 1915; and Gwendolyn born in 1919. 

She married Fred Peck later, and that is the only husband I ever saw her with.  Although we were never close, I have come to recognize traits I have inherited from her.  More so than from my maternal grandmother, as much as I loved her. 

I know I am what I am due to the genes I inherited from all of my ancestors, and especially from my paternal grandmother, Goldie Opal VanBuskirk.  Thank you Goldie, for our life, for me and all of my descendants.  You are an important part of our heritage.  May you rest in peace.


Sunday, April 27, 2014

2014 – A Very Busy Year, A Very Good Year, So Far


As you can see from the schedule, my year began at a slow pace. Then it grew faster and faster and finally in April was at a non-stop pace.   Actually, I wondered if I could do it, but I intended to find out.  Now that the last commitment is completed, I know the answer. I could, and I did, do it.

Yesterday, Saturday, April 26, 2014, I was honored to be a part of the First Annual Family History Fair sponsored and hosted by the Loveland Colorado LDS Stake. It was huge, with three hundred people attending.  From 9am to 5pm classes and lunch was provided by these wonderful people.  The subject was of course, family history.       

I presented two program/classes.  They were “Not Your Grandmother’s Genealogy” and “On the Trails of Our Ancestors”.  It was fun and the attendees were terrific.  I thoroughly enjoyed the day of presenting and also of the opportunity to attend other classes.  And mixing and visiting with other genealogists just can’t be beat.


But to recap the year leading up to this day, I would like to share the other programs and lessons I have written, prepared and presented.

January 6 -  At the Fort Collins Civil War Roundtable I presented the program The Boys In Blue – the GAR  It was fun and well received. Jeff and Judy Ryder brought GAR memorabilia they have collected to show the group. The January weather was cold but sunny.

January 9 – The Fort Collins Family History Center Inservice Lesson to staff members is done quarterly and this was the start of 2014.  The subject of my lesson was The Family History Library Online Catalog.  This was the second in my series of lesson about FamilySearch.org. The first lesson was FamilySearch Historical Books and  the FamilySearch Wiki.  This evening was a bitter, cold, snowy and icy January night.  We had a packed room though, so it reached  many people.

February 20 – At the Larimer County Genealogical Society I was happy to present the program to kick off our 2014 year.  It was titled, On The Trails Of Our Ancestors. It was a fun program I prepared about migration trails.  It was fun to present it and it was fun to get comments after the program. This meeting was held at our old favorite place, the Harmony Library at Shields Street and Harmony Road.  It was the first program to be taped for showing after the meeting to our members via a special link to the Internet.

February 22 – Two days later, I taught the class Introduction to Genealogy at the Loveland Public Library.  It was a packed room for sure. Thirty eight  people signed in on that wintery February morning. It was perfect for me because I like a packed house.  Everything worked fine, and that is the biggest anxiety (next to the weather). That all of the equipment will work and run smooth.  My friend at the Library, Bobbi, treated us to nice treats and helped get the room going good.  George Morgan was there to help sign in folks and get them seated.  I stopped at Heartland and ate lunch before I headed home to Fort Collins. A very good day.

March 18 – I was happy to give my DAR chapter the program for this meeting.  It was the same as the CWRT in January, The Boys in Blue .  It was fun and the ladies seemed to enjoy it. 

March 22 – Four days later, I was privileged to teach a class, Land of Plenty, with my good friend, Ceil Damschroder.  We had a good time and things went very well. We had twenty eight people attend the class.  Ceil did her part with an overhead projector and I did mine with Power Point.  I started and Ceil did the middle and I did the ending session.  It was a good exercise in collaborating with another person to prepare.  I am used to doing as I please, so it was interesting.  Ceil is absolutely the land record expert in our Genealogical  Society.  The weather co-operated and the attendees were very interested in the subject.

April 5 – On this Saturday, I taught Intermediate Genealogy in a brand new place.  We have never used the Council Tree Library for any of our classes.  It is a beautiful room and the equipment worked perfectly (always a bonus to me).  There were no tables and chairs set up so everyone, attendees, as well as us from the Society, got busy setting things up. Fortunately, they have light tables on wheels so it isn’t heavy lifting. It was a good class.  Some mis-communication between the Education Committee and the Library caused them to expect us to end and clear out earlier than we thought we had to, but it all worked out.  I talked faster and skipped the 2nd break. I have to say, the Loveland Library has me spoiled.

April 10 - The second of the 4 quarterly lessons at the Fort Collins Family History Center Inservice was held this evening. It was the last of my lessons about FamilySearch.org.  It covered all of the fabulous new features -- but showing how to find some old favorites. As always, it was a good evening with good interaction and questions from the group.  Although, I am begining to wonder if the draw is the lesson or the home made cookies the director always brings. Hmmm so good.  It is always fun though. 

April 19 – Nearing the end of this busiest of all months, I did the Intermediate Genealogy class again at the Clearview Library in Windsor. This was a much smaller class but the best attendees/people in the world.  Sometimes smaller is more fun because we get to know each other and there is a lot of interaction. This Library was superb to teach in.  The room is so very nice and the equipment behaved.  The Library provided snacks and a very comfortable environment.

And this brings me up to April 26 which is where I started.  Need I tell you, I feel life is beautiful – especially when you are enjoying it.

I still have a few things scheduled for 2014, but I feel I can now do some of my personal goals.  Things like getting back to my Ohio Ancestors, taking my trip to Illinois, working on my brick walls, all fun stuff. 


I am sorry to report that I also lost my newest friend yesterday.  Mary Z died early in the morning April 26. We were the same age.  We had not known each other for a year, but the time we did know each other was a deep friendship that I will miss until we meet again.  Bon voyage, Mary Z.    

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Life Is Beautiful, Life Is Full Of Heroes



Just like you, I have many heros.  I have historical heroes, like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, etc.  I have military heroes like George Rogers Clark and my twenty nine American Revolutionary ancestors.  I have sports heroes like Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams, and Jackie Robinson, I have family heroes like my mother, my husband, and my daughters.  What I want to share though, are what I call ordinary heroes.  These are many times the greatest heroes of all.  To become an ordinary hero to me, it requires a person to stand toe to toe with LIFE and overcome the obstacles that are thrown at people, through nature, politics, or health.  They are people that face things bravely without taking the easy way out and giving up.   Let me share what I mean by describing three ordinary heroes.

The first one is a young Chinese man, probably in his early twenties.  I will never forget the images that I saw on June 4, 1989.  Television aids us in expanding our experience, and on this day I watched in awe as this brave, seemingly small, very young man, defied huge military tanks, and he would not move out of their threatening path.  The world was witness that day of him waving his arms, and refusing to move.  The event was the Tiennaman Square Massacre in Beijing, China.  A group of young students were protesting the government’s human rights policies, or the lack thereof.  It was also an open defiance of the People’s Liberation Army Troops.  And finally,the protest of the Chinese Communist Government.  Finally, some men, or soldiers charged in and dragged him out of the way of the tanks.  No one knows what happened to him, or even what his name is.  It is supposed that he was incarcerated in a prison or jail as a political dissenter.  Did he survive his ordeal?  No one has ever answered that question.  Hundreds of others did not survive that day as they were massacred in the streets of Beijing.  The young man will probably always be anonymous, but in my eyes he is not forgotten.  I can recall that scene just as vividly today, as I saw it in 1989.  It was the start of slow changes in China, and this young man sacrificed so much for what he believed in.  He is one of my favorite heroes.


My second hero is a woman John and I met in Cheyenne.  It was a Sunday afternoon, and we had traveled to Cheyenne on our Harleys.  It was a nice fall day and we just wanted to get out for ride.  We parked our bikes in front of Hardee’s and went in for a break.  There was a couple sitting there enjoying the afternoon and we got to visiting with them.  She was the same age as I, and she was in a wheelchair.  You could tell she had had some hard knocks in life.  One of her legs had been amputated due to diabetes.  She was very outgoing and jolly and pleasant to visit with.  The man was her ex-husband and he still looked after her and took her out occasionally for an ice cream cone.  She told us about the wheelchair ramp he built for her, and how she had to be careful going down it because it was so steep.  She chuckled as she described her technique for doing that.  It was sort of like hanging on for dear life to the sides of the ramp.   He said, “Well, there IS a fence at the bottom and that would stop you if you got to going too fast.”  She came back with, “Yes, but I don’t really want to look like a WAFFLE.”  We all laughed at her good humor.  She could find something humorous to share with everyone, and she was a fast thinker, too.  I never saw her again, but I will always remember her brave way of facing what life had dealt her.  As I climbed on my Harley to leave, I thanked God for the blessings he has given me, especially my good health.


My third hero is an older lady that John and I observed in Fort Laramie, Wyoming.  We had recently bought our Toyota Chinook and had taken it out on a camping trip to test it out.  We pulled into the little campground in Fort Laramie and set up our camp.  Across the campground we noticed an older couple camping in their tent.  It was in the fall, and the weather was pretty cool.  This didn’t seem to bother this couple though, they slept on the ground in their sleeping bags.  He must have been in his late 80's and she was not far behind him.  We chatted with the owner of the campground and she said the couple had been camped there for about a week.  They were from back east and had decided to make one last trip across the country.  They had collected coins for years and this was how they financed their trip.  They sold coins as they went.  She said that they were the toughest people she had seen in a long while.   

The next day as we were preparing our breakfast in the Chinook, we watched as the lady brought out her camp stove and pots and pans and set them up on the picnic table.  She was very methodical in her meal preparation.  She had apparently done this many times before.  I was impressed with how she had everything in order and moved so efficiently as she cooked.  I will never forget the sight of that lady, carrying on her cooking in rather inconvenient conditions.  She had a nice countenance and seemed to be perfectly happy with her lot in life.  I am sure she had handled many challenges in life — and she had survived.
  
These are the kind of people I like to remember.  I don’t know their names, or where they live, but they made an impression on me and in a way became a lesson for me.  They were brave, met the challenges life dealt them, and kept on trying.



Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Who Would Have Thought It, A World Without -----------


As a person that has lived a long time, I can’t help thinking of the things that are gone now.  It is interesting how we lose things that were so familiar in another time and don’t even realize they are going away.  It is like a real live magic show, now you see it and now you don’t.  It is called life.  However, I would like to document some things that are no more, and that I miss.

I could not have imagined a time when there was no Texaco station on every corner.  In the 1950’s I was a partner in owning a Texaco filling station.  I don't hear that term much today, a filling station. The big Texaco sign was a welcome beacon to those that needed their automobile filled with gas, oil checked, washed, or serviced.  And of course at 33ȼ a gallon, folks didn’t often fill up completely because $2.00 bought six gallons and you could go a long way on six gallons.  Especially young folks didn’t fill up very often.

It was standard procedure to pull up to the pumps and someone would come out, greet you, ask what was needed, they would do it, and you never had to get out of your car. And windows were always washed and kept spick and span with the regular attention.

I don’t mind filling my own gas but it sure was a nice thing in the old days.  I can’t remember when they went completely away, but I am grateful I can remember so well those "full service" days.

Woolworth stores, oh my, they were a standard item in almost every American town I ever lived in. You didn't have to look far in a new town to see where the Woolworth store was.  They were in the center of any town.  The wonders of taking a 50 cent allowance to Woolworth's and shop for the longest time deciding what to buy.  Coloring books, paper dolls, puzzles, jacks, games, crayons, paints, toy cars and trucks for David. I didn't notice any adults watching us with suspicious eagle eyes.  Maybe they were there, but they didn't make it obvious at all.  We could handle things and try them out and take our time deciding how to spend our allowance. The one thing my mom always tried to do is give us an allowance every week. Sometimes she missed but not too often.
And then there was the lunch counter in every Woolworth store.  It was a good way to start feeling grown up, to sit up there at the counter and order a Coke or other soft drink.  What neat memories, and I am sad to say they are gone now.  For awhile there was an offshoot of Woolworth called Woolco Stores but those rode off into the sunset as well.  Woolworth Stores were an important and subtle piece of our childhood memories.  I love the memory.
Oh the wonderful world of drive in theaters.  It was THE place to be in the 1950's.  It was the first step to being independent, out of the house, not under the scrutiny of parents.  Of course, the idea was to watch the movie, but somtimes it was also a place to meet up with friends and see what was new with them.  Who went to work where, and who was going with who, important things like that.  And of course, who had been called up to go to Korea.
Or sometimes it was a place to get very well acquainted with the opposite sex.  Many a teenage romance started in a drive in theater. It was the perfect place to cuddle up and feel all grown up with no adults watching.  One big danger was to fall asleep and not wake up until after your curfew.  There were a few other things as well, but we won't spell those out right now.  Just use your imagination.

Falling asleep was the theme of the Everly Brothers hit song "Wake Up A Little Susie".  I can personally relate to that song, along with the whole generation that were teenagers in the 50's.  It seems a tame event compared to the ways of teenagers today, but I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

What were record stores? Saturday night was a special night when I was a kid.  It was the only night, other than Wednesdays, that stores were open until 9pm.  Drug stores and grocery stores were usually open late, but the regular stores weren=t.  I spent many a Saturday night at Zoellner=s Music Store.  I would save up my babysitting money and my allowance and buy 78 rpm records for my little record player.  When you went in the music store, there were big deep bins that held records.  They were sorted by the type of music, Popular, Western, Classical, Jazz, Easy Listening, etc.  I would thumb through the records and if I found one I thought I would like, I would take it to one of the little listening rooms along the wall of the store.  They were a cubicle, about big enough for two people.  There was a shelf with a record player on it and two chairs.  That is where I listened to the record to decide if I wanted to buy it.  If I didn=t like it I would put it back in the wrapper and put it back in the record bin. Try doing that today at WalMart.


              It seems like an image from another world to me, now.  It seemed perfectly normal then.

Last in my reverie today, the days of the phone booth. It was a symbol of getting help if you needed it. It was the beginning of a phenonemon that we have advanced to a much higher level today.  The idea that you would need to talk to someone while you were out and about your errands, to or from work, in case of car trouble etc, etc.  But you had to physically get to it by walking!  For quite some time it was a reliable way to call someone.  In the last years it was not so reliable, mainly because it wasn't needed as much, so no maintenance was done on them. They finally went the way of other old technologies. But in their heyday they were the latest and greatest.  Not exactly a safe thing, especially in the very unsafe world we live in today.  Especially at night, when you were sort of trapped inside, and everyone could see you in that situation.  And of course, there was the last minute fumbling for coins, and the anxiety of "is it working?"  Maybe this is the least of my things I sort of miss.

As a matter of fact, this is a good way to end the story for today.  Change is not bad.  Some things, and most things, needed to be changed.  It is what makes life interesting.  The constant change, and we need to embrace it, but without forgetting how it was before. I relish my lifetime and memories, but certainly enjoy the new and exciting things to come. Thanks for reading and listening.  Patj

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