Tag: American

Transcription: National Guard Discharge for Private Hervé Ducharme

Transcription: National Guard Discharge for Private Hervé Ducharme

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Following is my transcription of the National Guard Discharge for Private Hervé Ducharme.

Discharge for Private Hervé Ducharme.
National Guard Discharge for Private Hervé Ducharme.

NATIONAL GUARD OF THE UNITED STATES

and of the State of New Hampshire to all whom it may concern:

This is to Certify, that Hervé Ducharme, Private, First Class, Battery ‘A’, 172d Field Artillery, National Guard as a Testimonial of Honest and Faithful Serve, is hereby HONORABLY DISCHARGED from the NATIONAL GUARD of the UNITED STATES and of the State of New Hampshire by reason of Expiration of Term of Service.

Said Hervé Ducharme was born in Manchester, in the State of New Hampshire. When enlisted he was 21 2/12 years of age and by occupaton a Cigarmaker. He had Brown eyes, Brown hair, Medium complexion, and was 5 feet 5 inches in height.

Given under my hand at Manchester, New Hampshire this 12th day of March, on thousand nine hundred and thirty-nine.

Signed by:
John Jacobson, Jr., Colonel, 172 F.A. Commanding

_____________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Grandmère Rose – Marie Marguerite Rose Amande Emery

Grandmère Rose – Marie Marguerite Rose Amande Emery

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Being the child of a military member has one huge drawback – we didn’t have any control over where we lived, when or for how long. As a result, contact with family members was infrequent at best and I do regret not getting to know our relatives better.

My grandparents on my father’s side were Henri Joseph Turmaine (Henri) and Marie Marguerite Rose Amande Emery (Rose Amande).

Gail, Gerard, Grandma Rose and Christine (front) Turmaine
Rear l-r: Patricia-Gail (Gail), Gerard Ronald Joseph (Gerry), Rose Amande Turmaine; Front: Christine Blythe (Turmaine).

Dad, Gerard Ronald Joseph Turmaine (1934-2005) was the youngest of three children who survived infancy. Dad’s brothers and sisters included Albert Joseph Turmaine (1923-1966), Rose-Marie Azilda Thérèse Turmaine (1929-2003), and Marianne Claudette Andrea Turmaine (1937-1937).

The Turmaine Family
Turmaine Family: Theresa, Henry (Grandpère), Gerard (Dad), Rose (Grandmère), and Joseph.

Therese Paquette (Turmaine) with Christine.
Ma tante Thérèse Paquette and Christine Blythe (Turmaine) circa 1989.

I was too young to remember much about my grandfather Henri as he died in 1966 in General Hospital in Toronto. I know I saw Grandma Rose quite frequently within the first few years of my life, but again, I was too young to remember much. When I turned 10 in 1970, however, that all changed since we were transferred from Ontario to Comox, British Columbia. We took the last opportunity to visit everyone we could that summer on our trip across the country.

I can remember one particular visit where we were permitted to stay at the cottage of cousins, the Pollaris, at Loon Lake in Ontario. What a beautiful cottage it was, too. A semi-circle shape, the front circular side rested on posts in the lake shore, extending over the water. That entire side of the cottage was one big great room and standing in it felt like being in motion on the lake.

I do remember being awestruck in Grandmère’s home. She was a highly devoted Catholic and as soon as we walked in, we were overwhelmed by praying hands, her obsession. There were praying hands statues, prints, and paintings everywhere.  I can remember being told when I was young that Grandmère’s ambition was for Dad to become a Catholic priest and how disappointed she was when he opted for the military instead and married my mother. Knowing my father, he definitely chose the path that suited his own nature and ambitions, especially considering his naughty, rather raunchy sense of humor. Somehow, I don’t think it would have gone over very well as a priest.

Front: Rose Amande and her mother Émilie Labelle, Rear: Unknown Cousin
Front: Rose Armande Emery seated next to her mother, Émilie (Labelle), wife of Charles (Albert) Emery. MIddle: Betty Turmaine, daughter of Hérmènégilde and Azilda Labelle.

A couple of years later, we saw Grandmère Rose one last time in about 1972 when she came to visit us in Comox. She passed away in 1978. Tante Thérèse came out in 1987 for my sister Andréa’s wedding, in 1989 for Renée’s wedding and in 1991 for my own wedding to Mark. She passed away in 2003 in Chateaugay, Québec. It may seem odd that I haven’t mentioned Dad’s brother, my uncle Albert Joseph, but unfortunately, he had committed suicide just prior to Grandpère Henri’s death in 1966.

Grandmère Rose’s father was Charles Albert Emery, who was born in about 1870 in Vermont, United States and died in about 1915. Her mother was Émilie Labelle, born about 1870 in St. André Avellin, Ripon, Papineau County, Québec to Antoine Labelle (1820-1890) and Joséphine Périllard (born 1844), both of Québec. In addition to Grandmère Rose, they had four other children, of whom one was Pte. Joseph Philias Albert (1889-1917) who was missing in action and presumed dead at Vimy Ridge during WWII. His name is only one of many immortalized on the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France.

Oddly enough, my father’s grandfather Herménégilde (father-in-law to Grandmère Rose) took Marie Joséphine Azilda Labelle as his second wife in 1911. Azilda was sister to Joséphine (and Rose’s grandmother).

Children of Antoine Labelle and Joséphine Périard (Périllard)
Children of Antoine Labelle and Joséphine Périllard.

Antoine Labelle (1820-1890) was the son of Antoine Labelle and Marie Isaac Duplanty dit Héry of Québec, and had been married twice, first to Émilie Fournelle and second on November 23, 1863 to Joséphine Périllard (my great great grandmother), born 1844 in Ste. Magdeleine Rigaud, Vaudreuil, Québec to Michel Périllard and Zoé (Madeleine, Michel) Demers. The 1852 Census of Canada East shows Joséphine Périllard with her parents, brothers and sisters living in 274 Petite Nation Parish, St-André Avellin, Ottawa County.

Antoine and Joséphine’s six children included Émilie Labelle (born 1870), Antoine Labelle (1872-1944), Célima (Délima) (born 1874), Joseph (1877-1944), Marguerite (1880-1960), Azilda (1884-1933).

During my extensive research into my French Canadian ancestry, I’ve come to realize one thing – there are no surprises. Families remained close in proximity and emotion, and marriage within the inner circle – and yes, family, according to the laws of consanguinity of the Catholic church was commonplace.

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Transcription – Obituary for Elam Dennis Matthews, 96

Transcription – Obituary for Elam Dennis Matthews, 96

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The following is my transcription of the obituary for Elam Dennis Matthews of Louisa County, Iowa, published in the local newspaper at the time.

Area Deaths
______________
Aged Louisa County Resident Dies
Obituary for Elam Dennis Matthews.
Obituary for Elam Dennis Matthews.

Wapello — Elam Dennis Matthews, 96, one of the oldest residents of Louisa county, died Jan. 1[0], at 3:10 p. m., at the home of his daughter Mrs. Roland Barrick. Death resulted from a stroke suffered New Year’s day.

A native of Neenah, Wis., Matthews was born Dec. 1, 1854, the son of David and Mary Ann Adams Coon. His mother died when he was 3 1/2 years old and his father died while a prisoner of the Confederate army. The child was adopted by the Nathan Matthews family of Omro, Wis. He married Martha Jane Jordan at Auroraville, Wis., Oct. 26, 1873, and they lived in Wisconsin and Colorado before coming to Iowa.

In 1899 Matthews began to operate a truck farm near Morning Sun, which he ran for many years before retiring and moving into Morning Sun. His wife died in 1935 and a son, William Matthews, died in 1940.

Despite his advanced age, Matthews was a very active man. When he was 94 he made a trip to California, and last fall took a trip to New York.

Surviving are a son and a daughter, Stanley Matthews, Morning Sun, and Mrs. Edith Barrick, Wapello, and 11 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Last rites will be held at the Pierce funeral home at 2 p. m. Saturday. Officiating will be Dr. Will M. Hughes, pastor of the United Presbyterian church. Burial will be in Elmwood cemetery.

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Transcription: Death Certificate for Joseph William Hervé (Babe) Ducharme

Transcription: Death Certificate for Joseph William Hervé (Babe) Ducharme

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Following is the death certificate for Joseph William Hervé (Babe) Ducharme

Death Certificate of Joseph William Herve Ducharme
Death Certificate of Joseph William Hervé (Babe) Ducharme

CITY OF BIDDEFORD

COUNTY OF YORK

No. 95

I, Luc A. Angers City Clerk of said City of Biddeford, depose and testify that I have in my official capacity as City Clerk the books and records of said city, including the records of births, deaths and marriages. I find recorded therein the following in the record of Deaths:

Name:   Herve Ducharme

Place of Death:   Biddeford, Maine

Date of Death:
Year:   1982
Month:   December
Day:   19th

Age:
Years:   68
Months:
Days:

Place of Birth:   New Hampshire

Sex:   Male

Color:   White

Married, Single, Widowed or Divorced:   Married

Occupation:   Salwsman

Name of Father:   Joseph Ducharme

Maiden Name of Mother:   Alice Tremblay

Cause of Death:   Massive Intercerebral bleeds, ? Hypertension

Name of Physician reporting said Death:   James W. Geortitis, M.D.

I further depose that I have no interest in the prosecution of any claim against the U.S. Government, or otherwise of the above.

I hereby certify that the above is a true copy on information contained on the record of the above named person, which is in my official custody.

Attest:   Luc A. Angers City Clerk

Biddeford,   December 27, 1982

____________________

The complete original scans of any documents clips linked above can be accessed by clicking the images. To access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, search using the linked names above or the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link, both in the left sidebar. It is recommended to search using both methods as the results do sometimes differ. All data on these sites is available for free access and download.



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I learn my husband may be descended from the first documented slave in America, John Punch…

I learn my husband may be descended from the first documented slave in America, John Punch…

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African slave in America, John Punch.
Barack Obama is descended from the first documented African slave in America, John Punch.
A while ago I learned from news headlines that President Barack Obama is descended via marriage from John Punch, the first documented African slave in America. He was an indentured servant declared a slave for life in punishment for attempting an escape in 1640.

Ancestry.com has been researching Barack Obama’s ancestry for several years and has declared that Barack Obama is the eleventh great grandson of the first documented African slave in American history, John Punch and eighth cousin to my husband, Mark.

If this is true, then by virtue of the connection of my husband Mark and Barck Obama through Ulrich Stehle (1720-1773), who was sixth great grandfather to Mark and seventh great grandfather to Barack Obama, Mark and Barack are eighth cousins.

In the words of Joseph Shumway, genealogist with Ancestry.com , “Two of the most historically significant African Americans in the history of our country are amazingly directly related.” What is wholly surprising is that the connection exists through his Caucasian mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, and not his Kenyan father.

John Punch, an indentured servant in Colonial Virginia, was declared a slave for life in punishment for trying to escape in 1640.

Ancestry.com states further that they used DNA analysis to learn that Stanley Ann Dunham’s ancestors were white landowners in Colonial Virginia, who were actually descendants of one African man, John Punch.

President Obama is traditionally viewed as an African-American because of his father’s heritage in Kenya. However, while researching his Caucasian mother, Stanley Ann Dunham’s lineage, Ancestry.com genealogists found her to have African heritage as well, which piqued the researchers’ interest and inspired further digging into Obama’s African-American roots. With the support of existing documents and DNA, it is believed that John Punch had children with a Caucasian woman, and her free status was subsequently passed on to their children. Her descendants continued to be free land owners in Virginia.

The findings were further reviewed and verified by Elizabeth Shown Mills, past president of the Board of Certification of Genealogists and a Southern research expert. She states, “In reviewing Ancestry.com ‘s conclusions, I weighed not only the actual findings but also Virginia’s laws and social attitudes when John Punch was living,” said Mills. She further states, “A careful consideration of the evidence convinces me that the Y-DNA evidence of African origin is indisputable, and the surviving paper trail points solely to John Punch as the logical candidate.

Source:

  1. Ancestry.com ” target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”>Ancestry.com Press Release.

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Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky

Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky

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Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky is the grandson of the original immigrant from Wales, Evan (Dhu) Shelby (Selby), who is eighth great grandfather to my children, Erin and Stuart; the son of Brigadier General Evan Shelby, who is the son of Evan (Dhu) and seventh great granduncle to my children; and is therefore first cousin eight times removed from my children.

Although not a direct ancestor of my husband, Marshall Mark (Mark) Blythe or our children, Isaac Shelby is of great interest to us for a couple of reasons. First, he was renowned for and distinguished himself for his actions in battle against United Empire Loyalists in Canada in the War of 1812, ultimately defeating Loyalist forces at the Battle of the Thames in southern Ontario. We are also related to and are descended from Loyalists who settled in this area. For a lengthy period of time, we lived in Trenton, Ontario which is located in the area of Loyalist activities and battles against American forces. This area is steeped in this history and it is still considered to be an honor to be from a Loyalist lineage.

Marshall Matthews Blythe
Marshall Matthews Blythe
Portrait of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky.
Portrait of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky.

Second, because Isaac Shelby is so revered in history, there are accurate portraits of him during the latter period of his life available. Upon comparing portraits of him with recent pictures of my father-in-law, Marshall Matthews Blythe (father to my husband Mark and grand-father to my children Erin and Stuart), the resemblance between them is quite remarkable. For clarification, Isaac is first cousin six times removed to my father-in-law.

Isaac Shelby (December 11, 1750 – July 18, 1826) was a revered and decorated soldier and the first Governor of Kentucky.

The son of Brigadier General Evan and Letitia (Cox) Shelby, Isaac was born December 11, 1750 near North Mountain, Frederick (now Washington) County, Maryland.

Having been raised with the use of arms, he became proficient at an early age and was very familiar with and accustomed to the hardships and stresses of frontier life. Isaac worked on his father’s plantation. However, having received an education, he was occasionally employed as a surveyor and also as Deputy Sheriff.

About 1773, the Shelby family moved to the Holston region of Southwest Virginia, now East Tennessee, where they established a new home. A timeline of Isaac Shelby’s military and political career thereafter is as follows:

1774

  • Isaac Shelby served at the Battle of Point Pleasant as a Lieutenant under his father, Brigadier General Evan Shelby, in the Fincastle Company on October 10.
  • Second in command of the garrison of Fort Blair (until July 1775), which was built on the site of the battle. An uprising of the Shawnee and Delaware Indians compelled Isaac to take up arms and he served as a Lieutenant under his father Brigadier Evan Shelby in the Battle of Point Pleasant in West Virginia.
  • He fought in the Battle of Kenhawa of 10 October. This was believed to be the most severely contested campaign ever fought with the north-western Indians.

1775

  • After July of 1775, he visited Kentucky and surveyed lands for the Transylvania Company.
  • After returning to Kentucky due to failing health, he became involved in the Battle of Long Island Flats.
  • At the first onset of the Indians, the American lines were broken and Shelby, who was there only as a volunteer Private, seized command, reformed the troops, and severely defeated the Indians.

1776

  • In July he was appointed by the Virginia Committee of Safety to the position of Captain of a company of minute men. However, he was not called into service.

1777

  • Governor Patrick Henry promoted Shelby to Captain and made him Commissary-General of the Virginia forces.
  • He attended the Long Island Treaty with the Cherokees, which was finalized at Fort Patrick Henry on July 20, 1777, at which his father was one of the Virginia commissioners.

1778

  • Helped to provide supplies for the Continental Army and for the expedition projected by General McIntosh against Detroit and the Ohio Indians.

1779

  • Provided boats for Clark’s Illinois campaign and collected and provided supplies upon his own personal credit for the successful campaign waged about the same time against the Chickamauga Indians.
  • In the spring he was elected as a member for Washington County of the Virginia legislature.
  • In the fall, Governor Thomas Jefferson made him a Major in the escort of guards for the commissioners appointed to run the western boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina. By the extension of that line, his residence was found to be within the limits of North Carolina.
  • He resigned his commission, but was at once appointed Colonel of Sullivan County by Governor Caswell.

1780

  • Upon receiving news of the fall of Charleston on May 12th, he returned home to an urgent summons for help from Colonel Charles McDowell.
  • He organized a force and about July 25, he joined McDowell at the Cherokee Ford, South Carolina.
  • On July 30, Shelby captured the major Loyalist stronghold, Thicketty Fort (Fort Anderson), at the head of the Pacolet River. On August 8, his command successfully repulsed a party sent by Major Ferguson at the second Battle of Cedar Springs.
  • Upon receipt of the report of General Gates’ defeat at Camden on August 16, operations under McDowell and Shelby were halted.
  • On August 18, he was largely responsible for the victory at Battle of Musgrove’s Mill on the north side of the Enoree River.
  • As a result of a threatening message dispatched by Ferguson, Shelby held even greater resentment and determination and in consequence, with the assistance of John Sevier and others, he organized and conducted the expedition against Ferguson.
  • On October 7, they overwhelmingly defeated Ferguson’s combined Provincial and Loyalist force in the Battle of King’s Mountain.

1781

  • Shelby has also been credited with the plan for the attack, which led to the Battle of the Cowpens on January 17.
  • In February, the legislature of North Carolina adopted resolutions of thanks to Shelby and his compatriots for their services at King’s Mountain.
  • Similar resolutions were adopted by the Continental Congress on November 13.
  • As a result of repeated uprisings by Cherokee Indians during the first half of the year, it was impractical to send forces from there to assist.
  • A treaty with the Cherokees was negotiated on July 20.
  • In October, upon receipt of a delayed message of appeal, Shelby raised 500 mounted riflemen and was accompanied by Colonel John Sevier in command of 200 more.
  • He marched to join Greene, by whose order they reported to General Marion on the Santee.
  • The joint command of Shelby and Colonel Hezekiah Maham, of the Carolina dragoons, contributed greatly to the capture of a strong British post at Fair Lawn, near Monck’s Corner, South Carolina on November 27.
  • Meanwhile, having been elected a member of the North Carolina legislature and having obtained a leave of absence, he attended the sessions in December.

1782

  • Reelected to the North Carolina Assembly, he attended the legislative sessions held at Hillsboro in April.
  • He was appointed one of three commissioners to superintend the laying off of the land south of the Cumberland River allotted by North Carolina for military service in the Revolution.

1783

  • Completed the laying off of the land south of the Cumberland River.
  • He relocated to Kentucky, where he was married to Susannah Hart, daughter of Captain Nathaniel Hart, at Boonesborough on April 19, by whom he had eleven children.
  • Appointed a Trustee of Transylvania Seminary (later Transylvania University).
  • Chairman of the convention of militia officers held at Danville on Nov. 7-8 (was also a member 1787-1789).

1787

  • In January 1791, he was appointed a member of the Board of War, which was created by Congress for the District of Kentucky, and was charged with providing for the defense of the frontier settlements mounting punitive expeditions against the Indians.
  • For several years he served as High Sheriff of Lincoln County.

1792

  • Member of the convention (April 2-19) which framed the first constitution of Kentucky.
  • In May he was elected Governor, taking office on June 4 and serving four years.
  • During his administration many events of importance to the infant commonwealth occurred, not the least being the part it took, under Shelby, in supporting Wayne’s campaigns against the Indians in the Northwest Territory.

1796

  • At the close of his term, he declined reelection.

1796-1812

  • Retired from service.

1812

  • Elected Governor of Kentucky a second time in August.
  • He actively participated in the planning and preparation for war.

1813

  • With a sword presented to him by Henry Clay as voted by the legislature of North Carolina for his gallantry at King’s Mountain 32 years before, Shelby assembled and personally led 4,000 Kentucky volunteers to join General Harrison in the Northwest for the invasion of Canada, resulting in the defeat of the Loyalists on October 5 at the Battle of the Thames.

1817

  • He was given the portfolio of War in March by President Monroe, but declined due to his age.

1818

  • Isaac Shelby was awarded a gold medal by Congress on April 4 in recognition of his patriotic and heroic services.
  • Shelby and General Andrew Jackson were commissioned to hold a treaty with the Chickasaw Indians for the purchase of their lands west of the Tennessee River.
  • He was President of the first Kentucky Agricultural Society, formed at Lexington in 1818.

1819

  • He was Chairman of the first Board of Trustees of Center College, founded in 1819 at Danville, Kentucky.
Governor Isaac Shelby - Traveler's Rest Burying Ground Plaque
Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky – Traveler’s Rest Burying Ground Plaque.

1826

  • After his death on July 18, he was buried at his historic home, “Traveller’s Rest,” and a monument was erected over his grave by the state of Kentucky. Counties in nine states have been named Shelby in his honor. __________ An account of Governor Isaac Shelby by Samuel M. Wilson is as follows:

 

Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky - Grave Marker.
Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky – Grave Marker.

“In person, Shelby was of a sturdy and well-proportioned frame, slightly above medium height, with strongly marked features and florid complexion. He had a hardy constitution capable of enduring protracted labor, great privations, and the utmost fatigue. Habitually dignified and impressive in bearing, he was, however, affable and winning. A soldier born to command, he nevertheless evidenced a high degree of political sagacity and executive ability. Numerous difficulties confronted him during his first administration, when the new government was passing through its formative stage, and much depended on the choice of officials then made by the executive. Shelby exhibited rare selective intelligence and an extraordinary mastery both of men and measures. Kentucky at this time experienced constant dread of the occlusion by Spain of the Mississippi River, and use was made of this situation by designing men to promote speculative ventures and political schemes hostile to the true interests of both Kentucky and the Union. Through it all, Shelby pursued a wise and moderate course which baffled the plots of all conspirators and held Kentucky firmly to her federal moorings. During his second administration, the pressure of the war with Great Britain fell with extraordinary and unremitting severity upon the state, and he showed himself not only a prudent and farseeing counselor, but an active, resourceful, and patriotic leader. His energy, determination, and perseverance knew no bounds, and his devotion to duty was unflagging.”

You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site are available for free access and download.

Sources:

  1. Shelby, John Todd: KERR, C. ed. History of Kentucky, v. 3-5, 1922 #4.
  2. History of Michigan; Moore, C.; v. 2-4; 1915; Shelby, William Read.
  3. Family Data Collection – Births; Shelby, Alfred, 1765.
  4. Family Data Collection – Individual Records; Shelby, Nancy, 1792.
  5. 1860 US Census; Shelby, John Warren, b. 1835; PO Lexington; Roll M653_365; Pg 0.
  6. Shelby, Isaac Flournoy: KERR, C. ed. History of Kentucky, v. 3-5, 1922.
  7. The Pioneer Mothers of America 1; Shelby, Susannah Hart; Green, H.C. and M.W.; 3 v., 1912.
  8. American Biographical and Historical Dictionary; Shelby, Isaac; Allen (W); 1832.
  9. Military Heroes of the War of 1812; Shelby, Evan; Peterson, C.J.; 1848.
  10. Eminent Americans; Shelby, Isaac; Lossing, B.J.; 1857.
  11. National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans; Shelby, Isaac; 4v.; 1865.
  12. Dictionary of American Biography; Shelby, Isaac; Drake, F.S.; 1870.
  13. Biographical Annals of the Civil Government of the US…; Shelby, Isaac; Lanman, C.; 1876.
  14. Biographical Encyclopaedia of Kentucky; Shelby, Isaac; 1878.
  15. National Cyclopaedia of American Biography; Shelby, Isaac; v.1-13; 1898, 1893-1909.
  16. Harper’s Encyclopaedia of American History; Shelby, Isaac; 10v.; 1902.
  17. Century Cyclopedia of Names; Shelby, Isaac; 1904.
  18. Herringshaw’s National Library of American Biography; Shelby, Isaac; Herringshaw, T.W.; 5v.; 1909-14.
  19. Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army…; Shelby, Isaac; 1775, to… 1783; new, rev. & enl. ed. 1914.
  20. History of Kentucky; Shelby, Isaac; Kerr, C. ed.; v.3-5; 1922.
  21. An American Biographical and Historical Dictionaryy; Shelby, Isaac; Allen, W.; 2nd ed.; 1832.
  22. US Army Historical Register; Shelby, Isaac; 1789-1903; Vol. 1.
  23. Appleton’s Cyclopaedia of American Biography; Shelby, Evan; 6 vol.; 1888.
  24. 1820 US Census; Shelby, Isaac; 1750; Roll No. M33_25; Pg 59; Image No. 38.
  25. Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1500s-1900s; Shelby, Isaac.
  26. Settlers of Maryland 1679 – 1783; Consolidated Edition; Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.; 2002; Pg 597.
  27. Kentucky Land Grants, Shelby, Isaac; Jillson, Willard Rouse; The Kentucky Land Grants, Vol. I-II, Louisville, KY: Filson Club Publications, 1925.
  28. US and International Marriage Record; Shelby, Isaac b 1750; 1560-1900.
  29. Shelby, Isaac; KY Historical Society: http://kentucky.gov/kyhs/hmdb/MarkerSearch.aspx?mode=Subject&subject=185. KW-N-399-3.
  30. Dictionary of American Biography; Shelby, Isaac.
  31. DAR; Mrs. Maria Shelby Tevis Field; DAR ID Number 7785; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; Vol. 8; Pg 265.
  32. DAR; Anna Stein Shelby (Annie Shelby Darbishire); National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number; Vol. 11; Pg 182.
  33. DAR; Mrs. Alice McDowell Shelby Riddle; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 16130; Vol. 17, Pg 51.
  34. DAR; Mrs. Katherine Shelby Scott; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 18004; Vol. 19; Pg 3.
  35. DAR; Miss Katharine Shelby Todd; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 25234; Vol. 26; Pg 83.
  36. DAR; Mrs. Laura Shelby Fisher; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number; Vol. 42; Pg 154.
  37. DAR; Mrs. Mary P. Shelby Napton; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 62264; Vol. 63, Pg 87.
  38. DAR; Miss Christine Shelby; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 68811; Vol. 69; Pg 291.
  39. DAR; Miss Shelby Walker Patton; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 83679; Vol. 84; Pg 263.
  40. DAR; Miss Susan Shelby Taylor; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number 85134; Vol. 86; Pg 51.
  41. DAR; Mrs. Ann Shelby Magoffin Austin; National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution; DAR ID Number; Vol. 114; Pg 141.
  42. “Soldiers of the American Revolution from Franklin County,”  database, Ancestry.com http://search.ancestry.com; extracted from  (N.p.:n.p.n.d.).Revolutionary Soldiers in Kentucky p. 174.74.
  43. Shelby Historical Data (Chronology for Evan Shelby, Jr. and Letitia Cox), online http://images.google.ca/imgres?imgurl=http://www.trolinger.com, accessed.


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Stehle Ancestry

Stehle Ancestry

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In a previous post, Relationship Chart of Mark Blythe to Barack Obama, I posted the Stehle ancestry chart showing the connection between Barack Obama and my husband, through their common ancestor, Ulrich Stehle.
Stehle Ancestry: First Page of Gabriel Steely's Court Document
Stehle Ancestry: First Page of Gabriel Steely’s Court Document

Ulrich Stehle Sr. was my children’s eighth great-grandfather. He was born in Europe (presumably in Holland or Germany) in about 1699, married Anna (parents unknown) on September 21, 1732 at about the age of 33. He, Anna, and their three children emigrated from Rotterdam on the ship Pink Plaisance to Philadelphia, USA.

His children were all born prior to the family’s emigration to the USA and were Hans Peter Stehle (Steely), born about 1716; Anna Barbra Stehle (Steely), also born about 1716; and Ulrich Stehle (Steely) Jr., born about 1720 and dying in 1773.

Stehle Ancestry: Second Page of Gabriel Steely's Court Document
Stehle Ancestry: Second Page of Gabriel Steely’s Court Document

Ulrich Steely (Stehle) Jr., seventh great-grandfather to Erin and Stuart, also married an Anna, who was born about 1705 and died about 1793. Ulrich Jr. was born in Europe (some sources say in Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, but according to the documented timeline, this is highly doubtful). He died in abt 1773 in Derry Township, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania, USA.

Ulrich Jr.’s children were Sarah Steely (1755-1829), Jacob Steely (1756-1829), Christiana Steely (born 1759), Gabriel Steely (1763-1830), Lazarus Steely (1764-1808), Henry Steely (born 1765), and Mary Steely (1766-1835).

Sarah Steely, daughter of Ulrich Steely, Jr. died and was buried in 1829. Her headstone reads, “Sarah, wife of William Frampton, died July 6, 1829, aged seventy-four years.”

Gabriel Steely son of Ulrich Steely Jr., was sixth great-grandfather to my children and was born August 19, 1763 in Pennsylvania, USA. He is said to have died May 2, 1830 at about 66 years of age in Kingston, Ohio and was buried May 4, 1830 in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Kingston, Ross County, Ohio, USA.

One point of interest about Gabriel Steely is the fact that there are records regarding court proceedings in a suit he brought against Joshua Gay and Joshua Gay, Jr. over an unpaid debt (click on thumbnails below to see full documents).

Gabriel married Mary Meek (1767-1850), daughter of Capt. George Meek and Rachel Herron, before 1785. They had ten children: John (1785-1842), Sarah (1793-1860), Meek (1797-1865), George Ray (born about 1800), Reuben (Ruban) (born about 1802), Elizabeth (1811-1880), as well as David, William Wallace, Isabell and Sally, the latter four’s birth dates being unknown. Some records indicate that Mary’s surname at the time of her marriage was Stuart.  Could she have been previously married, or was there a second wife at sometime named Mary Stuart?

According to “Brief History of Pickaway County, Ohio”, Gabriel was among the earliest settlers, settling in Pickaway Township in 1807.

 Sources:

  1. Obama Family Tree, Chicago Sun Times; September 9, 2007.
  2. 1790 Census, Mifflin County, Pennsylvania ; digital images, (http://dgmweb.net/genealogy/FGS/S/SteelyUlrich-Anna_.shtml.
  3. US Census, “Mifflin County, Pennsylvania,” http://dgmweb.net/genealogy/FGS/S/SteelyUlrich-Anna_.shtml.
  4. “Names of Foreigners Who Took the Oath of Allegiance to the Province and State of Pennsylvania, 1727-1775, with the Foreign Arrivals, 1786-1808.,” database, http://dgmweb.net/genealogy/FGS/S/StehleUlrich-Anna_.shtml.
  5. 1790 US Census; Steely, Gabriel;. Roll No. M637_9; Pg 154; Image 0318.
  6. Brief History of Pickaway Township, Pickaway County, Ohio.
  7. History of Pickaway County; www.heritagepursuit.com/Pickaway/PickawayChapXIII.htm.
  8. 1800 US Census; Steely, Gabriel; Roll No. M32_37; Pg 496; Image 19.
  9. Court Judgment in Suit of Gabriel Steely vs. Joshua Gay and John Gay; May 17, 1830 – May 27, 1831.
  10. John Stroup and Mary Steely, database; http://dgmweb.net/genealogy/FGS/Stro/StroupJohn-MarySteely.shtml.

For more facts and dates about the above mentioned individuals, check out our family’s extensive genealogy database.


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Transcription: Obituary for Carolyn Alma Hodgson (nee Johnson)

Transcription: Obituary for Carolyn Alma Hodgson (nee Johnson)

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Following is my transcription of the obituary for Carolyn Alma Hodgson (nee Johnson), who died in Cairns, Australia. A memorial service was held in Bethel Lutheran Church in Brush Prairie, Washington on August 27, 1995.

Carolyn Alma Hodgson ObituaryCarolyn Alma Hodgson

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 27, 1995, in Bethel Lutheran Church in Brush Prairie, Wash. Mrs. Hodgson died of a ruptured aorta Aug. 19 in Cairns, Australia, at age 52.

She was born March 14, 1943, in Becker County, Minn. Her maiden name was Johnson. She moved to the Northwest in 1957 and graduated from Central Washington State College. She married Donald L. Hodgson on June 18, 1966. They lived in Beaverton, and she taught at Oregon Episcopal School and worked for ‘Timberline Lodge.

They moved to Papua New Guinea in 1982.

Surviving are her husband; sons, Eric of Dallas, Texas, and Fernando of Gresham; daughters, Anaka of Bradleboro, Vt., and Leyla Bartruff of Troutdale; mother Esther Johnson of Battle Ground, Wash; sister, Alice Olsen of Battle Ground; brothers, Stanley Johnson of Arlington, Wash., and Arvid Johnson of Battle Ground; and four grandchildren.

Disposition by cremation.

Remembrances: Lae Hospital Save the Children Fund, in care of Bethel Lutheran Church, 12919 N.E. 159th, Brush Prairie, Wash. 98606.

________

The image of the obituary for Carolyn Alma Hodgson above links directly to the transcription of the document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data on this site is available for free access and download.


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Genealogy Database

Genealogy Database

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Athelwulf, King of Wessex
Athelwulf, King of Wessex

Our Blythe Genealogy Database

After extensive work, my genealogy database is now updated and links can be found in the upper menu or in the left sidebar. There are thousands of surnames and the extensive lineages include Welsh Quaker immigrants to the USA, French Canadian, Acadian, American pioneers, Canadian pioneers, French, British, Welsh, German, Scandinavian and medieval and royal genealogies.

The database includes extensive facts, sources and some images.


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Tombstone: Anna E. Blythe (nee Murray)

Tombstone: Anna E. Blythe (nee Murray)

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Tombstone of Anna E. Blythe
Tombstone of Anna E. Blythe
The following is a transcription of the tombstone of Anna E. Blythe. Anna died August 9, 1925 in Danville, Vermilion, Illinois, USA.

Anna E. Murray

wife of

Charles E. Blythe

1873 – 1925

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


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DNA optics: seeing more clearly into the past than ever before.

DNA optics: seeing more clearly into the past than ever before.

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Another post about DNA and related discoveries?

Bering Strait land bridge DNA
Map of gene flow in and out of Beringia. Colors of the arrows correspond to approximate timing of the events and are decoded in the colored time bar. The initial peopling of Beringia (the region depicted in light yellow) was followed by a standstill after which the ancestors of the Native Americans spread swiftly all over the New World while some of the Beringian maternal lineages (C1a) spread westwards. More recent genetic exchange (shown in green) is manifested by back-migration of A2a into Siberia and the spread of D2a into north-eastern America that post-dated the initial peopling of the New World.

You bet. DNA news seems to be breaking increasingly more frequently as time goes on.

I recently found the news about the discovery through DNA that first peoples and asian peoples are definitely linked via DNA from the skeleton of a 12 to 18 month old boy discovered during construction on private property. The cause of the boy’s death is undetermined at this time.

Artifacts found buried with the boy were those of the earliest known native North Americans, in existence approximately 13,000 years ago – the Clovis people.

The determination of the origin of the young boy and the artifacts was made by comparison with other tools and artifacts from across North America.

The DNA analysis confirmed the boy was related to East Asian and Ancient Siberian people, confirming the oral tradition of many first nations people through the generations.

This discovery provides the first definitive DNA evidence of the long held theory that native people of the Americas descended from those who crossed the once existing land bridge across the Bering Strait, connecting Asia and North America.

It’s amazing to see how as we discover more and more about the minutia of what at first assessment is our enormous world, it actually appears considerably smaller through our blood and DNA connections.

Photo credit: Wikipedia.org


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Transcription: Biography of William Read Shelby; National cyclopaedia of American biography.

Transcription: Biography of William Read Shelby; National cyclopaedia of American biography.

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NOTE: In the biography of William Read Shelby as well as some biographies of earlier Shelbys, the birthplace is erroneously claimed to be Cameron, Wales, when in truth it was Tregaron, Carnarvon, Wales.

Biography of William Read Shelby
Biography of William Read Shelby

____________
1842-1930 (handwritten)

SHELBY, William Read, railroad president was born in Lincoln county, Ky., Dec. 4, 1842, eldest son of John Warren and Mary H. (Knight) Shelby, and a descendant of Evan Shelby, who came from Cameron, Wales, about 1740, and settled near Hagerstown, Md. Evan, son of Evan Shelby, was appointed brigadier-general by the state of Virginia, in 1779, for services rendered in Indian warfare. His son, Isaac Shelby, was the first governor of Kentucky. William Read Shelby acquired his eduation in the preparatory schools and at Centre College, Danville, Ky., his studies being cut short by the civil war, and subsequent occupation of Kentucky by the Federal and Confederate troops. As a member of the “Kentucky Home Guard,” he enrolled and recruited men for the Federal army. In 1863-5 he supplied wood to steamers on the Mississippi river at Isalnd No. 37, being protected by U. S. gunboats. From then until 1869, he was employed by the Adams Express Co., at Louisville, Ky., removing to Pittsburg to become secretary of the Continental Improvement Co. Among its first undertaking was the contract to build the Grand Rapids and Indiana railroad in Michigan and Indiana. Mr. Shelby took charge of a branch office at Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1871, having in the year previous been elected secretary and treasurer of the Grand Rapids & Indiana and the Michigan & Lake Shore railroad companies. On Jan. 1, 1892, he was made first vice-president of the former company, retaining the positions of treasurer and purchasing agent. In June, 1896, the Grand Rapids & Indiana

040

William Read Shelby bio
Biography of William Read Shelby

Railroad Co. was sold out under foreclosure proceedings ; a  new company, with the same name, was organized, and Mr. Shelby elected vice-president, treasurer and purchasing agent. In 1870-73 he held also the office of secretary and treasurer of the Southern Railway Security Co. On Oct. 16, 1899, he was elected president of the Muskegon, Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad Co. and president of the Big Rapids & Western Railroad Co., and on Oct. 14, 1899, he was elected president of the Cincinnati, Richmone & Fort Wayne Railroad Co. Mr. Shelby has been extensively interested in the development of farming interests in various sections of the country. He is a member of the board of directors of the First National Bank, later known as the ” Old National Bank, ” of Grand Rapids, and a stockholder in various manufacturing and mercantile concerns ; a member of the board of education, and chairman of its committee on grounds ; in 1888-93 he was a member and part of the time president of the board of public works. Mr. Shelby is a Democrat, and it was on his motion in the sound money conference in Chacago that the “Indianapolis convention” was held in 1896, causing the defeat of the Chicago platform and Bryan. He was chairman of the sound money Democratic organization in Michigan, which conducted so vigorous a campaign against “Free Silver and 16 to 1.” Mr. Shelby was married, June 16, 1869, at Sewickley, Pa., to Mary C., daughter of Gen. George W. Cass, the issue being five sons and two daughters.

The National cyclopaedia of
American biography.  v.1-13.
1898.  1893-1909.

041

The complete original scans of the document clips above can be accessed by clicking the image. To access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, click on the name link above, or search the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link in the upper right corner just below the search box and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar. It is recommended to search using both methods as the results do sometimes differ. All data on this site is available for free access and download.


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Transcription: Marriage Record for Oscar Thomas Blythe and Thirza Estelle McKim

Transcription: Marriage Record for Oscar Thomas Blythe and Thirza Estelle McKim

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Marriage for Oscar Blythe and Thirza McKim

This is my transcription of the marriage record for Oscar Thomas Blythe and Thirza Estelle McKim of August 9, 1930 in Butte Fourche, Butte County, South Dakota.

Marriage for Oscar Blythe and Thirza McKim

Original Form Text is black. Text entered by hand is blue.

_____________________________

South Dakota Department of Health

Division of Public Health Statistics                                                                                                                                            County No. 655

RECORD OF MARRIAGE                                                                                                                                                            State No. 139423

Date of Marriage: Aug      Month: 9      Day: Yr.: 1930

Where Solemnized: Butte Fourche

City, County: Butte

GROOM

Full Name: Oscar Thomas Blythe

Usual Residence: Nisland, Butte

(City, County) Butte

BRIDE

Full Name: Thirza Estelle McKim

Usual Residence: Fruitdale

(City, County) Butte

Age

(last birthday)

24

White X

Other

(state)

Date of Birth:

Age

(last birthday)

19

White X

Other

(state)

Date of Birth:

Place of Birth:

Place of Birth:

Number of times previously married:

Last Marital Status

Widowed Annulment

Divorced Never Married X

Number of times previously married:

Last Marital Status

Widowed Annulment

Divorced Never Married X

SDVS-11

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


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Transcription: Sworn Statement regarding the Birth of Matthew Coon

Transcription: Sworn Statement regarding the Birth of Matthew Coon

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The following is my transcription of the Sworn Statement regarding the birth of Matthew Coon.

State of Wisconsin
County of Waushara

Mrs. Mary Russell & Sarah Bradway being duly sworn upon their oaths say that they reside in said County and state that are acquainted with Isabel A. Coon widow of David Coon of Co A Batt Regt Wis Vols, and was acquainted with the said David in his lifetime.

That they were present at the births of Matthew E. Coon child of the said David and Isabel A. and know that he was born on the 3 day of November 1861 at the town of Bloomfield in said County and State.

They further say that they have no intent in any application in which this may relate.

Mary Russell

Sworn and subscribed before me this 27th day of February 1867 and I certify the affiants to be credible persons and that I have no intent in the claim of said Isabel A. for increase of pension  the word Poysippi erased & Bloomfield enten????? before signing —

James Russell  Justice of the Peace

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Transcription: Biography of Ervin Thornton and his family, of Tappen, New York.

Transcription: Biography of Ervin Thornton and his family, of Tappen, New York.

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Transcription: Biography of Ervin Thornton and his family, of Tappen, New York.

[Tappen, 1878 – 1966]

ERVIN THORNTON

Ervin Thornton family biography.
Ervin Thornton family biography.

On September 12. 1948 Ervin Thornton and Wynola Dewald were united in marriage in the Lutheran Church at Dawson. They were the first couple to be married in this church after it was moved there from Gackle. They made their home in Steele in a  home that was known as the “old Hi Maw House” from north of Tappen. Wynola’s father Christ Dewald moved it from Tappen to Dawson where it was for several years, then he moved it to Steele into the block next to the Archie Thornton home. This was their home for two years.

Ervin, son of Mr. and Mrs. Archie Thornton of Steele. was born in 1925 at Steele where he made his home and received his education. Ervin was the only boy in a family of four children. Rumor has it that at a very young age he was very handy with a sling shot. He could hit many targets but he was especially good at hitting a bent-over target. At the age of 16 he went to Portland, Oregon and worked on a housing project with his father. In 1944 he joined the Navy serving one ear in the states and one overseas in Japan. After his discharge he went into the trucking business for himself.

Wynola, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Christ Dewald, was born in 1930 in Napoleon. At the age of three she moved with her parents to a country store south of Dawson. She attended her elementary grades at a country school while living there. During her freshman year in high school, which she attended in Streeter, her  family moved to Dawson. Wynola graduated from Dawson High School in 1947. The following year she taught school south of Tappen in a country school near the Art J. Werre farm. After being married she taught one year north of Dawson and three years west of Steele.

In 1950 they purchased the Hoffer truckline and moved to Tappen where they are still living at present. Ervin and Wynola are the parents of four children: Donivan 15. Nanette 13, Bradley 11, and Wendell 9.

They are members of the St. John’s Lutheran Church in Tappen where Wynola teaches Sunday School and is a member of the Ladies Aid. In the fifteen years they have lived in Tappen they have found the people to be true friends and they enioy living there very much.

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Transcription: US WWII Draft Registration Card for Albert Rascher

Transcription: US WWII Draft Registration Card for Albert Rascher

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Transcription: US WWII Draft Registration Card for Albert Rascher.

Albert Rascher WWII Draft Card
Albert Rascher WWII Draft Card

REGISTRATION CARD — (Men born on or after April 28, 1877 and on or before February 16, 1897)

Line 1
SERIAL NUMBER: U827
NAME: Albert Rascher
ORDER NUMBER:

Line 2
PLACE OF RESIDENCE: R.F.D. No. 1 – Arlington Heights Cook Illinois
(The place of residence given on the line above will determine local board jurisdiction; line 2 of registration certificate will be identical)

Line 3
MAILING ADDRESS: Same
(Mailing address if other than line 2. If same, insert word same)

Line 4
TELEPHONE: None

Line 5
AGE IN YEARS: 47; DATE OF BIRTH: August – 14 – 1894

Line 6
PLACE OF BIRTH: Palatine Illinois

Line 7
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PERSON WHO WILL ALWAYS KNOW YOUR ADDRESS: Mrs. Meta Rascher, Same

Line 8
EMPLOYER’S NAME AND ADDRESS: Roselle Country Club

Line 9
PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT OR BUSINESS: Roselle – Illinois  Cook
(Number and street or R. F. D. number) (Town) (State)

I AFFIRM THAT I HAVE VERIFIED ABOVE ANSWERS AND THAT THEY ARE TRUE.

D. S. S. FORM 1 16-21630-2    Albert Rascher
(Revised 4-1-42)      (over)        (Registrant’s Signature)

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


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Transcription: U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942; Augustus Coke Cronkhite

Transcription: U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942; Augustus Coke Cronkhite

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US WWII Draft Registration Card for Augustus Coke Cronkhite

WWII Draft Card for Augustus C. Cronkhite
WWII Draft Card for Augustus C. Cronkhite

REGISTRATION CARD — (Men born on or after April 28, 1877 and on or before February 16, 1897)

Line 1
SERIAL NUMBER: U1618
NAME: Augustus Coke Cronkhite
ORDER NUMBER:

Line 2
PLACE OF RESIDENCE: Kingman, Sugar Creek Twp., Parke, Indiana
(The place of residence given on the line above will determine local board jurisdiction; line 2 of registration certificate will be identical)

Line 3
MAILING ADDRESS: Same
(Mailing address if other than line 2. If same, insert word same)

Line 4
TELEPHONE: Wallace

Line 5
AGE IN YEARS: 52; DATE OF BIRTH: May 31 1989 (typo: should read ‘1889’)

Line 6
PLACE OF BIRTH: Warren

Line 7
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PERSON WHO WILL ALWAYS KNOW YOUR ADDRESS: Martha Cronkhite, Kingman, Indiana

Line 8
EMPLOYER’S NAME AND ADDRESS: self

Line 9
PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT OR BUSINESS: R.F.D. #1, Kingman, Parke, Indiana
(Number and street or R. F. D. number) (Town) (State)

I AFFIRM THAT I HAVE VERIFIED ABOVE ANSWERS AND THAT THEY ARE TRUE.

D. S. S. FORM 1 16-21630-2    Augustus Coke Cronkhite
(Revised 4-1-42)      (over)        (Registrant’s Signature)

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


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Sometimes it pays to look to the present for information about the past.

Sometimes it pays to look to the present for information about the past.

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It’s amazing what information about the past including people and events can be found by searching through online newspapers, magazines, etc. – even if they are in a foreign language.

I’m routinely having to read, translate and understand documents written in their original language such as French, German, Swedish, and so on. My go to method for getting started is accessing ‘Google Translate’. To have a web page translated, just type the complete original language url in the Google search box, press ‘search’, find what you’re looking for in the search results list and click on ‘Translate this page’.

El Economista TranslatedOne such site I’ve recently accessed was ‘El Economista’ a Mexican, Spanish language online newspaper. On this particular day, the headlines were dominated by news of Javier Duarte de Ochoa and his handling of the crisis created by the recent tropical storm. Javier Duarte is the Governor of Veracruz, Mexico.

Above is a clip from the Google translated site mentioned and as you can see the text in the first paragraph is quite understandable, although not quite grammatically correct. I would always suggest finding independent confirmation elsewhere to confirm your understanding, if possible.

I routinely search through newspapers in the areas in which I’m researching and I have stumbled upon some real ‘gems’ related to my research, including a rooming house arson fire a recent ancestor escaped from, another ancestor whose name was published as a deserter in WWI, and most recently news of a tragic train crash in a community from which my own father’s French Canadian family originates. It was particularly heartbreaking to read the names of the deceased in the online French language news sites, and to recognize many of them as distant relatives.

Using Google translate  is also a useful tool if transcribing documents from their original language. Go to the main Google translate page, type the text in question in the left box, making sure it’s labeled with the correct language and click ‘Translate’. The English translation will appear to the right if English is the selected language. Text can be translated to and from numerous languages.

photo credit: Augie Schwer via photopin cc


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Transcription: US WWII Draft Registration Card for Frank John Niles

Transcription: US WWII Draft Registration Card for Frank John Niles

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US WWII Draft Registration Card for Frank John Niles.

U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 of Frank Niles
U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 of Frank Niles

 

REGISTRATION CARD — (Men born on or after April 28, 1877 and on or before February 16, 1897)

Line 1
SERIAL NUMBER: U1257
NAME: Frank John Niles
ORDER NUMBER:

Line 2
PLACE OF RESIDENCE: West Milton, Miami, Ohio
(The place of residence given on the line above will determine local board jurisdiction; line 2 of registration certificate will be identical)

Line 3
MAILING ADDRESS: Same
(Mailing address if other than line 2. If same, insert word same)

Line 4
TELEPHONE: None

Line 5
AGE IN YEARS: 57; DATE OF BIRTH: June 18, 1885

Line 6
PLACE OF BIRTH: West Milton, Ohio

Line 7
NAME AND ADDRESS OF PERSON WHO WILL ALWAYS KNOW YOUR ADDRESS: Bobbie Niles, West Milton, Ohio

Line 8
EMPLOYER’S NAME AND ADDRESS: Harry Sexhour, West Milton, O.

Line 9
PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT OR BUSINESS:   West Milton, Miami, Ohio
(Number and street or R. F. D. number)     (Town)     (State)

I AFFIRM THAT I HAVE VERIFIED ABOVE ANSWERS AND THAT THEY ARE TRUE.

D. S. S. FORM 1                         16-21630-2      Frank Niles
(Revised 4-1-42)     (over)                                   (Registrant’s Signature)

___________________

The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.


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Transcription: Biography of Henry O’Reilly from ‘Rochester History’

Transcription: Biography of Henry O’Reilly from ‘Rochester History’

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Rochester History, Henry O'Reilly
Rochester History, Henry O’Reilly

The following is a transcription of the biography of Henry O’Reilly from the book, “Rochester History,” edited by Dexter Perkins, City Historian, and Blake McKelvey, Assistant City Historian.

ROCHESTER HISTORY

Edited by DEXTER PERKINS, City Historian and BLAKE MCKELVEY, Assistant City Historian

VoL. VII JANUARY, 1945 No. 1

Henry O’Reilly

By DEXTER PERKINS

Henry O’Reilly (or O’Rielly, as he insisted on calling himself in later life) was, no doubt, not one of the greatest figures connected with the city of Rochester. He was not born here; he did not spend the major part of his life here; and when he died in 1884, he had long since outlived the period of his major usefulness. He never attained distinction of the first order; he was volatile, improvident and —— so his enemies said — quarrelsome; he was a great man for starting something, and a poor man for finishing anything — with the large exception of his Sketches of Rochester, published in 1838. But none the less he is an extremely interesting person. He had warmth and brilliance; he identified himself with a whole variety of good causes, and contributed materially to all of them; he had a kind of itch to improve the little world in which he moved; and he succeeded in doing so in many ways. He was also the storm center in one of the most interesting technological and business controversies in the period before the Civil War, the controversy over the telegraph; and though he lacked the constructive genius that characterized Hiram Sibley, another Rochesterian of far more practical capacity, he was for a time the idol of those Americans who saw in the telegraph a menacing monopoly and played a part, stormy and dramatic, in the development of a great industry. When you begin to study O’Reilly, you may not unqualifiedly admire him, but you are sure to find him worth knowing; and because he is well worth historical acquaintance, I am going to sketch in this number of Rochester History the essentials of his career.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Rochester History, published quarterly by the Rochester Public Library, distributed free at the Library, by mail 25 cents per year. Address correspondence to the City Historian, Rochester Public Library, 115 South Avenue, Rochester 4, N.Y.

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The Young Immigrant

O’Reilly was born in Cartickmacross, County Monaghan, Ireland, on February 6, 1806. Like many another Irishman, in later years Henry was prone to discuss his ancestry in terms that suggested a distinguished lineage. He seems to have dwelt with some pleasure upon a certain great grand-uncle who was Bishop of the Diocese, and he was also proud to relate that his maternal grandfather, Henry Ledbetter, had once been offered a peerage, and was the confidential physician of the Bresfords, a family then powerful in Ireland. But Henry’s immediate origins were less impressive. Of his father, very little is known; he seems to have been a merchant; he failed in business in the depression following the Napoleonic wars; and he was, through the rigor of a brother-in-law, confined in a debtor’s prison in 1816. Though later he followed the rest of the O’Reilly family, that is, his wife, and son and daughter, to America, he seems to have played no important part in Henry’s life, and even the date and place of his death are uncertain.

Henry came to the United States at the tender age of ten, with his mother and sister, and landed, as millions of immigrants have landed since, in the City of New York. There he was received by his “good uncle,” Edward Ledbetter, but his uncle’s benevolence did not extend so far as to provide support for his youthful relative, and still at the age of ten, O’Reilly was apprenticed to Baptiste Irvine, editor of the New York Columbian. The articles of apprenticeship were for a term of eight years, and for the greater part of the period O’Rei1ly was to serve without pay. He was to be given sufficient meat, drink and clothing; and he was to be instructed in the mysteries of the art of printing, in reading, writing and arithmetic, and in the rudiments of the “latin and french languages.” In exchange for these manifest advantages O’Reilly agreed “not to waste his master’s goods, not to commit fornication or contract matrimony, not to play at cards, dice or any unlawful game, not to absent himself day or night frorn his master’s service without leave, and not to haunt alehouses, taverns, or playhouses.”

There was to be plenty of variety in Henry O’Reilly’s career as time went on, but the termination of his first apprenticeship was no fault of his, and it is probable that a similar statement may be made

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with regard to his other frequent changes of employment in these early years. The papers of the time were frequently ill-supported; Irvine gave up the editorship of the Columbian less than a year after the signing of Henry’s articles of apprenticeship. The boy seems to have Worked for some time thereafter in the printing office of Clayton and Kingsland; but in 1823 he was offered a place on the New York Patriot, and there he first began to take part in politics, becoming, as was natural in the circumstances, an ardent partisan of the candidacy of Andrew Jackson for the Presidency of the United States. In 1824, indeed, in company with his employer, Colonel Charles K. Gardner, Henry paid a visit to Washington, and was presented to Old Hickory. Before the year was out, we find him moving to Kinderhook, New York, to become the printer of the local paper, the Herald, and we cannot help believing that he had by now formed a connection with Martin Van Buren, and that he was fairly launched in a reasonably active political career.

But Kinderhook was only a way station to Rochester. While serving on the Patriot, O’Reilly had had as a fellow-compositor one Luther Tucker. Tucker had a friend who wished to establish at Rochester a daily newspaper, and he was offered the business management of the paper, and asked to select a competent editor. Thus, in 1826, at the age of twenty, the young Henry moved once more, and on October 21, 1826, he issued the first number of the Rochester Daily Advertiser, which, with changes of name, and, indeed, changes of policy, has none the less endured down to our own day.

The Editor and Politician.

The young editor had walked into the center of a major political storm. These were the days of the anti-Masonic agitation. In September of 1826, William Morgan, who had written and promoted a book which purported to reveal the secrets of Masonry, had been abducted from the jail at Canandaigua, and had disappeared. Now in Western New York at this same period, the foes of the Jackson patty were looking for a political issue, and particularly for an issue that would wean away from the dominant political faction some of the more democratic elements in the population. They found what they wanted in the disappearance of Morgan. Here was an opportunity to raise a

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terrific hue and cry over the secret society of Masonry and its aristocratic implications. The opportunity became still more profitable when a body was washed ashore from Lake Ontario, which, it was speedily rumored, and afterwards alleged in a coroner’s inquest, was the body of Morgan himself. Political excitement, therefore, mounted higher and higher, and in due course gave rise to a new political party which described itself as the Anti-Masonic party.

Into this interesting political scene Henry O’Reilly was precipitated in the fall of 1826. He began his editorship of the Advertiser, as a wise editor would do, by professing the highest impartiality with regard to politics. But O’Reilly, as a detached and neutral observer of the political scene, or indeed of anything else, is an O’Reilly that never existed. He already had his political predilections; his Irish blood yearned for a fight; and before long he was involved in the controversy over anti-Masonry, arid was locked in conflict with one of the most formidable figures in the history of political journalism.

In 1826 Thutlow Weed was editor of the Ror/Jerter Telegraph, a man thirty-four years of age, who might well resent the appearance of a stripling of twenty as his competitor in the thriving frontier community. Weed was not the originator, but soon became one of the participants, in the anti-Masonic agitation, and one of the leaders in the attempt to capitalize the disappearance and the death of Morgan in the formation of the new party. It is not likely, having regard to the newspaper methods of the time, and to the extraordinary violence of journalistic controversy, that O’Rei1ly would long have escaped the shafts of his rival. But the hot-headed Irishman apparently offered the first provocation for the outburst of hostilities. From the first he had been suspicious of the inquest that had attended the finding of the alleged corpse of Morgan on the shores of Lake Ontario, and had not hesitated to express his suspicions that there was something very peculiar about the whole business. Soon a most interesting story came to his ears. In the arguments that took place in the frontier community the question of the identity of the body of Morgan naturally rook a prominent place. In one of these arguments, so the story began to circulate, Thurlow Weed was reported to have said, in informal conversation, that at any rate the corpse was a “good-enough Morgan till after election.” Later on, when confronted with this charge, Weed denied it categorically, and declared that what he had said was that it

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was a good enough Morgan till another body was found, a comment which, it must be admitted, was hardly less cynical than that of which he was accused. But when O’Reilly published the first of these two versions of his rival’s words, he found himself the object of the most bitter attacks on the part of Weed. He was pilloried as a liar; he was described in the pages of the Telegraph as a “Mason-jade” a peculiarly offensive epithet in the current political controversy, and all the more so in the case of O’Reilly, since O’Reilly was not a Mason; and he was in due course, fixed with a libel suit whida hung over his head for thirteen years, and was naturally a source of considerable embarrassment. In such circumstances, to put it bluntly, O’Reilly found that he could not take it, and in ]uly, 1827, he temporarily withdrew from the scene, alleging feeble health in part as an excuse. After a visit to Niagara Falls, he went back to New York City, and there again took up printing at the Methodist Printing Office which had been one of the scenes of his employment some years before.

But the itch for politics was strong in O’Reilly, and a most exciting and possibly a most rewarding Presidential campaign was approaching. The Old Hero, the veteran of New Orleans, the idol of the people, Andrew ]ackson, was running for the Presidency. The campaign was a delirious one; indeed, never before had so large a part of the electorate gone to the polls. How could a good party man be content to print Methodist tracts instead of ringing Jacksonian speeches? There could be but one answer to this question, so O‘Reilly, at the solicitation of Mr. Tucker, his original employer, went back to Rochester, and took part as editor of the Advertiser once more in the campaign which was to elevate Old Hickory to the Presidency of the United States. And now O’Reilly appears for the first time, but not the last, if not in the guise of an officeseeker, at least in the guise of one much interested in the offices. In 1828 Abelard Reynolds was Postmaster of Rochester, a position which he had held since the very beginnings of Rochester’s civic history. Reynolds, of course, was a supporter of the conservative cause, and of John Quincy Adams in the campaign of 1828. It was obvious, at any rate to the Jacksonians, that a new appointment was in order. So the editor of the Advertiser journeyed to Washington, and secured the appointment of a good Jackson man, ]ohn B. Elwood, in place of Reynolds. He also brought back from his visit to the capital another political plum, the collectorship

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of the Genesee Revenue District, which was awarded to General Jacob Gould.

One might have thought that by this time O’Reil1y would have been in a fair way to settle down. But in 1850 he married, and his bride, Marcia Brooks, was the daughter of a land~holder of the upper Genesee country, in the neighborhood of Nunda. Thither the editor of the Advertiser removed in May of 1830, hoping no doubt to profit from his father-in-law’s plans to establish a village in that neighborhood, and thoughtfully providing himself with the job of postmaster in the new locality, a matter which was not difficult in view of his services to the administration in power. O’Reilly‘s removal to Brooks Grove, as the place was called, hardly does credit to his business sagacity. It is true that in 1830, when for the second time he left Rochester, the town was experiencing its first recession, following the boom created by the building of the Erie Canal. But there was no good reason to believe that the Genesee mill town and canal port had exhausted its potentialities; indeed those with greater confidence were soon justified as growth was resumed and the village became a city in 1854. Nor was there anything about the job of postmastership at Brooks’ Grove that could be described as challenging to a young man now 24, who had substantial capacities, and a growing circle of friends. So once again O’Reilly’s exile was a brief one, and the campaign of 1832 saw the young Irishman, now a citizen, back once more in the editorship of the Advertiser, and warmly engaged in re-electing Andrew Jackson to the Presidency of the United States. For his services in this regard he received the post of Deputy-Collector for the Genesee District, and this together with his journalistic activities, provided him with a reasonable pecuniary reward. He was now to settle down for a while — in so far as it was in his nature to settle down, and in the course of the next ten years he played an important part in the life of the young community. In some ways he was at his best during these next ten years, active, public-spirited, the friend of many liberal causes, and the author of one of the best books of its kind, a book that is invaluable to any student of Rochester history.

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The Rochester Civic Reformer

Amongst the objects of O’Reilly’s activity during his ten years’ continuous residence in Rochester none was more important than the enlargement of the Erie Canal. The canal had been finished in 1825, and had, of course, been the major factor in the astoundingly rapid growth of the city on the Genesee. Constructed at a cost of around $10,000,000, it had been amazingly profitable, and it had been possible for the state to retire a loan of seven and three quarter million dollars from the revenues of the first ten years. The chief drawbacks were its size, particularly its depth of only four feet, and the flimsy character of the locks and other features of its construction. It was natural that there should arise a demand for its reconstruction and enlargement, and this movement was closely connected with a movement for the reduction of the tolls. But the question soon became a controversial one; there was much opposition in the legislature to a new borrowing program; and it took a long and vigorous agitation before the enlargement of the canal could be carried into effect.

Into this agitation O’Reilly threw himself with characteristic ardor. He was, of course, by no means alone in his advocacy of enlargement Indeed, the opinion of leading Rochester citizens of both political parties coincided as to the necessity of such a policy. But his name appears again and again amongst the men who took the deepest interest in the project, and his views, it would appear, had a greater and greater influence as time went on. The canal commissioners first recommended the enlargement of the canal in their report of the spring of 1855. The legislature, very much under the influence of those short-sighted individuals who thought borrowing to be inherently immoral, enacted in May a law providing that the surplus tolls from the Canal might be devoted to the deepening of the waterway, or to the construction of further locks, if needed. In the fall of 1835 a committee of Rochester citizens, of which O’ReilIy was a member, passed resolutions expressing pleasure at this initial step and the profound conviction of the importance of a forward looking policy with regard to the canal in general. But the method of providing for enlargement through surplus revenues was soon seen to be inadequate. The sum that was found to be necessary to carry through the program

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determined upon by the canal commissioners was found to be at least equal to the original expense of constructing the canal. To expect that such a sum could be found through tolls would mean that the much-desired improvement would be long-delayed. Confronted with this fact, friends of the canal urged a borrowing program to effect the necessary construction.

It may well be that O’Reilly was one of the first to formulate such a policy and to join with others in bringing it to fruition. (He was never afraid to borrow, either personally or otherwise.) At any rate, on the 30th of December, 1836, he was one of three citizens of Rochester who addressed a public meeting assembled at the courthouse, to consider the canal question, and out of this meeting came resolutions urging new loans based upon the canal revenues, and a call for a convention of the people of western New York to press for similar action. This convention met in Rochester on Ianuary 18, 1837, and attracted immense attention. It appointed a central executive committee, of which O’Reilly was chairman, for placing the matter before the public. This committee engaged in a successful agitation which had its final fruits in the law of April 18, 1838, authorizing a loan of four million dollars, (not as much as had been desired), for the improvement and enlargement of the canal.

O’Reilly’s success in bringing about the end which he had in view was due in part to a very energetic and skillful agitation. But it was due in part, also, to the particular circumstances of the time. The Jackson administration had hardly gone out of office when there followed one of the most disastrous depressions in the early history of the country, and one which was extremely severely felt in western New York. Of course in general the idea of borrowing to create employment was hardly the economic gospel of the 1830’s. But curiously enough in New York state there was considerable sentiment for just such a course, as was to be strikingly exemplified when William H. Seward was elected Governor in the fall of 1838. The passage of the canal law, it seems hardly doubtful, was in part assisted by the fact that here was a means ready to hand to deal with the critical problem of the depression.

Was O’Reilly’s agitation for the enlargement of the canal wise and far-seeing? In the very year in which the legislature voted for

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the enlargement of the canal, the first steam railway entered Rochester. Was it therefore something less than far-sighted to agitate for the development of canal navigation, at a time when a new agency of transportation was coming into being? Superficially, it might seem as if this question would have to be answered in the affirmative. But if one looks a little more deeply into the facts, one discovers that the Erie Canal remained for a long time after 1838 the principal means of transportation through the state of New York, and that the high point of its usefulness (the maximum development of its traffic) was not reached until the middle of the decade of the fifties. Looking at the matter, then, from this point of view, it seems clear that Henry O’Reilly was not only faithfully representing the necessities of his community in the agitation with which he had so much to do, but was promoting a development which was eminently desirable from the viewpoint of his time and of the decades immediately to come.

There was a second movement, fully as important as that which had to do with the canals, in which O’Reilly’s name appears again and again. This was the movement for the improvement of the schools of Rochester.

The decade of the thirties is remarkable not only in New York but throughout the Northern states for the developing interest in education. The great wave of liberalism which characterized the period expressed itself nowhere more vigorously than in the field of the schools. There was much to be done to improve them, for in most of the country only the most rudimentary educational conditions existed. This was true of Rochester when O’Reilly took up his residence in the community on the Genesee.

The Rochester schools had begun on the district system, that is, they bore no relation whatsoever to the community as a whole. One district might be well run, according to the standards of the time; another might be little short of infamous. One district might pay its teachers fairly well; another might grant little more than sweatshop wages. True, when the city was incorporated in 1854, the Common Council was given the power to act in the capacity of Commissioner of Schools, and was given a broad kind of supervisory authority. But these powers were almost never exercised, and the districts struggled along without any substantial support from the municipality. As late

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as 1839 three districts within the city lacked school-houses, one of them renting a room in an old cooper’s shop. Each separate school was kept only as long as the funds of the district permitted, some of them for only three or four months a year.

Into the movement for the improvement of the public schools, O’Reilly flung himself with characteristic energy. In 1836 a public meeting in Rochester provided for the appointment of a citizens‘ committee called “The Committee for Elevating the  Standards of Common School Education.” It provided for the circulation of a sheet called “The Common School Assistant,” and engaged young A. C. Pratt as a kind of propagandist to go through the county calling attention to the educational needs of the communities. lt continued its work during 1837 and 1838, and in November of the latter year recommended an “entirely free common school system, supported by a general tax on real and personal property.” A little later, on December 1, 1858, a resolution was adopted looking to the organization of a Board of Education which would appoint a superintendent of public schools, and which would have “districts so arranged and schools so regulated as to allow of gradation in public English education.” A committee of fifteen was appointed to urge the adoption of this policy upon the Common Council and the legislature.

It took time, however, to reach the desired goal. Today it is difficult for us to realize that the expenditure of funds for educational purposes was often opposed a century ago as an unnecessary coddling of the masses. There were Americans in that day who wished to keep the less fortunate in their place, and could see no point in making it possible for them to rise in the social and economic scale. The improvement of our schools, like most important steps in social progress, did not come about with the unanimous adhesion of all citizens, but had to be struggled for, as most good things do have to be struggled for.

But Henry O’Reilly had no doubt as to what needed to be done. At every stage he supported in the pages of the Advertiser the contemporary agitation. And in the spring of 1841 he drew up a memorial on the school question which received wide circulation throughout the state and which was one of the factors in securing the passage of a bill amending the city charter and providing for reforms of the first

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order of importance. The law of 1841 provided for the election of a board of education, composed of two members from each ward, which should have power to appoint a superintendent of schools, and which was charged with the financial authority necessary to the building up of the school system. The system to be established was to be public and free. Sixteen years before the state of New York entirely abolished the rate bill system, and early enough to become the fourth city of the state to do this, Rochester in 1841 set up an educational machinery which was hailed at the time, and with reason, as a great advance. The citizens of Rochester showed their appreciation of the role that O‘Reilly had played in the battle for the school law by electing him to the Board of Education constituted under it. There is no room for doubting his notable public service in this regard.

O’Reilly’s interest in the improvement of the educational standards and opportunities of Rochester was shown in another way when he was prominent in the organization, in 1838, of what was known as the Young Men’s Association, and of which he became president. The special circumstance which promoted the growth of this important agency in the early life of Rochester was, interestingly enough, the commission of the first murder which had ever taken place in the city in 1837. This untoward event, says O’Reilly, directed public attention to the necessity of establishing institutions for “presenting intellectual and moral attractions to counteract the vicious allurements to which (as legal examinations proved) the young men of this city were largely exposed.” It was resolved that what was particularly needed was a library and educational program, and the establishment of a center which should serve as an alternative, as O’Reilly highmindedly put it, to “eating-houses, with each a newspaper and a bar—bowling alleys, with their temptations to drinking and their temptations to belting – gaming tables with their enthralling allurements and their degrading companionships—and enticement to every vicious indulgence—diligently provided by those who excite appetite and feed passion for the sake of emolument.” Accordingly, funds were found to rent the second floor of a building on State Street, and there to provide the first public reading room and city library in the history of Rochester. There were small membership dues, and books could be taken out only by accredited borrowers – but the library itself was open to all, and the provision for taking out boolm was the first that had been made. By

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the close of 1838 the library counted more than 2000 volumes, and the membership included 139 full subscribers, and 97 others holding reading room privileges. Once started on this hopeful project, O’Reilly’s soaring imagination carried him further. He attempted to raise funds for a city library to be erected by the Association, and took an option on two lots at the corner of State and Mumford Streets with this end in view. An attempt was made to sell stock for the promotion of this project
at $50 a share, but this project failed, like so many others in which O’Reilly was financially concerned, and the energetic editor of the A41/miter had to pay $400 out of his own pocket as a result of his premature action. On the other hand, O’Reilly was more successful in securing the amalgamation of the Young Men’s Association with the Athenaeum, an earlier venture in the field of literary and educational activity. The union of the two still further enlarged the library resources of the Association, and by the close of 1840 there were over 2500 volumes available to members, and membership had risen to 409.

It would be pleasant to believe that the impetus thus given to the love of learning was permanent in its effects. Unfortunately, the facts are otherwise. After O‘Reilly’s removal from the city the activities of the Association declined. But the work that was done in this early period was not in vain. It served, no doubt, as an inspiration to the efforts of the late forties, when an attempt was made to pump new energy into the educational current of Rochester. And, wholly apart from its practical results, it is highly characteristic of O’Reilly himself. His generous impulses, his democratic instincts, and his intellectual energy all contributed to make him feel keenly the necessity of an educational advance. In taking the position that he did, he was acting in the most elevated spirit of his own time.

The Local Historian

The year 1838, which saw the establishment of the Young Men’s Association, was also the year in which O’Reilly published his Sketcbes of Rochester, the first important descriptive work published in and with regard to the city on the Genesee. The occasion for this work the author describes in his preface. In 1856, in response to a request from the city corporation, O’Reilly had published some statis-

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tical data on the community in which he lived in pamphlet form. The success of this venture emboldened him to go further. He was encouraged by Everard Peck and Thomas Kempshall to carry his project through, and these two men assisted him in securing a publisher. In the winter of 1858 the committee which had the work in charge travelled by the only conveyance then possible, the stage-coach, all the way to New York, taking five days to do so, “with good sleighing,”to put in the hands of Harper Brothers the manuscript of this important work. When it was published it sold at the price of $1.50, or $1.25 when ten copies were taken by a single subscriber. The first edition was quickly sold; but-—quite characteristically, O’Reilly realized little financial profit from his venture. He had made the work more elaborate and more costly than had been originally proposed.

It would he extravagant to contend that the Sketches of Rochester was a great piece of literature. But it is fair to say that very few communities have enjoyed, in the early stages of their development, the services of a more conscientious or thorough chronicler. It is impossible to write the history of our city Without frequent reference to O’Reilly. His work is invaluable as a contribution to local history. It is a mine of information on the economic and social development of a frontier community. And, in the life of a busy editor, and active citizen, it represents no inconsiderable achievement.

The year 1838, which connects with so many of O’Reilly’s activities, must now be connected with one more. The editor of the Advertiser, as we have seen, had always been interested in politics. He had acquired a small political oflice in 1832. He had run for the state Assembly-—unsuccessfully—in 1837. In 1838 the postmaster of Rochester resigned. The friends of the man who must by now have been one of Rochester’s most prominent Democrats, perhaps the most prominent Democrat, rallied to present him for the vacant office. O’Reilly himself was absent in New York at the time, and does not seem to have bestirred himself particularly. But on May 24, 1838, his Presidential commission came through, and from that time forward until his removal from Rochester, he performed the duties of this important office. It is difficult to arrive at any clear evaluation of his service in this regard. He is said to have done great work in reducing the number of robberies in the mails. He certainly became well known to many influential Democrats, and established connections which were useful

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to him in the future. But it may be also that in accepting the position of postmaster, he gave unnecessary hostages to fortune; the work may well have been distracting; and it exposed him, of course, to prompt political reprisal when the Whigs came into office in the elections of 1840. These were the days of the very perfection of the spoils system. There could be only one answer to the question of what to do with postmasters who had the bad judgment to belong to the opposite political party, and that was to get rid of them. O’Reilly, in common with others of his political creed, was soon made to walk the plank; and it seems probable that his dismissal from the post-mastership had something to do with his removal from Rochester at the end of 1842, or in the very beginning of 1843.

But the editor and author of the frontier was so constituted, at any rate while in his thirties, that he could not be long without a cause; he must always he promoting something; and the cause that now caught his eye, and that offered also an opportunity to earn a living, was the cause of constitutional reform. The constitution of New York state had undergone revision in 1821; but in many respects it was still archaic in 1842. Unlike the constitution that preceded it, it had provided for a procedure by which it might be amended; but somehow or other this procedure, with a single exception, had failed signally to function in practise. There were a number of respects in which, from the view-point of the liberal forces of the time, changes  were indicated by the beginning of the forties. It was thought, for example, that the judiciary should be made elective, rather than appointive; it was thought that the terms of members of the legislature ought to be shortened; and still more, the disturbances which had broken out in the Hudson Valley, where a semi-feudal system of landholding still persisted, seemed to call for a drastic alteration of the
existing law.

The Albany Years

The revamping of the constitution was just the kind of a cause that Henry O’Reilly enjoyed serving; and it must have been in his mind when he left Rochester in 1842, for he then accepted the editorship of the Albany Atlas, a journal which advocated constitutional reform. But journalism was not enough. In 1843 O’Reilly started the

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organization of what was called the State Constitutional Association. He became a member of its Executive Committee; he persuaded one of the most powerful Democratic politicians in the state, Michael Hoffman, to accept the post of leader; and he initiated an agitation for the calling of a constitutional convention. This agitation bore fruit in the legislative action of 1845, in an overwhelming popular vote in favor of a convention, and in the constitutional convention of 1846. The reforms which have been mentioned above were adopted, and O’Reilly had the satisfaction of seeing the work of the convention accepted by the people at the polls. But before this day had come the ebullient Irishman had made another dtange of base. When he had transferred his activities from Rochester to Albany, he seems to have indulged the hope that, since the Democrats were in power, he might secure the state printing. By this time he was thoroughly familiar with the mixing of business and politics, and had, indeed, almost continually held some office such as was dealt out in the thirties to deserving members of the party. But something slipped; the Democrats, badly divided into factions, could not unite on the Irishman as their candidate for printer; O’Reilly belonged quite clearly to the radical wing; and it is probable that in this as at other times he took very little pains to moderate his opinions or to express them other than with vehemence. The warring groups in the legislature united upon a compromise candidate; and O’Reilly, after only a brief period with the Atlas, transferred his energies to the New York State Agricultural Society, and became its Recording Secretary. But here again the pickings apparently were insulficient and after a short time in this post O’Reilly, like many another American, turned from the slim rewards of daily labor to the glowing opportunities of successful promotion.

His Telegraph Ventures

The middle forties mark a very decided change in the personality of this interesting man. The impulse for reform, the zeal for causes, the political ardor, never completely deserted him; indeed he was usually able to rationalize his conduct in terms of some great popular  good. But after 1844 O‘Reilly became interested in making money in a big way. He had certainly been conspicuously unsuccessful up to

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this time; he had left Rochester in debt; he had not demonstrated any extraordinary business capacity at any time; but perhaps these very facts tempted him to some kind of scheme for easy and rapid accumulation; his temperament made it easy for him to see immense possibilities for the future in a new invention; and the year 1844 was the year of the first American telegraph. As is well known, on the 24th of May of that year, Samuel F. B. Morse, having persuaded Congress to appropriate the funds for an experimental line from Washington to Baltimore, had sent the famous message, “What hath God wrought ?” over the wire. A new era of communication was thus ushered in.

There were those, in 1844, of course, who did not think so. Morse offered his invention to the federal government for the modest sum of $100,000; and it is interesting to reflect upon the acumen of the Postmaster-General of that day, who reported that he was uncertain that the revenues from the telegraph could be made equal to the expenditures. Disappointed by this rebuff, Morse turned to private capital, and early in the story of the development of his invention, Henry O’Reilly appears upon the scene.

How came it that he was projected into this new field of endeavor? The answer lies in his friendship with Amos Kendall, who had been Postmaster-General of the United States under ]ackson and Van Buren. Kendall had been selected by the Morse patentees, (there were four of these), to represent them as their business agent. In June of 1846, he signed a contract with O’Reilly, calling for the “construction of a line of Morse’s Electro-Magnetic Telegraph to connect the great seaboard line at Philadelphia, or at such other convenient point on said line as may approach nearer Harrisburg, in Pennsylvania, and from thence through Harrisburg and other intermediate towns to Pittsburg, and thence through Wheeling and Cincinnati, and such other towns and cities as the said O’Reilly and his associates may elect, to St. Louis and to the principal towns on the lakes.” Here, so it seemed to the former Rochester editor, was a princely grant indeed, little less than the concession of a great telegraphic empire in the most rapidly growing part of the country, the booming middle West.

Whoever reads carefully the contract that I have just quoted can readily appreciate what troubles lay in its vague and wholly unlawyerlike phraseology. Amos Kendall, it is clear, believed that he was giv-

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ing to O’Reilly merely a right of construction in a telegraph system which should remain under a single and undivided ownership and control. He believed, furthermore, that he was conferring on the other party to the contract nothing more than a commission to construct telegraph lines, not the right to manage them, or to become a kind of telegraph baron with a dominating interest in any of them. But O’Reilly had a wholly different view of the matter. What he did was to start the organization of a whole series of companies, independent of one another, and extending over — and finally beyond — the great area in which the contract gave him the right to operate. Nor was he without the desire to play a part in the management of the lines. He hoped to use his position to secure wide stock interests. Those interests would carry with them, of course, a very substantial measure of control over the companies which he was successful in organizing.

The difference of opinion that soon developed between O’Reilly and the Morse patentees goes to the heart of some very interesting problems of business organization, as those problems presented themselves in the decades of the forties and fifties. It is tolerably clear to us today that the telegraph is a natural monopoly, and that the consolidation of the telegraph lines of the country has been, on the whole, a highly desirable consummation. But a hundred years ago, the feat of monopoly was keen. The nation had not long before expressed a decisive opinion on the question of the concentration of financial power in the Bank of the United States. It had emphatically supported Old Hickory in his war on that institution. Now there loomed the possibility of another monopoly, monopoly of a new and potentially significant means of communication. What could be more dangerous? In taking a contrary view of the problem, in organizing many local companies, and eventually in his fight with the Morse patentees, O’Reilly appeared in the characteristic role of the champion of the people and the foe of special interests. He was probably never more widely known, and never more popular, than in the late forties and early fifties; and there is little doubt that he gloried in this popularity, and pictured himself, (while engaged in the most fat-teaching plans for personal gain), as the hero of a great fight for the common man.

There is another aspect of this question that ought to interest us. O’Reilly, in his energetic organization of telegraph companies all over

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the country, undoubtedly performed a yeoman service in awakening the interest of local capital in what has become one of the great industries of the country. Where, indeed, in the late forties, was the capital to be found, except in the communities to be served? The country had not yet developed to the point where vast stock issues could have been floated in New York. The only practicable method of approach to the problem of securing funds was to go out and get them in the areas which were to be opened up. O’Reilly did just this. His methods were the methods of his time. That they aroused a tremendous interest in the new means of communication, and that, despite the final collapse of his hopes and of his fortunes, these efforts were by no means wasted, is clear.

O’Reilly’s financial methods look peculiar and by no means prudent from the angle of vision of 1944. The funds raised by the sale of stock were used for the construction of the lines. The companies which O’Reilly organized were apt to begin business with a large part of the money which had been raised to set them off already expended. But, however imprudent this may appear today, it was not regarded as foolish in 1845. The unlimited optimism of the American temperament in the period before the Civil War is difficult for us to understand today. But it made possible business practices that would now be universally condemned as unsound.

None the less, we must not, in our understanding of O’Reilly’s motives and view-point, attempt an apologia for him. The judgment of James D. Reid, who had been his assistant in the post-oflice at  Rochester and whom he brought into the telegraph business, does not seem an uncharitable one. “Henry O’Reilly,” he wrote in 1879, “was in many respects a wonderful man. His tastes were cultivated. His instincts were fine. He was intelligent and genial. His energy was untiring, his hopefulness shining. His mental activity and power of continuous labor were marvelous. He was liberal, generous, profuse, full of the best instincts of his nation. But he lacked prudence in money matters, was loose in the use of it, had little veneration for contracts. . . . He formed and broke friendships with equal rapidity, was bitter in his hates, was impatient of restraints.” This characterization is sound. And the criticism which it contains will be found to be amply justified by the history of O‘Reilly’s telegraph companies.

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From the beginning, of course, O’Reilly, in his fulfilment and elaboration of his contract with Kendall, had many difficulties to contend with. He was reasonably successful in securing the funds for the construction of the Pennsylvania line as Jonathan Child, Samuel L. Selden, Hervey Ely, Alvah Strong and many others are found amongst the subscribers. But his contract called for the completion of the line within six months of the signing of the agreement. O’Reilly and those associated with him had, of course, not the slightest experience in constructing telegraph lines. They were the pioneers, working without the technical knowledge that could only be gained in that day from experience. They had no models to follow. As winter came on, their troubles multiplied. At the end of November a storm broke their wire (which they had drawn tightly in the belief that transmission was aided by a taut line) in a hundred places. When the 13th of December arrived, the line had not been completed. The contract of O’Reilly with the Morse patentees was by any strict construction, null and void.

Of the patentees, however, (and there were four of them) only one, the villain of the piece in most accounts of telegraph history, F. O. ]. Smith, was anxious at this time to take advantage of O’Reilly’s predicament. Morse and Kendall, the business agent, were willing to be generous. O’Reilly had worked hard. His difliculties had been great. He might still he a very effective helper. Why not let him go ahead? During the year 1846, in fact, the line between Philadelphia and Pittsburg was made ready for business. Time was to show that it was flimsily constructed, and some of it had to be rebuilt as early as the fall of 1849. But at the outset of the telegraph era in 1846 no one could know this.

Meanwhile O’Relly went ahead with other projects. A line was constructed between Boston and New York; another was started to run west from Cincinnati to Pittsburg and Louisville. Often the difficulties seemed almost insuperable. ln one night a storm in New England produced 170 breaks in a stretch of 50 miles. The ambitious Irishman was in financial difliculties. His files for the winter of 1847 are full of duns and protested notes. He had to plead with Rochester merchants for more time for his grocery and clothing bills, and even to beg credit for a ton of coal for his home.

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There seems little doubt, moreover, that he had gone beyond his powers, as defined in his contract. In order to get his companies started he issued stock which, it was alleged, represented an interest in the patents themselves. His organization of separate companies was directly contrary to the desires of Kendall and of the patentees. In addition, F. O. J. Smith managed to persuade his associates virtually to hand over to him the control of the patent interests, and by this time Kendall, concluding that O’Reilly was not to be trusted, went over to the opposition. The patentees began to construct competing lines; they sought to close the lines they did construct to O’Reilly business. Though a temporary injunction restraining O’Reilly was denied them in 1847, they went ahead making more and more trouble for him. Efforts at compromises were blocked by the dominating personality of Smith. The struggle waxed hotter and hotter.

In the popular view O’Reilly was the hero of this bitter battle. He had had the vision to propose lower rates on telegraph service for newspapers than his rivals, and he also hit upon the sound principle of lower rates for quantity service. He was the gallant David directing his sling against the burly giant Goliath.

“The steed called lightning (says the Fate)
Is owned in the United States.
‘Twas Franklin that caught the horse.
‘Twas harnessed by Professor Morse.
With Kendall’s rein the steed went shyly,
Till tamed and broke by H. O’Reilly.”

So chanted the friends of the fighting Irishman.

But unfortunately O’Reilly never knew when to stop. There might have been some color of right in his activities in the region north of the Ohio, There could be none whatever when he sought to construct lines south of the river, and he knew it. In order to make his case stronger in this region, he bought the patents to a telegraphic instrument described as the Columbian, and that has been described by Alvin F. Harlow as the “most absurd imitation and infringement of the Morse system that supposedly sane men ever tried to get away with.” The only excuse that can be given for him is that he was so ignorant of mechanisms as not to realize how bald a fraud this was. But naturally the Morse interests rook advantage of the situation. In

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1848 the District Court declared against 0’Reilly. His instrument was declared to be an infringement of the Morse patent. Of course O’Reilly appealed. But the years of litigation that followed naturally did not help his financial situation. And in 1855, the Supreme Court, in a decision rendered by Chief Justice Taney, dealt the interests which O’Reilly represented what was virtually a death blow. After this time the ebullient Irishman appears only infrequently in connection with the history of the telegraph. Some of the lines which he had built virtually disintegrated; others were developed by other men into powerful agencies of communication. But none owed anything of their further growth to him. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that he had strayed into fields in which his talents were not conspicuous, and, indeed, in the years that followed, he was to be a rather pathetic figure, never attaining success, from time to time seeking once again to capitalize his talent for popular controversy, and for popular causes,but rarely doing so with any profit to himself.

It is curious that O’Reilly, in this decade of the fifties, never took any important part, so far as can be discovered, in the slavery controversy. The probable explanation lies in his close affiliations with the Democratic party. One might have thought that such an issue as this would decidedly appeal to him. But O’Reilly was a partisan Democrat, and it may well be that he hesitated to cut loose from his old associations. At any rate, at no time does he appear as a militant foe of the extension of slavery, let alone of the “peculiar institution” itself, and his migration, as a chronic officeseeker, from the Democratic into the Republican party was not successfully effected until somewhere around 1869.

Years of Discouragement

In the intermediate years between 1853 and 1869 he interested himself in a number of unsuccessful ventures. He started a project for the improvement of the Des Moines River, in Iowa. But before lung he fell to quarreling with his associates, was kicked out of the company which he had helped to form, and had to content himself with the meager satisfaction of exposing some of its irregularities before the lowa legislature. In 1859, returning to New York, he engaged in a more congenial and more successful battle, a battle to pro-

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tect the canals of New York State against the hostility of the railroads. But the victory which he won in a campaign for the further enlargement of the canals left him once more without employment. Two years later we find him president of a concern called the American Terracultor Company, located in Rochester. This company was organized to manufacture a machine which would supplant the plow, and which, instead of turning the soil, dug up the ground and pulverized it by means of forks attached to endless chains, cutting a strip of land forty inches in width and ten inches in depth. But matters did not go smoothly here, either, and in addition the period of his connection with the terraculror was saddened by the death of his son at the battle of Williamsburg. In 1863 we find him acting as Secretary of an Association for promoting Colored Volunteering, and acting in conjunction with Peter Cooper to see to it that such volunteers would be authorized and credited to the quota of New York State. In 1867 we find him once more attacking his old foe, the railroads, and becoming Secretary of the National Anti-Monopoly Cheap Freight Railway League, which had as its fantastic object the construction of railway lines which should be open to free competition for the transportation of freight and passengers, but which is interesting as an early expression of the popular resentment against the growing power and arrogance of the railway systems of the country. On this project O’Reilly got exactly nowhere, and his own compensation in connection with it was so small that it did not meet his living expenses. During all this time, it would appear, he was constantly in debt, dependent often upon the generosity of his creditors.

In 1869, however, O’Reilly secured an appointment in the New York Customs House as store-keeper. This job, which could hardly have been particularly lucrative, he attempted to supplement by editorial work for one or another of the New York papers, forming a temporary connection with the World and with the Tribune. But his old flair for editorial writing seems to have deserted him, and he could give satisfaction neither to Manton Marble nor to Horace Greeley, the editors of the sheets in question. He was busy during this period with his Memoirs, and with the arrangement and collection of his historical papers; but the first of these two tasks he never completed.

In 1878, moreover, misfortune befell him. Rutherford B. Hayes, elected President in 1877, was one of the first Presidents to put into

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practise, and against strong opposition, the principles of civil service reform; and the Presidential axe was soon whetted for Alonzo B. Cornell, the Collector of the Port of New York, to whom O’Reilly had owed his appointment as store-keeper. Ar the age of 72, then, O’Reilly was removed from office. He continued to live in New York till 1884, when he returned once more to the scene of his youthful successes, the city of Rochester. There he died, in St. Mar’y’s Hospital on the 17th of August, 1886, and was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, the site for which he had been instrumental in selecting nearly fifty years before. He had, at one time, lapsed from the Catholic faith, but in these last years of his life he returned to it, and before his death received extreme unction, according to Catholic ritual. The career which we have thus been analyzing was certainly nor, from the worldly point of view, a successful one. O’Reilly was devoid of the qualities that make for achievement in the business world. He was improvident, rash and by no means easy to deal with. To the eye of the hyper-critical, he might well appear as one who had a professional interest in controversy, in stirring up trouble, in which he generally found himself brilliant and inextricably involved. But any such judgment would be not only partial, but far too severe. O’Reilly was a man of very generous impulses, of very substantial Capacities, and of some measure of successful achievement. In particular is this true of the period that he spent in Rochester. He identified himself during that period with a number of important causes, with the development of the Erie Canal, which (it must never be forgotten) played a fundamental role in the growth of the stare down to the Civil War, and on which the prosperity of this city depended, with the establishment of a great step forward in the system of public education,with the first feeble steps towards the maintenance of a public library, with the development of a newspaper which has had a continuous existence since 1826. On a larger scale his activities seem, in retrospect, to be futile and ill-judged. Perhaps they were. But here too it must not be forgotten that he was a popular hero to many Americans in the early part of the fifties, and that, crude as were his methods, and wrong as were many of his decisions, he expressed something that needed to be expressed in his opposition to unrestricted monopolistic control of an important industry. The remedy for such control was emphatically not the remedy that he envisaged. It was not competition, but

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regulation, that was finally to be judged necessary in the telegraph industry. But it would have been difficult for an American of his period to have foreseen this. After all, the era of regulation was to come after O’Reilly was in his grave. No one contends that here was a great man. But surely here was an interesting man, a man towards whom a charitable judgment is easy, a man whose generous impulses command respect, and whose life was not devoid of service to his fellows.

Biographical Note: This effort to present a full length picture of Henry O’Reilly in brief compass has been greatly facilitated by a master’s thesis written by Sister Miriam Monaghan at the Catholic University of America. A typed copy of her study, Henry O’Reilly: Journalist and Promoter of the Telegraph, has generously been made available by a gift to the Rochester Historical Society. In addition to his own published works, cited in the paper, the fat volume by James D. Reid, The Telegraph in America (Albany, 1878), and Carleton Mabee’s The American Leonardo: A Life of Samuel F. B. Morse (New York, 1943), have proved useful.

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Transcriptions: John P. Keefer; Biographical Annals of Franklin County

Transcriptions: John P. Keefer; Biographical Annals of Franklin County

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The following is a transcription of the biographical data and ancestry of John P. Keefer from the Biographical Annals of Franklin County.

BIOGRAPHICAL ANNALS OF FRANKLIN COUNTY.

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Biography of John P. Keefer
Biography of John P. Keefer

JOHN P. KEEFER. Few men of Franklin county have been more actively identified with the mercantile interests of Chambersburg than Mr. John P. Keefer, a leading dry goods merchant of this city, born in Guilford township, Sept. 7, 1833, a son of John (II) and Hannah (Price) Keefer, deceased, and grandson of Jacob Keefer (I).

  1.   JACOB KEEFER (who was among the very early settlers of Franklin county, was of German ancestry, and had the following family:1.   JACOB.
  1. CHRISTIAN.
  2. DANIEL.
  3. JOHN (II).
  4. CATHERINE married John Snively.
  5. NANCY married John Stauffer.

The old Keefer family was brought up in the faith of the German Baptist Brethren Church.

2.    JOHN KEEFER, father of John P. Keefer, was born ih Guilford township, in 1800, and spent his life farming in his native township. In 1827, he married Hannah Price, who was born, reared and educated at Waynesboro, and they became the parents of four children:

  1. ELIZABETH, deceased, married Franklin Reed.
  2. HENRY married Elizabeth Strickler, and both are deceased.
  3. JOHN P. (III).
  4. DANIEL, deceased.

3.    JOHN P. KEEFER was reared on his father’s homestead and attended the public schools until he was fifteen years of age, when he came to Chambersburg and entered the academy of this city, remaining one year. He then became clerk in a general merchandise store, owned by H. H. Hutz, and so continued until he was twenty-

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one years of age. He was then made a partner, and the firm continued until after the war, when Mr. Keefer embarked in business for himself, since which time he has steadily grown in public favor, until he ranks among the leading merchants of Chambersburg. He enjoys the distinction of having been in business for forty-eight years, the longest term of any merchant here.

Mr. Keefer married Miss Rebecca Seibert of Chambersburg, daughter of Samuel and Agnes (Grove) Seibert, old settlers of Franklin county. Mr. and Mrs. Keefer became the parents of the following children:

  1. GEORGE G., of York, Pa., married Bertha Mumper, of York county, and they have three children: John, Samuel and Paul.
  2. ALICE married Dr. H. B. Creitzman, of Welsh Run, Pa., and they have one daughter: Mildred.
  3. CHARLES W. is assistant manager of his father’s dry goods business at Chambers-“bur g.
  4. MAURICE W., of Steelton, Pa., married Rose Stewart, and has one son: Stewart.
  5. ANNIE is at home.
  6. FLORENCE is at home.

In politics, Mr. Keefer is a sound Republican, and always supports the platform and candidates of his party, but has been too much occupied with his business affairs, to seek public office, although he is so popular in the city, that there is no doubt but that he could obtain almost any office within the gift of his fellow townsmen. In religious affiliations he is an earnest member of the Lutheran Church of Chambersburg, of which he has been deacon and trustee for many years. His fraternal associations have been of the most pleasant, he being an honored member of the I.O.O.F., and one of the most active supporters of that lodge.

Beginning many years ago, when commercial conditions were so essentially different from those of today, Mr. Keefer built up a business of which any man might well be proud; established a credit for his house that could not be shaken, and has gradually changed his policy to meet changed circumstances. Upon his books can be found names which were written there at the start, for once he gains a customer, it is seldom he loses him. Although he is somewhat advanced in years, Mr. Keefer is as energetic as ever, and superintends every detail of his large business, and ensures the same honorable treatment of all, which has been one of the leading characteristics of the house since its inception.

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The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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Genealogy Mystery: Who were Christian W. Keefer’s parents?

Genealogy Mystery: Who were Christian W. Keefer’s parents?

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Christian W. Keefer (Chester) is an important figure in one of the main branches of my husband’s and children’s ascendancy. He married Mary Ann Jacques and they eventually settled and raised a family in Dodge County, Wisconsin.

After numerous years of research, however, I’m still left scratching my head at the mystery of the identity of Christian W. Keefer’s parents.

As can be seen in the list of sources I’ve found and logged for Christian (below), you would think that at least one of them would provide some concrete information about his parentage and place of birth, but that turns out to not be the case.

Here’s what I know for sure:

Christian W. Keefer was born October 1, 1811 in Pennsylvania and his family originated from France.

Christian W. Keefer's parents.
Sources for Christian W. Keefer.

That’s it.

I originally took a mention of Philadelphia as Christian’s birthplace in a biography of his son Charles with a grain of salt. I do believe that people did and do tend to describe where they’ve come from by using the nearest, largest center that would be recognized outside the area. For example, although we live in Chilliwack, BC, Canada, we frequently say we’re located near Vancouver to those who are not from the area. Considering this possibility, I would not rule out any birth location in Pennsylvania.

I have considered the possibility that our Christian may be one of the Christians mentioned of the Keefer / Kiefer family in the “Biographical Annals of Franklin County”. I was able to systematically eliminate every Christian mentioned because they could not have been born on or near the birth date of our Christian (Chester), or they married into different families, etc.

Another  possibility I’ve been checking is that his father (and possibly mother as well), may have immigrated to the United States from Germany (or Switzerland), but I’ve been unable to find immigration or naturalization records that show such a connection.

However, the same biography previously mentioned states that he was of French origin.

Through all of my research over the years, every Keefer family is of Germanic origin – except one.

The only family that shows of French origin in the time period is (lo and behold!) actually living in Philadelphia and is that of Anthony and Sarah (Shillingford) Keefer.

At the time, his family was very young with only mention of one brother born in 1810 – Thomas. The earlier births of the children of Anthony and his wife Sarah are about one year apart, leaving a gap just where Christian’s would be.

Keefer, Anthony; family pedigree chart
Family pedigree chart of Anthony Keefer, showing Christian, as I’ve entered it in my database (see http://blythegenealogy.com).

I would love to find proof beyond that of coincidence and speculation of Christian W. Keefer’s parentage. I’d like nothing better than to continue further back in time and expand on this huge Keefer family

If you or anyone you know has any documentation, images, etc. of this Christian Keefer showing his parents and brothers and sisters (or parts thereof), I would dearly love to see them, or better yet, get copies.

Sources:

  1. Biographical Sketches of Old Settlers and Prominent People of Wisconsin: Vol. I (Waterloo, Wis., Huffman & Hyer, 1899); pdf file.
  2. State of Ohio, “Ohio, County Marriages, 1790-1950,” marriage, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XZ82-6QV: accessed
  3. Death certificate; Charles Keefer;  Digital Folder No.: 4008297; Image No.: 1576; Film Number: 1674527; Certificate No.: cn 23384. (7 June 1933), Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947, State of Illinois; https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NQCW-SP5.
  4. FamilySearch.org, “Wisconsin Deaths and Burials, 1835-1968,” database, FamilySearch.org, FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XL3P-121: accessed ).
  5. Rootsweb, “Wisconsin Death Records,” database, Rootsweb, Rootsweb (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~keffer/deaths/Wisconsin.htm: accessed ).
  6. Keefer, Christian W., Beaver Dam Argus, Beaver Dam, Dodge County, Wisconsin, , Obituary.
  7. Obituary of Mary Ann (Jaques) Keefer.
  8. 1880 US Federal Census, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, Beaver Dam, Dodge, Wisconsin, enumeration district (ED) Enumeration District: 004, Page: 47A, Year: 1880; Census Place: Beaver Dam, Dodge, Wisconsin; Roll: 1422; Family History Film: 1255422, Keefer Christian W.; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://blythegenealogy.com : Internet 13 July 2013).
  9. 1870 US Federal Census, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, year: 1870; census place: elba, dodge, wisconsin; roll: m593_1710; page: 165a; image: 338; family history library film: 553209, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, enumeration district (ED) Roll: M593_1710; Image: 337; Family History Library Film: 553209, Page: 164B, Roll: M593_1710; Image: 337; Family History Library Film: 553209, Keefer Christian W; digital image, Ancestry.ca (http://blythegenealogy.com  : Internet 7 September 2013).
  10. 1860 US Federal Census, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, roll: m653_1405; page: 303; image: 308, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, Page: 303, Roll: M653_1405; Image: 308; Family History Library Film: 805405, Keefer Christian W.; dgs no.: 4298900; image no.: 0038; nara no.: m653, Ancestry.ca (http://blythegenealogy.com  : Internet 7 September 2013).
  11. 1850 US Federal Census, Elba, Dodge, Wisconsin, roll: m432_996;  image: 209, , Page: 104A, Roll: M432_996; Page: 104A; Image: 209, Keefer Christian W.; digital image, Family Search ((http://blythegenealogy.com  : Internet 7 September 2013).
  12. 1840 US Federal Census, Painesville, Lake, Ohio; digital image, Ancestry.ca, Ancestry.ca (http://blythegenealogy.com  : accessed ).
  13. 1830 US Federal Census, Antrim, Franklin County, Pennsylvania, age: 395; nara series: m19; roll number: 151; family history film: 0020625; digitalk image, Ancestry.com (http://blythegenealogy.com  : accessed ).

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My “Can’t Do Without” Genealogy Tools List

My “Can’t Do Without” Genealogy Tools List

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Over the years I find myself returning to the same tools and sites to further my genealogy research. Some of them are not easily found and I thought it might be an idea to list them here for you. The two sites I use continually are FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com .

Below is a list of my favorite tools and research aides.

Google Genealogy Searches

  • Free Genealogy Search Help – Although linked in the Google Genealogy Search link page listed next, this is the one Google search tool I use most often – and therefore I’m listing the direct link here. It creates a series of searches using different groupings of keywords from the input boxes for given names, surnames, birth and death places.
  • Easy Google Genealogy Searcher (by Ancestor Search)
  • Several pre-set custom Google searches and Tools. This is especially valuable for those who are not familiar with the codes and conventions for custom searching in Google. Each tool lists valuable tips to get better results below its search window. These searches include:
  • Google Genealogy Search
  • Search for Genealogy Surname Website
  • Google Book Search – I especially love this one. I’ve found some of my most obscure, interesting and valuable information with this.
  • Google Blog Search
  • Google Newspaper Search
  • Google Search Within or Excluding a Genealogy Site
  • Search for Sites Similar To – Enter the url of a site you’d like to use as an example.
  • Search for Gedcom Files
  • Search US Newsgroups for Genealogy Queries
  • Search for Definitions of Genealogical Words
  • Google Calculator for Genealogy Uses
  • Search for Genealogy Images
  • Search by Location
  • Google Search for a US Street Map
  • Google Search by Language and Country
  • Google Translate Text
  • Translate a Genealogy Web Page
  • Google Search by Family Tree

Search Tools

  • GeneaSearch.com – Your Internet Genealogy Guide – Lists links, newsletters, publications, societies and free e-mail.
  • Genetic Genealogy – Search for and linking to DNA heritage.


Dates / Calculators / Generators


Indexes and Lists

Networking and People Search Tools

Atlases and Maps

 Reference Materials

Genealogical Photo Sharing Sites

 


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Transcription: Obituary for Alanson Adams

Transcription: Obituary for Alanson Adams

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Transcription of an obituary for Alanson Adams.

Fond du Lac Daily Commonwealth, Page 4

Tuesday, April 26, 1881

Alanson Adams
Alanson Adams

Retrospective

The death of Mr. Alanson Adams of our city on the 23rd instant, is an event of more than ordinary interest.  Born in the year 1792, in the third year of Washington’s first term, his life covers nearly the whole period of our constitutional history.  We are fairly startled at the rapidity of our country’s development, as compared with other countries, when we contemplate its history being crowded into the lifetime of one man.  During this period the small circle of States bordering the Atlantic coast, few in population and impoverished by war, has been enlarged until it now engirdles the continent.  A great nation, ranking among the first in power, wealth and influence has been developed within this comparatively short space of time.  Human life can no longer be said to be short, if we measure it by the achievements comprehended within its.limits.

Mr. Adams is identified with the history of our country in one of the most endearing relations.  Every country venerates the memory of its soldiers.  Especially is this true of a republic, which must depend very largely on the valor and patriotism of its volunteer soldiers for defense. The deceased belongs to that noble band whom our nation delights to honor.  In early manhood, at the call of his country, he entered her service in the war of 1812.  He was in several engagements during this war, among which were the battles of Chippewa and Lundy’s Lane.  At the latter place he was wounded.  Thus another one of the few surviving heroes of this war has been laid away to that rest which no battle call, or shock —–will ever disturb.

But in still another and not less important cause was the deceased identified with the history and progress of our country.  He belonged in the class of pioneers peculiar to our country, and yet sometimes overlooked, and underestimated in making our estimates of the elements entering late American progress.  To this class of our population, essentially nomadic in its character, does our country owe very much of its greatness to-day.  By it has been laid the foundations of that grand super-structure of American nationality which has no parallel in history.  Reared in central Vermont he became identified with the early struggles of that State.  In 1818 he was married.  The union thus formed continued some fifty-four years.  In 1844 with his family, consisting of one son and two daughters, he removed to Ohio.  Here he remained until 1860, when he moved to Wisconsin, where he has since resided.  Since the death of his wife, some ten years ago, he has made his home with his son, E.D. Adams, of our city, where he died.

The deceased was a devoted Christian, having been a member of the Baptist church nearly sixty years.  He will be deeply mourned by the church to which he had endeared himself, and the circle of friends how knew him best.   The sympathies of its many friends are extended to the bereaved family, with the assurance that our loss is his gain.

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The image above links directly to the original document. You can access sources, data, images and documents for these and other individuals, by clicking on the name link, or searching the Blythe Genealogy database site using the surname search link and the ‘All Media‘ search link in the left sidebar.

It is recommended to search using both methods as the results can differ greatly due to a glitch in the software that doesn’t connect all images from the bio.

All data for this and numerous others on this site is available for free access and download.

 


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