David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Friday, April 30, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - First Families of Montgomery County Certificate

What I am sharing for today's Treasure Chest Thursday post is my First Families of Montgomery County certificate.  Listed on the certificate are the names Henry Sweadner, Eleanor Suman Sweadner, Henry Mathias Routsong, Jacob Routsong, Catherine Flook Routsong, and Clarinda Swadner Routsong, all of my ancestors who I was able to prove were living in Montgomery County, Ohio before 1830.  It's a treasure to me not only because of the work that was involved in the documentation, but because it proves to all my descendants that they own a portion of the history of Ohio.  
So far, I have proven First Families status in Montgomery and Clinton Counties in Ohio. I have a long way to go, but it's a good start!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Marling Men

Marling 4 Generation photo
Chester (My great uncle),
 Ralph (my great grandfather), Richard, (Chester's son), John Austin (My great great grandfather)
Elkhart, Indiana

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Barbara Routsong Warner

Today I am sharing a photograph of the tombstone of my great great aunt, Barbara Routsong Warner.  Her gravesite sits next to those of her father, Jacob Routsong and her mother, Catherine Flook Routsong in David's Cemetery in Kettering, Ohio.  When I first discovered Barbara's gravesite, the stone was broken and all that could be seen was the base of the stone. Recently, however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the caretakers of the cemetery had repaired and reset the stone.
Barbara was born 4 April, 1836 in Van Buren Township, Montgomery, County, Ohio.  She was married to Reuben Warner on 23 January, 1855.  She died on 11 January, 1861.  I still have quite a bit of research to do regarding Barbara and her family and I'm so glad to see that she can be remembered properly.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Huffman Family Reunions

My great grandparents, John and Tillie Adams Huffman, celebrating their 50th anniversary at the Huffman Reunion.

(click on article to enlarge)

Today I am feeling "sentimental" about the Huffman family reunion. The Huffman side of my family was that of my paternal grandmother, Imogene Huffman Shoemaker.  Growing up, this reunion was one annual summer event that I looked forward to with great anticipation.  The descendants of John and Matilda (Tillie) Adams Huffman, my great grandparents, would meet at various venues, usually in the Clinton County area, but a couple of times my mom and dad planned the day at a park in Kettering or at their home at Indian Lake.  There were so many of us, and even though I didn't always know who fit where, I always knew the people there were "family".  I especially looked forward to seeing my "cousin" Wendy since this was the only place and time we would ever meet.  As a child, it seemed like those afternoons would last much longer than the normal day and we ate fantastic home cooking, played games, told stories, and laughed together. 
 As the years went by, as always happens with the growth and aging of families, attendance went down.  It is inevitable that new family traditions and reunions form and while it is sad, it is a fact of life.  After a time, we lost my grandmother and her sisters. Only her brother, my great uncle David, survives, now well past ninety.

We were very blessed that accounts of all of our reunions were written and submitted to the Clinton County area newspapers for publication, and lucky for me my aunt kept them all.  She had not only the stories of our reunions, but she also had in her possession accounts of the previous Huffman reunions; those that were gatherings of the descendants of John and Nancy Johnson Huffman, my great great grandparents.   While most of the reunions that I remember were picnics, baseball playing, playgrounds, and horseshoes, the early Huffman reunions were quite a production.  They held "business meetings" and voted for committees to plan the next event, even voting for a "president".  They put on shows for each other, with singing, dancing, and poetry readings.  I love the tales about the fun they had and it is a testament to how much they enjoyed being together, just like the later Huffman's did.

There are times when I get "homesick" for those reunions.  We have tried putting one together again, but while it was nice, it felt a little hollow.  The loss of so many of our loved ones was keenly felt and even though it wasn't spoken, I think many of us felt it was time to let the reunion go.  But, those precious days will live on in our memories and in the articles and photographs that documented those wonderful times.

My grandmother, Imo (far left) and her sisters and brother at the 1968 Huffman Reunion

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - The Gettysburg Address Monument

The Gettysburg Address Monument at the Dayton Veteran's Administration Center and Cemetery
Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio

Tombstone Tuesday - Charlotte Swadner Swigart and Michael Swigart

Gravesite of Charlotte Swadner Swigart

The photographs I am sharing for today's Tombstone Tuesday are those of my maternal great great aunt, Charlotte Swadner Swigart and her husband, Michael Swigart.   She was born 15 November, 1832, the daughter of Henry and Eleanor Suman Swadner.  She was married to Michael  in March, 1855.  She died at the age of 36 years, 3 months, 2 days.     She and Michael had five children.  I had some trouble at first locating where Charlotte was buried, but after some detective work, I found her, along with Michael and several of their children in the Mount Zion Cemetery in Beavercreek, Greene County, Ohio.  Michael had been widowed two years before he wed Charlotte when his wife of only two years, Lyda Shank, passed away, leaving him with two young children.   After Charlotte's death, he married again, this time to Hannah V. Rike and together they had two children.   Hannah died in 1889 and Michael followed her in 1897.    

Gravesite of Michael Swigart

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Surname Saturday The Odle's and O'Dell's of Scioto County, Ohio

During the past week, I haven't written too many posts on my blog because I have spent just about every free moment I have had researching on my newly found resource of newspaperarchive.com.  Luckily for me, two of the newspaper they have available cover areas of the country where my husband had family living during the periods of time the source covers.  Last week, I shared both the story of my husband's great great uncle, August Hellmund and the account of the tragic drowning of  his great uncle Clyde O'Dell and his wife, Lillian.  In the past, I have told of some "offbeat" finds I have made such as some "moonshining" arrests and to my great delight, I have uncovered newspaper accounts of family weddings.  Yesterday, I was enjoying the search for "Odles" and "O'Dells" in the new database,  copying and saving articles in my history folders and updating my family tree with any newly found names and dates, when I came upon something new that shocked and saddened me.   It was an article published 4 April, 1937 in The Portsmouth Times.  The headline read, "BULLETS KILL MAN, WOUND MOTHER OF 8".  The article went on to describe how James Odle, in an apparent "jealous craze" had shot and wounded the wife of his cousin, John Odle.  He had been staying with his cousin,  John and his family and had  been very difficult to deal with.  Bessie, John's wife, had apparently had enough of  James living with them and she told him to move out of the house. James became angry, retrieved a gun and shot  Bessie.  Her son, William, had come to his mother's aid and stepped between her and the man attempting to kill her.  After shooting Bessie, James had put the gun to his head and killed himself.  Bessie had actually walked herself to the ambulance, but was now in serious condition with a gunshot wound to the abdomen.  What a terrible story.
I immediately wanted to see just how these individuals fit into my husband's family tree.  The first thing I did was open to my family tree files to look up James, but there are many James Odle's in the family and not knowing any more information than what I had, it was a little difficult to match exactly whose "James" he was.  My next step was the Ohio Death Certificates database at familysearch.org to see if I could connect him to his parents by looking at his death certificate.  Unfortunately, his record wasn't there, but my eyes fell upon the name of someone else.  It was Bessie O'Dell.  According to her death certificate, Bessie died two weeks after she was shot, on 18 April, 1937.  The cause of death was listed as endocarditis, contributory cause was a gunshot wound to the abdomen.   I felt an overwhelming feeling of sadness.  I had just "met" this incredibly strong woman who had walked from the scene of her attempted murder to the waiting ambulance, and now she was gone.  She was taken away from her husband and her eight children by a man who was angry that she didn't like his influence upon her household.   I knew there was now more to be told of this story.  I searched the archive database once more, concentrating specifically on her name and I  discovered another article.

At the time of this article, Bessie's condition seemed to be improving, but unfortunately, I knew now that it wasn't to be.

The next two articles I found were obituaries; both Bessie's and James'. 

My final steps in documenting this tragedy were to input the information that I had found into both my Ancestry.com family tree and my personal family tree database.  After that, I could tell my husband that the wife of his grandmother's first cousin, therefore, his first cousin, once removed, was shot and killed by the man, James Odle, his second cousin, twice removed. 

 We all have items that live in our family trees that don't make us proud, but they are still important components to who we are.   Now that I know Bessie, I won't forget her and I think that is what family history is all about.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Dayton, Ohio from Riverscape

Dayton, Ohio as seen from Riverscape during the Centennial of Flight Celebration, 2003.  (Note the blimp flying high above downtown)
Photographed by George W. Hellmund, Jr.  

Tombstone Tuesday - Eli and Nancy Pike Jacks

Today's Tombstone Tuesday photograph is the gravesite of my paternal 3rd great grandparents, Eli and Nancy Pike Jacks. Their burial site is located in Sabina Cemetery, Sabina, Clinton County, Ohio.

Eli is the son of Elkanah and Catherine Bennett Doan Jacks and Nancy is the daughter of Nathan and Hannah Pike.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - August Hellmund - Answers Found!

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my husband's great great uncle, August Hellmund explaining how I had discovered that he had suffered an accidental electrocution and subsequently was institutionalized and listed as insane.  It was known that he had been at one point released from the institution and in 1930 he was living with his daughter, Evaline and her family.  After his death, he was buried with his wife, Matilda White Hellmund in Elmwood Cemetery, Waterloo, Iowa.   What I had been unable to discover was the circumstances under which August had ended up in the asylum, or what year he had actually passed away.  Contact with Elmwood Cemetery failed to produce any results as they had no actual date of burial listed for August.  It looked as though I had reached the end of the line in terms of what further information I would discover about August Ernst Hellmund.    Until yesterday.

As luck would have it, I received my membership packet from the Ohio Genealogical Society in the mail.  One of the many benefits of membership in the OGS includes access to NewspaperArchive.com and it was the first resource I decided to browse.  My first search request was simply the name "Hellmund" just to see how many "hits" I would receive.  I wasn't disappointed! The list seemed to be full of possibilites.

  One of the newspapers included was The Waterloo Courier in Waterloo, Iowa.  This is the newspaper that had provided so many answers to me previously about the electrocution incident, so I was very encouraged that there might be some further morsels of new information about August.  I wasn't disappointed!
The first article I discovered told me the details of what happened on the night of Tuesday, 23 October, 1914 when August was taken into custody.  Reading it was heartbreaking.  After suffering the agony of the horrendous burns he had received in the initial accident and enduring the skin grafting surgery and 3 month hospitalization afterwards, August began suffering extreme pains in the back of his head.  This surely must have been a sign of severe brain injury. He had lost all use of his arm and he began to have fits of uncontrollable anger and violence, until finally it reached the level where his family and his neighbors had to call the police for help when one night he attacked them with a baseball bat in hand.  How terrible this must have been for him and for the entire family as well.   I take comfort in the fact that he eventually was released from the institution and by 1920 he was again living at home with his family. 

But, this still didn't answer the question regarding his date of death.  As I continued to scan the list of given articles, I discovered what I had been looking for. 

There were actually two accounts of August's death.  The first appeared on Monday, 26 October,  1942, the actual day of his death.  The article explained how he had died as a result of carcinoma and told of how he had been living with his daughter, Stella for the past few years.  It also confirmed the fact that he had been born at sea while his parents were emigrating from Germany, however, the birthdate was slightly different than the one we had believed. 

The second article appeared on Wednesday, 28 October, 1942, and is more of an actual obituary, giving funeral  and family information.
After discovering these articles, I also found information about several of August's children, as well as numerous articles regarding August's sister, Caroline, which appeared in the Piqua Daily Call in Piqua, Miami County, Ohio.  As a matter of fact, in only one day's time, I have created a very large stack of papers that will now need to be sorted and filed accordingly.  But, I'm certainly not complaining.  I love it when I have knocked down another one of those pesky little "brick walls"!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Not Just Your "Run of the Mill" Family

The Old Grist Mill at Carillon Park

When I was a schoolgirl one of my favorite field trips was our almost yearly visit to Carillon Park.  I enjoyed the tour through the old schoolhouse, Newcom Tavern, the trains, but by far my favorite attraction was the grist mill.  I could have watched the waterwheel spin for hours and the stones grinding inside the building always fascinated me.  
In the past few years researching my family history, I think I have learned why.
I have "mills" in my blood.

My 4th great grandfather, Samuel Shoemaker, owned a mill on Baker's Fork in Highland County.
The Shoemaker Mill

My Armstong ancestors in Guernsey County operated a mill in Clio, Ohio, also known as "Armstrong's Mill."  The town was flooded in the creation of the Salt Fork Lake, but the bridge by the mill was saved and moved to Cambridge City Park, where it stands today.
An old photo of Armstrong's Mill and the Bridge today.

Standing inside that bridge and touching the wooden planks that form it's sides was like touching a piece of the past; connecting with those family members of long ago.

There are but a few of Ohio's mills still standing today.  We have visited both Clifton Mill and Bear's Mill and I discovered I have that old fascination with watching the water turn those big old wheels.
Clifton Mill

                                                                   Inside Bear's Mill

There really is nothing quite like standing inside one of the old mills and listening to the rhythm of the wheel turning and imaging the hustle and bustle that must have taken place during those early Ohio years.  Not long ago, I saw on television some storage sheds that were sold in the Eastern part of the country that had an actual working water wheel on the side. Someday, I sure would love to have one of those sitting in my own backyard.  It only seems fitting for a girl with "milling" in her blood, don't you think?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Chester Wilson Marling

Photograph of my maternal great uncle, Chester Wilson Marling (1896-1972).
Uncle Chet was born in Columbus, Ohio, but spent most of his life in Mishawaka and Elkhart, Indiana.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday My "Ancestor Approved Award" From Dionne Ford/Finding Josephine

I was very surprised and excited today when I discovered that Dionne Ford who writes the incredible Finding Josephine Genealogy blog, has passed the "Ancestor Approved" award to me.

As a recipient of this award I'm supposed to list ten things I have learned about any of my ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened me and pass along the award to ten other bloggers who I feel are doing their ancestors proud.

 Coming up with these has been quite challenging, but they are as follows:


My 4th cousin, once removed, John Richard Swadener (1928-1996) was a crew member on The Que Sera Sera, and was part of the first group of Americans to set foot on the South Pole to place the American flag, 31 November, 1956.  Mount Swadener located near the South Pole was named after him.

The town of Clio, Ohio, was once also called "Armstrong's Mill" because the family of my 3rd great grandfather, McLain Armstrong, owned a mill there.  The town was flooded in order to create the Salt Fork Lake and State Park in Ohio.  The covered bridge that Abraham Armstrong had built in 1810 was saved and sits in the Cambridge city park.

My great great grandfather, John Huffman, once went AWOL during the Civil War to come home and chop wood for his family. When he got there my great great grandmother, Nancy Johnson Huffman told him she didn't need him to chop wood because they had so many sons at home to do it!

My 3rd Great Grandfather, Amon Thomas Norris, was a Justice of the Peace in Frederick County, Maryland.

Enlightened/Thrilled by:            
Discovering that:
My 5th great grandfather, Timothy Bennett was the first settler in Union Township, Clinton County, Ohio.

Samuel Hoblit, my 1st cousin, 7 times removed, was a good friend of Abraham Lincoln's and had him as a house guest many times.

My great great grandfather, Henry Mathias Routsong, was invited to dinner at the home of NCR Company president, John Patterson and was given a ride in one of the first "ottomobiles".

Humbled by:

The sacrifices of so many of my ancestors who served nobly in the Revolutionary War, The Civil War, The War of 1812, World Wars I and II, and Korea. 

The execution of my 5th Great Grandfather, Peter B. Suman, who died because of his Brethren faith.

Those ancestors who braved great hardship to make a better life for themselves and their families in a new land and therefore, gave me the freedom and opportunity that I now have. 

Passing this Award on to:

The Sum of All My Research
 Funeral Cards
Mountain Genealogists
Greta's Genealogy Blog
Western KY Genealogy
Portals to the Past
Family Stories
Little Bytes of Life

It's almost impossible to try to narrow down this award to only 10 people.  There are so many geneabloggers that inspire me everyday. These are just a few of my favorites.

Treasure Chest Thursday - Cousins Lost and Found

It starts with a message in my INBOX that says "New Message from ----- on Ancestry.com".  Sometimes it's someone asking me to help them to advance their family history research, but once in a while, not only do I find someone who has valuable information they can share with me, I discover a member of my family.  
That's what happened to me this week in the form of Janice, the granddaughter of my paternal great great uncle, Elby Adams.   Janice is at the beginning of her family history search and she found me on Ancestry.com while she was searching for her grandfather.  When she found him in my family tree, she contacted me and I was thrilled to hear from her. We have been able to exchange information about our family history and we now we both have a new family connection we were unaware of before last Monday. When I shared this information with my Aunt Joyce, she told me about all the fond memories she has of Janice's mother and she will now be able to share those stories with her. 
I am of the belief that there is nothing to be treasured more than our families, so today I am celebrating finding a missing piece to the puzzle.
Janice's parents in a photo she shared with me.