David's Reformed Church Congregation

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

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary Leevey Routsong

Today I am sharing the tombstone of my 3rd great aunt, Mary Leevey Routsong.
Mary was born 31 July, 1800 in Maryland.
She was married to Henry Routzong, Jr. on 20 June, 1830 in Greene County, Ohio.
They were the parents of Mary Elizabeth, Ann Catherine, William H., Amy Anna, and Mariah.
Mary died on 15 January, 1864 and she was buried in Byron Cemetery, Byron, Greene County, Ohio.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Madness Monday - The Auction, The Yearbooks, and Me

  One day last week, a sign was put up in the front yard of a neighbor who had passed away a few weeks ago. The sign gave notice that an estate auction would take place on Sunday.  My first thought was how many cars would be parking on the street in front of our house and what a nuisance that was going to be.  I didn't give going to the auction myself a second a thought. I have been known to be a pretty mean bidder on the "online auction" websites, but, while my father was almost an auction "professional", I have never enjoyed standing out in the sun all day long waiting until the item you want is put up for bids. So, Sunday came and as I thought, the onslaught of cars, trucks, and people began early.  The auctioneer's microphone echoed throughout the neighborhood and the hours passed by.  I watched people loading items of various value and size into their vehicles and finally, my curiosity got the best of me and I casually mentioned that maybe we should have gone down to just "check out what was going on".  And before I knew it, off my husband and I went to "see what we could see."
Things were winding down quite a bit by this time, and I wandered away from the crowd into the garage to take a look at what might be left.  The first table I came to looked interesting as I found a box with some books.  I opened a small grade school yearbook from my elementary school from two years after I had moved on to junior high school.  I recognized many teachers and some students who were slightly younger than I.  The next book I found was what created what I would call my "auction madness".  It was a 1943 Fairmont High School Yearbook. Underneath it were yearbooks from 1945 and 1946.  Fairmont is the school from which my mother and her family graduated and I knew the possibility existed that I might find several relatives within the pages of these books.  I quickly started turning pages and within two minutes, I was thrilled to discover two portraits of my uncles. 
 They both graduated in 1943 and I had never before seen their senior photographs. 
They are both so young in these pictures and it's shocking to think that in just a few months, they had both entered into the service of their country.

I knew before going any farther, that I had to have this treasure box of books.  I was afraid to leave the books, so when my husband finally found me, I told him that we needed to find out what to do so we could bid when the time came.  He started watching how things were done and then quickly registered and received our bidding number. I suddenly realized I had no money and I had to leave him standing by the box while I ran home to scrounge up some money. This entailed borrowing from my children and stealing from the "wedding and vacation fund", but I could not let someone else have those books.  Running back into the garage, I started guarding the box so no one else could even look at it.  Other bidders were standing next to certain things in the garage as well, so I figured I was now just moving into full auction mode along with the bidding veterans.  Finally, after what seemed like an eternity,  the auctioneer made his way into the garage, along with an entourage of people just trying to get a bargain.  He wasn't going to take each item individually because by now, this man was hot, tired, and anxious to get done with things.  He took the entire table and ask for the highest bid and whomever made the high bid got their choice of anything on the table.  The bidding started and my husband was right in the middle of it. My dad would have been proud of him!  We were the top bid at $5.00 and I grabbed my books.  There was another pile of books right next to the yearbooks and I got those too.  They consisted of some magazines regarding the Kennedy assassination and the opening of Disney World, along with a couple of local history books.  After getting the books home and having more time to study them, I discovered numerous photos of my uncles, cousins, and friends. The books are in pristine condition and I am very thankful to have them in my possession.  As an extra surprise, I also found inside the magazines I bought two Dayton Daily News front pages; one regarding the death of Franklin Roosevelt and the other documenting the Battle of Midway! Jackpot! It doesn't get too much better than that.
 So, yes, I may have let "Auction Madness" get the better of me, but sometimes a little madness can be a good thing!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Great Grandpa Routsong's letter

My Maternal Great Grandfather, Henry Mathias Routsong

I have written in the past about an incredible  history book about the Routsong family entitled "From Rauenzahner to Routson, A Family on the Move.", written by John Philip Dern and Marjorie Waidner.  It's one of my favorite family resource books and inside it is an item that the authors reference when writing about my great grandfather, Henry Routsong. They tell about a letter that addressed to Mrs. Mettie Harrington and that at the time of the writing of their book was in the possession  of his granddaughter, Harriett Routsong Nutt.  There were only a couple of sentences used in the book and I longed to read the entire letter.  I didn't know who in the family would have had possession of the letter by now so I just figured it was something I would never have the opportunity to see.  Until one day last year. 

My mother told me she had received a package in the mail from one of her cousins in response to a request we had made regarding information about her branch of the Routsong family.  I could hardly wait to get the envelope and start looking over all the paperwork.  At first, I was a little disappointed because most of what she had written, I already knew.  But then I saw a Xeroxed copy of a typed manuscript.  In the top left hand corner was written "This letter was written by my Grandfather Routsong.  Harriet Routsong Nutt" 


Here in my hands was a transcription of the letter, referenced by Dern and Waidner, written by my great grandfather, Henry Routsong.  It was everything I had hoped it would be.   It read:

                                                R.R. No. 2 Dayton, Ohio
                                       December the 29th

Mrs. Mettie Harrington.  I have pen in hand to acknowledge the receipt of a Posttel Card containing Christian or Christmas greetings wich please accept my hearty thanks.  It is an event that attracts the attention of the world that no other event does, and well it may, we are informed that it was "glory" "Peace" "Goodwill".  Those three clear notes rang out distinctly in that first Christmas song of the heavenly host over Bethlehem's fields.  There was the note of jubilant Praise, the note of divine human harmony, and the note of brotherly fellow feeling, the perfect blending of these three made that song the sweetest melody to which earth ever listened, and it is true today that there is no real Christmas for any life in which those same three notes are not dominant.  Now Mettie, I scarecely know where to commence to right I have so much to think about.  I will commence on Post cards greeting on the 24th of November I was 87 years of age and I was reminded of the fact by receiving about 90 post card greetings, and they all wished me many more anniversaries.  Well, I can't do more than thank my friends for thear kind remembrance of me, but the age that me and my wife has arrived at we cannot expect many more.  I am in my 88th year and my wife 86th year and if we live to March the 27th 1912 it will be the sixty first anniversary of our wedding.  We of corse can't get around like we did years that is past and gone.  May espeshelly, she scarcely gets over to the girls unlefs they come and take her over in a buggy, and she has not been to see Mrs. Bradford sence she has been living at your old home.  Speaking of your old home, Mrs. Bradford has caused quite a change in regard to Bildings, she had them so arranged that she got a barn, corn crib, a horse stable and corn stable all under one roof.  The size of the building is 40 by 60 feet.  I do not know what it cost her but I have no doubt that it cost not lefs then 2000 dollars.  It is a splendid Building.  I do not know wether I can write any thing more that will be interesting to you or not, but I will state that thrue the kindness of President Patterson of the Cash Register Co. we was inabled to visit the Building.  It is a wonder of wonders.  We was told that to go thrue the whole Building we have to walk 10 miles.  President Patterson paid us a visit on sunday the 12th of November and told us that he would send for us tuesday or wednesday morning.  May told him that she could not go, but he told her yes you can and you are got to go.  So on tuesday here comes a lady by the name of Mrs. Conover.  This lady has visited us time and again for 4 or 5 years on some busnefs for President Patterson.  Well May was ingaged in baking some cakes and she declared that she could not go but he old lady said yes you shall go. Your dauters are a going that is Elly and Libey, and you are got to go with them.  Of course it was an outtomobile to take us in and that a verry fine one belonging to the President.  Our treatment was of the verry best.  They gave us our dinner and a dinner that was good I assure you.  We were told that 500 girls and then many men were imployed in making registers and averedged 300 daily.  My opinion of the factory is that it might be imitated but it cannot be excelled.  I do not know whether I can write any thing more that will interest you or not, but I will state that Olie Barns had there dwelling repaired by the same carpenter that built Mrs. Bradford's Barn.
The repairing cost him about one thousand dollars.  It is a neat and comfortable cottage, much handeer than it was befer, she has her daughter home with her now.  She is teaching school at No. 12 school House.  I will now state that I was requested by President Patterson to give him the names of the first settlers of Vanburen township so far as I was able.  It was quite a task, but I gave him a good many names.  I believe that I am the oldest man in the township liveing at this time that was born in the township and spent my life here.  When I look back to my school days, my school mates I have but one besides my wife.  I will now close my letter by wishing you  Mettie, and your husband a happy Crismas and New Year Greeting, hoping at the same time that we may meet each other by and by.  May sends her well wishes to you Mettie, and says she would like to see you.  Give a call Mettie.  You and your husband.  Your at libery to do so, for you and your husband worked for what you injoy today.
Most respectfully your well wisher                                                     H.M. Routsong

In this letter, Great Grandpa Routsong refers to "President Patterson", who is John Patterson, who was president of the National Cash Register Company, which I have written about previously.  He also refers to "Mrs. Conover" who I believe to be Charlotte Reeve Conover, author and Dayton historian.  How exciting it is for me to know that my great grandfather not only met both of these people, but actually had dinner with them and collaborated with them on stories about Dayton history!

This letter is truly one of my treasures.  The only thing that could have made it better would have been to have the original in his handwriting, but I'm not complaining!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio skyline from The Great American Ballpark
Photographed by George W. Hellmund, Jr.

Tombstone Tuesday - Ella Jacks Adams

Today I am sharing the gravesite and story of my great great grandmother, Ella Jacks Adams.  Her beautiful tombstone stands in the Sabina Cemetery, Sabina, Ohio.

Her obituary reads:


“So live that when thy summons comes to join that innumerable throng which moves to that mysterious realm, that thou mayst be sustained by an unfaltering trust, and approach they grave like one who wraps the drapery of his covers about him and lies down to pleasant dreams.”
Such was the life lived and the departure from this world of Ella Adams, daughter of Eli and Nancy Jacks. She was born in Sabina, O, Sept. 4, 1862 and departed this life February 9, 1902, aged 39 years, 5 month, and 5 days.
During her girl life and young womanhood she was the light of the family. Her ever joyous disposition shed a halo of gladness about her and she was ever the solace and comforter of an afflicted mother.
On February 13, 1884, she was happily united in marriage to Henry Adams. To this union were born five children, two of which in infancy preceded her to the spirit world.
On March 3, 1890, under the ministration of Rev. S. S. Fleming, she was happily converted to God, and from thence lived a worthy, consistent, Christian life.
At the institution of the camp of Royal Neighbors in Sabina, she was one of its charter members. The emblems of the order, faith, modesty, courage, unselfishness, and endurance were compatible with her nature and were faithfully practiced. Her love for the order and its members was ardent, and sadly will she be missed in the council of the camp.
Just previous to her departure, she called her relatives around her and bade each an affectionate farewell, assuring them of her bright prospect of heaven and desiring all to so live as to meet her there.
She leaves father, mother, husband, children, sister, and brother to mourn the loss of a dutious daughter, as affectionate wife, a doting mother and a loving and obliging sister, and the community a valued neighbor.
The funeral was held in the M.P. Church, Wednesday forenoon, sermon by Rev. W.J. Elliott, and burial services in charge of the Royal Neighbors. Interment in the Sabina cemetery.

Also printed in the newspaper was the following resolution:

I don't know what illness took my great great grandmother from her family at such a young age, but I do know from these writings just how much she was loved.  I think her tombstone is one of the most beautiful I have seen and I'm glad to have been given the opportunity to know her through the words of those who knew her so well.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Surname Saturday - "Can you help me find some family names?"

The names I have been researching this week do not grow in MY family tree, but I have been very excited to find them.  For the past few days, I have been researching the names Turocy,  Krumheuer, Basar, and Jablonski and it's all because of a direct message I received from a "Twitter" friend. 

On Wednesday afternoon, I opened a message from a woman who I "tweet" with every so often.  I don't know her personally, but I do know that she is expecting her second child in a few weeks.  Her message said that she was having trouble finding a name for her baby and that she and her husband really would like to use a family name.  She wanted to start some history research, but she didn't know how to get started and she asked if I could give her some advice. 

Well, there is nothing I enjoy more than the "ancestor hunt".  In the past, I have started some family trees for friends, getting them a good start and then letting them run with it.  So, I told her that I would start one for her, make her an editor, and then once we found the names and information we needed, she could keep using that one or start her own.   That's when the fun started!

Step one is writing down what you know.  In this case, we didn't know a great deal.  She is young enough that her parents and most of her grandparents fall into that "after 1930 Census" category so you really have to get creative to find information.   She knew her parents names and a couple of grandparents. That is about all we had to go on, but it was a beginning, and luckily for me, the names weren't "Smith" or "Jones". 

I began the family tree on Ancestry.com, listing her name as the "Home Person" and entering her parents names and birthdates.  Then, I added the grandparents names that I knew.  I didn't know birthdates or birthplaces or where they had lived in the country.  I was just assuming they were from Ohio.  I started with her grandfather Turocy.  Right away, I discovered someone I thought might be him in the 1920 census, living in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.   His father and his mother were listed as having been born in Czechoslavakia.  I wrote to my friend, asking if her family was from the Cleveland area.  She told me they were indeed.  Soon, I discovered an obituary for her grandfather and the names from the census were a match with the name in the obit.  So, now we had gone back another generation, with new names that my friend had never known.   Investigating her great grandfather proved to be fascinating.  We discovered he had immigrated to the United States in 1907.

 My next step was looking into any databases that might be available for Cuyahoga County.  I started with the Cleveland Public Library and I wasn't disappointed.  Their list of online databases includes the Cleveland Necrology File Index.  At first, I wasn't too optimistic that I would find anything right away.  An index usually gives just basic information and  instruction on how to obtain the actual documents.  However, this index is actually a gold mine of facts.  It lists the ID number of the obituary, name of the newspaper in which it appears, and microfilm roll number; all pretty standard. But, the bonus is that it lists the name of the deceased, the place, date, and time of the funeral service, and every name included in the obituary.  Luckily for me, maiden names were also included.  From those files, I was able to link new names to my friend's tree. Within just a couple of days, we had grown her tree by several generations on both her maternal and paternal sides.  She now has some World War I and World War II draft registration and enlistment forms that contain the signatures of her great grandfathers and uncles.  She knows the immigration details of most of her ancestors.  The best part is, she can continue to grow her family tree, because like all trees, it is a living, always changing thing.  There are always more documents, article, photographs, and cousins to find. 

I love putting the putting the puzzle of family history together.  I will never be a professional genealogist, but thanks to so many incredible online databases, the average "jane" can fit together the pieces of the past.  And just like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, "You never know what you're gonna get".  That's what makes this journey so exciting for me!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - George Shoemaker

This is the burial place of my great uncle, George Shoemaker, son of Thomas and Roseanna Varvel Shoemaker.   He died of paralysis after becoming ill with diptheria.   
He was only 3 years, 4 months, and 16 days old.
He is buried in Locust Grove Cemetery, Peebles, Adams County, Ohio.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Happy Mother's Day, Mom

Mom, on her 75th birthday

Engagement Portait, Age 19

At about 5 years old

Mom, a beautiful baby!

Happy Mother's Day to my mom, Marilyn Norris Shoemaker.
I once read once that "the most important things we can give our children are roots and wings" and my mother did just that. I was blessed to have parents that loved each other and loved me and my brothers unconditionally. She made sure we knew where we came from and at the same time, she also made us believe we could be whatever we wanted to be. We have always known that mom was there for us; no matter what. She rocked us to sleep, (usually to the tune of "A Bushel and a Peck"and a little pat on the bottom!), included a kiss with every bandaged "boo-boo", attended every teacher's meeting, sports event, and school plays, cooked tasty meals on a small budget, and looked beautiful while she was doing it all. As we became adults and our lives became more complicated, she was and still remains right here with us; sharing both our joys and our sorrows. There is no way we can ever adequately thank her for everything she has done and continues to do for us, but I want to say "Happy Mother's Day", mom.
Love you "A Bushel and a Peck"!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Interview with Grandma

In 1984, my mother bought a very small audio cassette recorder and began to hide it during our various holiday family gatherings. At the time, we all teased her about recording us as much as she was, but now, I am so thankful for those recordings. We eventually purchased a video recorder, but those audio cassettes contain many wonderful times and voices that were no longer with us by the time the video technology arrived. One of those voices belongs to my grandmother, Gladys Marling Norris. Grandma spent quite a lot of time in our home during those years and one day my brilliant mother decided to sit down with her and ask her questions about her life. It was and remains one of my greatest treasures. I have converted many of those old cassette tapes to CD's and MP3 files. In honor of Mother's Day, I would like to share a portion of one of those interviews here. So, here's to my mom and both of my grandmothers. I am who I am because of you!

Please be patient. The video takes a few minutes to load.