David's Reformed Church Congregation

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

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Portrait of Great Grandma Norris




The beautiful lady in the photograph above is Elizabeth Routsong Norris, my maternal great grandmother and the portrait and the obituary underneath are my Treasure Chest items for this Thursday.
The portrait was kept at my grandparents home, although I never saw it hanging on the wall. It wasn't as commonplace in years past as it is now to keep photos of deceased family members on display and I didn't actually see this photo until I was an adult. It now hangs in my mother's home, in it's original frame, in extremely good condition considering it's age. Libby, as my great grandmother was called, was the daughter of Henry Mathias Routsong and Clarinda Swadner. I have written about them in some earlier posts. She was married to Harry Norris 26 June, 1898 in Van Buren Township, Montgomery County, Ohio. They had two children, my grandfather, Leland Norris and his sister, Grace Naomi.
On the occasion of her death, the family was given the obituary above, laminated in heavy plastic with the newspaper's name stamped as well as the date of publication. Every one who has ever researched their family history will know how valuable something like this is to have.
So, once again, my treasures today are photo and document related. They truly are priceless!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Memories of an NCR Baby



It was massive. A tribute to the man who created her and the employees who made her run. NCR was a much a part of Dayton as the Great Miami River. The National Cash Register Company had been originally The National Manufacturing Company, begun to market the first cash register. John Patterson, a businessman who knew a good thing when he saw it, bought the company and the patent and turned the company into what would become the model for companies the world over. Mr. Patterson became both famous and infamous for the way in which he ran his business, but his ideas for employee well-being were far ahead of their time. During the Great Flood of 1913, John Patterson was almost solely responsible for saving the city of Dayton because of his early warnings and massive rescue operation. So beloved was he that the citizens of the area created a monument of his likeness that overlooks the land he donated for a public golf course. If you grew up in Dayton from the turn of the century until the 1970's, chances are you, your parent, or your grandparent worked for The National Cash Register Company. In my case, it was both my parents and two of my grandparents.


My maternal grandmother told the story of how she and her friend were riding on a transom car after work at NCR when my grandfather, still in his Army uniform, was introduced to her. He said he told himself that she was the woman he was going to marry; and he did! My father was a toolmaker and my mother was working as a typist in the parts inspection department (her boss was Pete Rose's uncle!). Dad's boss told him that he had seen a "cute blonde" downstairs and asked him if he would like to do some extra work in that department. He did. Dad told me once that when he went down to see her he thought "Wow!" A few months later, they were married and they had 42 years together before my father passed away. So, NCR was in the blood of our family. After mom and dad were married, he joined the Air Force and spent time in Japan, Texas, Mississippi, and Columbus, but he decided to come back to NCR.
During the 50's and 60's, NCR was THE place to work in Dayton. Growing up with NCR was wonderful for kids. Old River Park, created for the employees and their families was a haven for those needing a place to relax and have fun. A huge pool, miniature golf course, giant chess and checkers games, canoes to row on the Miami River, picnic grounds, band concerts, and movies were just a few of the items available in the park. Every year there was a special Christmas program (YES. A CHRISTMAS program, not a holiday program.) at the NCR Auditorium. We were treated to various types of entertainers, topped off with a visit from Santa and each of us received one of those little mesh stockings filled with candy. Once a year, we were treated to the "Toolmaker's Picnic". I assume that every job classification had a picnic, but I thought we were special. Each child was even given a special ticket that entitled them to pick out the "toy" of their choice in one of the special "stone" shelters in the park. NCR. It was wonderful; until about 1971.


I have several NCR magazines covering the time period of the 1960's to the early 1970's. Looking at them now, we should have seen it coming, but I don't think anyone did. The union certainly didn't. Times were changing quickly. Mechanical cash registers were on the way out and the microchip was taking over the world. The company began to try to make changes and the union fought back. Then, they went on strike. 8,500 people walked out on NCR.


I was only nine years old at the time, but I can still remember mom and dad turning on the news to see what was going to happen. I can still see the worry and tears. The strike went on for several months, but, like most strikes, it was eventually settled. I'm not sure what, if anything, was gained. Even so, after strike was over, things were never the same. Little by little, NCR began to lay people off. They just weren't needed anymore. The world was still changing. The factory was getting older. Now, there were empty buildings that weren't needed so they began to tear them down, one by one. Even the gorgeous architecture of the auditorium was not spared the wrecking ball. By the 1980's, the NCR property was a shell of it's once grand stature. Company presidents came and went, logos came and went. The University of Dayton bought a few of the company's buildings. The Dayton Daily News moved into a portion of another one. But, the NCR National Headquarters was still here, sitting on a small hill, behind an iron gate.
Then, another new company president, who decided he didn't want to be a part of the city that gave birth to the business that employs him, took the final step in 2009 and moved NCR away from Dayton and the state of Ohio entirely. Not with a bang, but with a whimper, the company that John Patterson and the citizens of Dayton built, moved away.
Thankfully, Dayton History has become the steward of Old River Park, hoping to restore it to it's former glory and The University of Dayton will assume ownership of the national headquarters building. Cox Ohio Media has taken over the building that houses the Dayton Daily News and plans to move their television and radio stations to the building as well.
To those persons living in the city who have no knowlege of Dayton history, it probably means nothing more than just an article in the newspaper or a clip on the news, but to those of us who grew up as "NCR babies", it's a loss we can feel to our souls. NCR may have left us physically, but the spirit of NCR will always live on in our hearts and in this city.

Tombstone Tuesday - Karen Lee Kelley


While searching through Fairview Cemetery in Gratis, Ohio I found the gravesite of Karen Lee Kelley. She is not a relative of ours, but I thought the memorial to her was so sweet, I had to photograph it. I thought I would share it for today's Tombstone Tuesday.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Getting Dad Home



The letter is addressed incorrectly to "Mrs. Esther Shoemaker", but it doesn't matter. The news it contains was what my mother had been praying for and waiting to hear for way too long. My father had been stationed in Japan and his tour of duty had been complete for some time, but the Air Force could not seem to find a way to get him home. He had not been well and homesickness was taking it's toll. My oldest brother had been born while he was gone and there had been precious little time with family since then. Both he and my mother were at their wits end. Out of sheer desperation, my mother and grandparents had contacted the office of their congressman, Paul F. Schenck of the 3rd Congressional District in Ohio, to see if he could offer an help. They soon received an answer.

His response had been written 1 June, 1954 and it states, "I have received a message from the Far East Air Force Command regarding your husband's rotation to the United States and am pleased to relay this information to you. They report that his return has been delayed because of a shortage of transportation facilities which, of course, you already knew. However, they also say that if they do not find space for him on a ship coming to the United States by June 5th, they will let him fly back and use him as a crew member on the plane. I am also informed that he will be assigned to Lockbourne Air Force Base on his return. It has been a pleasure securing this information for you and if I can be of further to you at any time, I hope you will feel free to call on me. With kindest regards, I am.......Paul F. Schenck."

On the 11 June, 1954, my father sent the following telegram, "Darling, leaving for Fuchu on the 14th. Will see you soon. All My Love."

He flew home on an airplane that was going to be taken out of service because it was no longer safe. I guess he figured it was worth the risk to finally be home!



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Huffman Sisters - Part Two

Another portrait of my grandmother, Imogene Huffman Shoemaker (L) and my great aunt Lavonne Huffman Jackson (Sabina, Clinton County, Ohio) circa 1910

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Memories of Rike's Department Store



Every metropolitan city had at least one major department store. Cincinnati had Shillitos, Columbus had Lazarus. Dayton had Rike's.

During my lifetime, Rike's had many different incarnations before finally being turned into Macy's by Federated Dept. Stores. The crown jewel of the chain, the huge downtown Rike's department store was torn down in 1999 to make way for the beautiful Shuster Performing Arts Center.

My purpose here is not to write a history of the department store, but to share a few of my own personal memories.





















Kettering had one of the first "suburban" Rike's department stores ever built. We went shopping at what was known as the "Rike's Kettering" shopping center. At the time of my childhood, the store wasn't much different from the way K-Mart or Target is today. The check-outs were located in the front of the store and large picture windows lined the entrance. My brother and I would walk to Rike's with our friends and he would buy the latest record albums.
During the late 1960's my mother decided to take an evening job at the store to help with the bills. The cards above contain the dress code she was expected to follow. Reading it gives you quite an insight into the fashion expectations of the day. Some of the more interesting statements are " As a rule, sleeveless dresses should not be worn by mature women" and "the smart women is always accessorized properly from head to toe". I wish I had a copy of the dress code for the men!


My mother enjoyed working for Rike's, but she was working in the girls sized 4-6X department. A great plus for me since many nights she would come home with some wonderful new outfit, but it wasn't so good for her pocketbook! Some of my favorite memories were when she would bring home chocolate covered pretzels or the latest fashion accessory for Barbie! But, mom never enjoyed being away from her family for very long and so her career with Rike's soon came to an end.
In the late 1970's and early 80's Rike's changed the look of their stores. They decided to go more upscale. I remember clearly the white tile coming up and the hardwood floors going down! Even the mannequins began donning real eyelashes! We started shopping there a little less.
Soon, they changed their name to "Shillito-Rikes", combining with the stores in the Cincinnati area and then we lost the Rike's name altogether when all the stores became "Lazarus". The final change came when "Macy's" came to town. Although sometimes it's nice to say I bought something at "Macy's" (which is rare!) I have to say I really miss shopping at "Rike's". A large part of Dayton history is gone but it's not forgotten, at least for now.
The Rike's name may no longer hang over the door, but I still tend to call the place "The Rike's Kettering Shopping Center" and people just look at me like I'm from another planet.

Tombstone Tuesday - The Wright Brothers







For today's Tombstone Tuesday post, I have chosen the final resting place of Orville and Wilbur Wright. They are buried in the historic Woodland Cemetery in Dayton. Many of the Wright family members are also buried here. The Wright Family monument receives hundreds of visitors, with many leaving flowers or money on the stones; as you can see from these photos we took on our visit.
According to information listed on Ancestry.com, the Wright Brothers are my 7th cousins, 4 times removed, with our shared ancestor being James Sykes, my 10 great grandfather and their 6th great grandfather. I can't confirm or deny this information personally, because I haven't sourced the information myself, but I choose to believe it for the time being since I am so proud of the fact that were "hometown" Dayton boys! Their mark is seen all over this area, from the Wright Cycle Shop to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, to Wright State University.

Also created in their honor is the Wright Brothers Memorial in Fairborn, Ohio, which is a replica of the national monument built in Kittyhawk, NC and Carillon Historical Park houses a replica cycle shop and one of their original airplanes, and many other interesting items from the lives of these two great inventors.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Surname Saturday - Rowe Family of Emmitsburg, Maryland

Frank Rowe and Leland Norris, Sr.



Marriage Announcement of Effa Norris and Frank Rowe


Retirement Newspaper Announcement

Obituaries of Frank and Effa Norris Rowe



Gravesite at St. Elias Lutheran Cemetery
M. Frank Rowe was my grandfather's uncle, by marriage. He was married to grandpa's aunt, Effa Norris Rowe and they lived in Emmitsburg, Maryland. My mother recalled visiting her great Uncle Frank when she was a teenager during the one visit she had made with her parents to Maryland. By the time she had made the trip, her great Aunt Effa had passed away so she had no memory of her.

When I began my research on my mother's family, the first place I looked was in the Maryland census records because my great grandfather had migrated to Ohio from Frederick County.

It was a little tricky to find Frank Rowe, because, I discovered, his first name was actually Marion. After quite a few frustrating moments, I finally got the message that his family routinely used their middle names and not their legal names. So, on some legal forms, he was "Marion Rowe" or "M. Rowe". Once I figured this out, it became a little easier to find him.
Through the various census years, I discovered that Frank was a storekeeper and a shoemaker and was considered one of the prominent businessmen in the community. Another important source I was pleasantly surprised to find was the Emmitsburg.net website where photographs and stories of early Emmitsburg are plentiful. It was during one of my searches to that site that two photographs of Rowe's Shoe Store turned up! They are a little out of focus, but to me, they are very precious.
Continuing my search for Frank and Effa, I decided to check some Frederick County newspaper records and I happily found a remarkable amount information. Two of the most valuable were their marriage announcement and the news of Frank's retirement.

The story of the wedding, from The Frederick News, 24 December, 1898, reads:
Miss Effie Norris, daughter of Joshua H. Norris, and Mr. M. Frank Rowe, both of Emmitsburg, were married at the bride's home on December 22, Rev. Chas. Reinewald officiated. The bride was attired in a handsome brown traveling gown, with hat and gloves to match. A sumptuous dinner was served immediately after the ceremony. Mr. and Mrs. Rowe went to Washington and Baltimore and returned home Saturday evening.

The story of Frank's retirement reads:
M. Frank Rowe Retires at 86
Emmitsburg Shoemaker Had Plied Trade 65 Years at Same Stand
Emmitsburg: 65 years at the same stand is an enviable record of Emmitsburg’s oldest business proprietor, venerable, M. Frank Rowe, who last week announced his retirement.
Mr. Rowe has plied his trade, shoemaker, at the same location, on West Main Street, that is a familiar location to both old and young residents of the town, beginning his trade under his grandfather, James A. Rowe. The younger Mr. Rowe was taken into the concern as a full-fledged partner at the early age of 21. That was in 1887.
A native son of Emmitsburg, Mr. Rowe recalls that his grandfather had the distinction of making boots for the cavalry of officers when they were engaged in conflict at Gettysburg. He imparts the boots then sold for $16.00 a pair. At that time the concern ----and cut the patterns for the custom made footwear.
Not content with shoemaking alone as a business, the energetic Mr. Rowe opened a grocery store in the same building 14 years ago at age 72. He continued operating the store until until the past week when he suddenly decided to sit back and take it easy.
At 86, the enterprising Mr. Rowe has a keen sense of humor and is an active conversationalist, well versed in current events and possesses a keen memory of events of long ago.

Frank and Effa had two daughters, Mae and Frances.
Effa died in 1945 and Frank followed her in 1953. They were buried in St. Elias Lutheran Cemetery. Thanks to a wonderful Findagrave.com volunteer, I have photos of their gravesites. I also learned through that person that Frank and Effa had had a third daughter, Pauline, who died as a baby.

The only photograph I have of my great great uncle Frank is the one above where he is standing outside my grandparent's home with my grandfather. I am still trying to find a way to contact the children or grandchildren of Frank and Effa's daughter's, but so far, I have had no luck. I am very pleased with what I have learned so far, though, and I'm going to keep on searching!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Dad and the Crew of the B-29

My father was a radio operator on a B-29 in the early 1950's. I love this photograph of the crew; autographed by all. My father is standing, second from the right.

Tombstone Tuesday - John, Margaret and Flossie Routsong

The picture I chose for today's "Tombstone Tuesday" prompt is that of the final resting place for John Routsong, his wife, Margaret, and their daughter, Flossie in Zion Cemetery, Kettering, Ohio. John Routsong, my great great uncle, was the brother of my great grandmother, Elizabeth Routsong Norris. I had heard the family lore that one of her brothers had been "buried" alive, but I knew few specifics until I found the above newspaper article. It was in a box filled with various cards and clippings that my mother received after my grandmother passed away. I don't know what newspaper contained the article, but it is dated March 15, 1884. Handwritten is 13, 1884, so I assumed that that was the date the incident itself happened. The article is not complete, but there is enough there to know how John died. He and several other men were excavating a trench on the "Old Johnson Farm" on the Lebanon Pike in Van Buren Township which would now be on Far Hills Ave. in the Kettering/Centerville Ohio area. When they had made the trench 20 feet deep, it collapsed, killing John and his friend John Marshall.
John Routsong only 27 years old. Margaret never remarried and she lived until 1925. Their daughter, Flossie, never married, and was buried alongside her parents.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sentimental Sunday - Grandpa Norris and the Stingray Bike



The pictures above are still photographs taken from an 8 mm home movie. It is also one of my favorite memories of my grandfather, Leland Norris. My brother had received a purple Stingray bicycle for his birthday and my grandfather decided to ride it, pipe and all. I don't know how many years it had been since he had been on a bicycle and he didn't stay on it very long, but while he was riding, he was awfully proud of himself! To this day, when I think of my grandpa, this is usually the first thing that comes to my mind.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sabina School Class Photos

Since school photos have been so popular with my blog readers, I decided to share a few more today. These are my father's (Estel Shoemaker, Jr) class photos. He attended Sabina School, Sabina, Clinton County, Ohio. The Sabina schoolhouse was located on Washington St.. It was at one time destroyed by fire, but was rebuilt and stood for many years until it was torn down to make way for a new elementary school. My father attended the school from first grade through his graduation in 1948.





In the first photo, my father is in the top row, far right. In the second photo, he is in the middle row, far right. He is also wearing the same sweater in each photograph.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Solving the Mystery of August Hellmund


A few posts ago, I talked about my husband's great great grandfather, Ernest Hellmund, who immigrated to the United States from Saxony in what we believe to be September, 1860. Today, I'm writing about his eldest son, August Ernest.

August was born either "at sea" on the voyage to America, or in Scales Mound, Illinois. It all depends upon which account one reads. He was the only one of Ernest's children not to move to Miami County, Ohio with him when he left Illinois sometime after his first wife, Maria, and two of their children died, in 1872.


On 1 October, 1882, August married Matilda Sophia White and they eventually had 11 children. During my research I discovered that from 1900 through 1910, the family lived in Gratiot, Lafayette County, Wisconsin, but sometime before 1915, they had moved to Waterloo, Iowa.


I was shocked when I discovered this entry in the 1915 Iowa State Census collection that states August was living in an asylum and lists him as "insane". I had no idea why he was there or what had happened between the time he had lived in Wisconsin and the time he had moved to Iowa.
















I also had discovered August's gravesite in Elmwood Cemetery, Waterloo, Iowa, where he was buried along with his wife and son. (His daughter, Caroline is named on the stone, but she is not buried here.) However, there is no date on the stone and the cemetery has no record of when he was buried. No further clues there.
August's story threatened to be a lifelong mystery to me until another resource became available to me. This time I found WorldVitalRecords.com, and they had a list of publications that until now I had not seen before and I was eager to search. Once again, I took advantage of the "free trial" subscription to see if there was anything on the site that might be helpful to me. Luckily, one of the cities included in their list of newspaper resources was Waterloo, Iowa. I did a quick search on "Hellmund" not expecting to find too much, but I was in for quite a surprise.



















On 8 January, 1913, August had been electrocuted in a freak accident in the power station where he worked. The fact that he even lived was a miracle. But, he was badly burned.


A subsequent article from The Waterloo Reporter on 7 March, 1913 stated, "Yesterday afternoon at the Presbyterian Hospital, August Hellmund underwent an operation in which sixty inches of skin were grafted onto his left arm. The operation was performed by local physicians. Hellmund was nearly electrocuted six weeks ago at the W.C. F. & N. powerhouse while showing a friend through the building. The skin was taken from the patient's thigh and grafted onto his arm. He is now recovering. Few instances are on record in the city where more than this amount of skin was grafted. It was removed in strips about a half inch wide and four inches long leaving spaces between the wounds that may heal rapidly. Only the epidermist with a little of the true skin was taken. The high voltage of electricity burned the tendon's in the victims hand and he will never have complete control of the member. His mind is said to also have been slightly affected by the shock."


Then, in a further article, this one dated 22 October, 1914, and titled "Unfortunate Victims Taken to Asylum", I read "A.E. Hellmund, whose pitiable case of brain affection attracted much attention at police headquarters, was taken to Independence last evening for treatment. His mind disintegrated following an electrical shock of 22,000 volts."

So, there was the answer to why he was living in the asylum in 1915. However, according to the 1930 United States Census, he was at that time living with his daughter, Evalina Hellmund Morgan and her family in Waterloo. Therefore, I know that his death date came sometime after 1930, and thankfully, I don't believe he died while he was institutionalized.

The solving of the mystery of August Hellund is a good example why you have to search many different venues. No one resource can possibly hold all the information you can find on your family. Your family history is a living thing; constantly changing and growing. That's what makes it so wonderful!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday - Family Cedar Chests



What better items to post for Treasure Chest Thursday than than two "treasured" cedar chests. The first chest belonged to my maternal Great Aunt Grace Norris Bailey and was given to her by my great grandparents. One day she asked me if there was anything she had that I might want to have. I remembered seeing the chest one day in her attic when I was very young. I told her I would really like to have it and she was shocked. She thought it was "old and broken", but I loved it. I have placed my children's keepsakes in this one.
The second chest belonged to my paternal grandmother, Imogene Huffman Shoemaker. My Aunt Joyce recently presented it to me for safe keeping. Currently, I have it filled with dishes that belonged to my grandmother and my great grandmother.
These are two of my greatest treasures; reminders of both sides of my family.

Wordless Wednesday - Bonus The Galloway Log Cabin

The Galloway Log Cabin, owned by the Greene County (Ohio) Historical Society
Xenia, Ohio

Wordless Wednesday - Holocaust Witness

This letter written to my grandparents from my Uncle Donald Norris during World War II needs no further words to explain the horrible sights he witnessed. We Must Never Forget!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Vincent and Maud Bridgman Norris

For today's Tombstone Tuesday post, I have chosen the gravesite of my great aunt and uncle, Vincent and Maud Bridgman Norris. This is a perfect example of why "playing hunches" while researching family history can be very successful. Growing up, I had never heard anyone discuss that I had an "Uncle Vincent". The first time I ever knew he existed was when I found him on the 1880 census, living with my great grandfather, Harry, and their family in Frederick County, MD. I searched on his name and the birth year that appeared in that census, and discovered that he too had come to Ohio to live. According to the 1920 census, he was living with his wife, Maud, along with her mother, Hannah Bridgman, on a farm in Montgomery County. Now, I knew Maud's maiden name was Bridgman. I asked my mother about her Great Uncle Vincent and she didn't really have a memory of him, but she did remember visiting her "Aunt Maud". She knew that she had lived at the Otterbein Home for awhile, but nothing else. When I visited David's Cemetery where most of my maternal ancestors are buried, I could find nothing about Vincent or Maud. I decided to do some research about Maud's family and I found quite a lot of information about Maud's father and grandfather in Dayton history books. After taking a look at the Dayton-Montgomery County Public Library website's obituary search, I discovered her father's obituary which stated that he was being laid to rest at the Beavertown Cemetery. Eureka! Beavertown Cemetery is literally 5 minutes from my home. Could it really be that easy? It made perfect sense to me that Maud would want to be buried with her own family and not that of her husband. So, I dragged my husband and my sons off to the cemetery to do a good old fashioned "tombstone search". Luckily for us, Beavertown is not a very large cemetery. We found the gravesites of Maud's family pretty quickly, but, alas, Maud and Vincent were not near them. We spent some time walking up and down the rows of gravesites and we were very close to giving up and going home. Right before we headed for the car, I looked down and there they were. Maud and Vincent. Now, I knew the correct years of their births and deaths. This led me to Vincent's death certificate. I still don't know his middle name and I would dearly love to have a photograph of them, but I'm pretty pleased with what I do know. All because I followed a hunch!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Madness Monday - Joshua Hammond Norris



Searching for information about my great great grandfather, Joshua Hammond Norris and his first wife, Sarah Alice Munshower Norris, has certainly fallen into the category of adding to my "madness" many times. So, I felt it appropriate for today's "Madness Monday" prompt to tell a little of my trials and tribulations relating to the search for Joshua.

7 years ago, all I knew of Joshua was this photograph and a page in the Norris family Bible that stated that Joshua H. Norris married Alice C. Norris. Then, are sorting through some papers at my mother's I found a letter sent to my great aunt Grace from her cousin in Maryland detailing the Norris family ancestry. Jackpot! Wow, this is just what I needed. I wouldn't even have to work that hard now that I had all the names. I could just "plug" these into Ancestry.com and I was home free. Yeah....


At first, it seemed liked that was true. The information I had on those papers seemed to match Ancestry pretty closely. I did have a few problems though. Joshua's wife wasn't included on the papers. They began with Joshua's father, Amon and his wife, Mary Ann Miller Rouzer. But, that didn't stop me from printing out ancestry reports for all of my mother's family, detailing our Norris family history. However, a few months later, I began studying the Maryland Archives, looking through court records online. It was while I was doing this that I discovered a court case regarding my 5th great grandmother and it wasn't the lady I had named in my ancestry report! It was quite a detailed court case though, listing the name of my great great grandfather, Amon Norris, his father, and his mother, and his grandmother whose name was Hannah Hammond. When I read it, it made sense why Joshua's middle name was "Hammond".


Oh no! Amend that branch of the tree....quickly.


I don't know how the previous researchers got it so wrong, but it seems that there was quite a bit of "following the leader" going on because many people had the incorrect name.

Then, I set about researching Joshua and Alice's immediate family. I knew, again from the family Bible, that "Alice Norris died in 1888". I found Joshua, Alice, Harry (my great grandfather), Effa, and Vincent in the 1880 census, living in Creagerstown, Frederick County, Maryland. Prior to 1880, the only census information I can find on Joshua is the 1850 census when he is 11 years old and living with his parents, Amon and Mary. From 1850 to 1880, I can find no record of Joshua. Maddening is the fact that there is another Joshua Norris living in Frederick County during that same time period. That Joshua married a Catherine McBride and they seem to appear just about everywhere with regularity. I have no idea what Joshua did between 1850 and the time he appears again in 1880, other than marrying Alice. I don't know when or where they were married, which is frustrating as well.

Alice herself is another story entirely. She appears in the 1880 as "Alice" and on the gravesite of their daughter, Flarance, as "Alice", but everywhere else she is known as "Sarah A. Norris". I'm not sure where the "Alice C" in the family Bible came from, but the cemetery and census records are what I chose to ascribe to. From their daughter, Effa Norris Rowe's obituary, I learned that Sarah's maiden name was Munshower. I haven't found anything yet to confirm this, but I believe she is the daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth Munshower.

Sometime after Alice died in 1888 (at only 40 years of age), Joshua married Amelia Cahill. After his death on 3 January, 1908, he was buried with Alice in Mt. Tabor Cemetery. I have found a great deal more information about Joshua than I knew a few years ago, but there is so much more to know....and sometimes it does drive me a little mad!